Holding to Truth

holding to truth in love for the building up of the Body of Christ

The First Step Toward a Vital Practice of Reading and Studying the Bible

If we’re honest, most of us would have to agree that our Bible study isn’t what it should be. We know that as Christians we should read and study our Bible, but often, it’s hard to find the time to do it.

However, most of us do know that Bible reading is the foundation for a healthy Christian faith.  The Apostle Paul indicated this in Romans 10:17 when he said, “…Faith comes out of hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

But how do we become motivated to read the Bible regularly? How do we break out of our old habit and start a new habit of daily reading God’s word? Where do we start?

In this post, we’ll consider how to take the first step toward a vital practice of reading and studying the Bible. Hopefully, this will issue in a life-long love  for God’s word and an appetite to come to it often.

Begin by Praying

Pray to be emptied out; pray to be hungry and thirsty; pray to be pure; and pray to be full of taste for God’s word.

First, we need to be emptied out by asking the Lord, to make us poor in spirit.

To be poor in spirit means to be emptied and unloaded in the depth of our being so that we have the capacity to receive something new of Him.

The Lord Jesus said in Matthew 5:3,  “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens.”

This was the Lord’s first blessing to His disciples. We need to receive this blessing by faith by simply asking for it. Isn’t it a part of Christ’s will and testament to us? We just need to come and claim our inheritance.

Second, we need to ask the Lord to make us pure in heart.

In His sixth blessing, the Lord Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8).

To be pure in heart is to be single in purpose, to have the single goal of accomplishing God’s will for God’s glory. With double vision it is impossible to see anything clearly.

We may not feel like our heart is pure toward the Lord, but we can ask for it. Just say, “Lord make me pure in heart, seeing only You. Lord, I confess my heart is complicated. I’m occupied with so many other things…”

If we pray in this way our heart will become the good ground, as the fertile soil for the seed of God’s word to take deep roots (Matt. 13:23).  Then, with a purified heart,  we’ll see God. We’ll be infused with Him whenever we come to His word.

Third, we also need to ask the Lord to make us hungry and thirsty for Him.

In Psalm 42:1-2, the psalmist declared,  “As the heart pants after the streams of water,  so my soul pants for You, O God.   My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When will I come and appear before God?”

This is how the Lord wants us to be. We can tell Him, “Lord, it is Your desire that I would be hungry and thirsty for You.  As I’m coming to Your word, grant me this mercy that I would be hungry and thirsty for You.”

Fourth, we need to ask the Lord to grant us a sweet taste of Him in His word.

In the Old Testament, the psalmists had such a taste. In Psalm 119:103, the psalmist said, “How sweet are your words to my taste! Sweeter than honey to my mouth!”

In the New Testament, Peter, in recommending the Scriptures for the believers’ spiritual  nourishment said, “As newborn babes, long for the guileless milk of the word in order that by it you may grow unto salvation, if you have tasted that the Lord is good.”  (1 Peter 2:2-3)

Note that Peter said, “long for the milk of the word…if You have tasted that the Lord is good.” We should never separate our coming to the word in the Bible from our coming to the Lord Himself (John 5:39-40).

Anytime we come to the Word without tasting the Lord Himself, we can expect that the Word will be dry and lifeless to us (John 6:63). Oh how we need to taste the Lord whenever we come to the Bible!

We can ask the Lord for taste by saying, “Lord, I’m coming to Your word right now. Grant me a sweet taste of You.”

If  we’ll faithfully practice preparing our inner being as we’re coming to the Bible, I believe that God’s word will become new and fresh to us. We’ll feel that we have come to “holy ground”—we’ve entered into God’s presence. Our being will be so open to the Lord. Our heart will be fully turned to Him. We’ll be hungry and thirsty and we’ll have such a sweet taste of Him that we’ll want to come back again and again to find Him on every page of this precious Book.

I hope that you’ll join me in uplifting God’s word to it’s rightful place in our lives and making Bible study something vital and profitable so that we’ll be equipped to be “men of God” who are equipped with the God-breathed word  (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

Please leave a comment letting us know how you’ve been helped to get into the word of God in a meaningful, regular, and life-giving way.

About Tom Smith

Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!

13 Replies

  1. If our vessel is full, we cannot receive any more into us – we need to be emptied, cleansed, purified, and hungry, so that the Lord may speak to us. Many times we may emphasize that “we need to exercise our spirit” when we come to the Word of God – and it is true, we have to exercise our spirit. But for us to receive light and for us to be supplied we need to take care of our heart – all the veils need to be removed!

    There needs to be a hunger, a thirst, a seeking… – we need to ask the Lord to give these to us! Lord, I don’t feel like I’m thirsty enough – make me thirsty for Your Word! Lord, I need You as my supply – purify my heart, cleanse me, and even empty me from any previous knowledge that may hinder me from receiving more of You!

    1. Tom Smith

      I like to remind myself and my readers that if you don’t have much appetite for the Word, it doesn’t have to be an excuse and it doesn’t have to stay that way. I’m freshly enlightened that blessings such a being poor in spirit and pure in heart are bequests for us to claim, an inheritance for us to ask for. We shouldn’t come to the Word in a routine way. When Moses ascended the mountain of God, Jehovah said “take your shoes off you’re on holy ground.” Whenever we come to the Bible we should have the sense that we are entering into the presence of God. We need to “take our shoes off” by preparing our spirit and our heart. We can pray to ask the Lord to empty us, purify us, stir up our hunger and thirst, and give us the sweet taste of Him in His word. Then we’ll eagerly anticipate the time when we can meet with Him again over His word. Thanks again for the encouraging comment.

  2. Hi Tom, I really appreciate the point about being poor in spirit. It’s so easy to be full and to think we know so much when really there is so much more for us to gain, experience, and learn. In order to break out of this, we need to pray the simple prayer that you mentioned: “Lord, cause me to be poor in spirit. Empty me and unload me so that I can receive more light from your word.”

    1. Tom Smith

      Like you mentioned, it’s so easy to become full and think we know so much. The problem is that when we become full we no longer have the capacity to receive something new. Then our experience of the Lord becomes old and stagnant. So we need to repeatedly pray such a prayer, “Lord empty me again, make me so poor in spirit that I can receive something fresh of You right now.” Since our Lord is always fresh and new, we need to continually practice to keep ourselves open to Him. Thanks for strengthening this point.

  3. Jefferson

    O Lord, grant us a sweet taste of You in Your word! Thanks for this helpful reminder on how to enjoy the Lord in His Word.

    1. Tom Smith

      Amen. It’s so good that we don’t have become old as the years pass. We can pray such simple prayers to keep our heart in the sweet taste of the Lord–always hungering and thirsting for Him.

  4. Dennis Loewen

    Hi Tom,
    i echo what Joe said about being poor in spirit. Only by being poor in spirit and humbling ourselves to receive fresh light is the Word able to becoming living to us. Something I try to practice is every time before reading God’s word is to say a simple prayer “Lord I love your Word, I love reading your Word”. This has increase my appreciation for God’s Word.

    1. Tom Smith

      Hi Dennis,
      Very good point. The condition of our inner being–our spirit and our heart, makes a tremendous difference in what we’re able to receive from God’s word. Light and life awaits us on every page, but whether we receive them or not depends on our condition. I like your prayer about love for the Word. Col. 2:2 points out that the condition of our heart, that is, our hearts being comforted, knit together in love and unto all the riches of the full assurance of understanding, result in the full knowledge of the mystery of God, Christ. May our inner being be fully adjusted by means of prayer so that we lay hold of Christ whenever we contact His Word.

  5. Michael

    I really appreciate the prayer towards the end “Lord, I’m coming to Your word right now. Grant me a sweet taste of You”. When we come to the Word, we should have a realization that we are coming to the Lord Himself.

    1. Tom Smith

      It really helps to be reminded that we’re coming to taste the Lord Himself in His word. This taste that we enjoy in the Word, is the pledging or foretaste of the Spirit as a continual reminder of the full taste we’ll enjoy when we meet the Lord. How precious is this taste!

  6. Renni

    After reading portions from Psalm 119 and ministry on it, I am freshly impressed with our need to be daily in the Lord’s Word! His Word accomplishes so much: it restores our soul, it makes our heart joyful, etc., etc! Thank you for your fellowship on how to come to the Word!

    1. Tom Smith

      Thanks for the encouraging comment. I believe that many believers realize the need to be daily in the Word. Yet, without some preparation of our inner being we may not get much spiritual supply and quickly lose interest in reading and studying God’s Word. May we be continually reminded to pray such simple prayers as we come to the Word. This will cause us to contact the Lord Jesus and taste Him each time we open the Bible such that our appetite remains fresh and we long for more time in the Word.

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