Holding to Truth

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

How to Study the Bible: Light and Knowledge

For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light - Psalm 36:9

For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light – Psalm 36:9

A brother once told me that the happiest man in the world is one who is newly saved, before he has met too many Bible teachers.

Such an idea may be troubling to anyone searching for how to study the Bible to gain a fuller knowledge of the truth and a deeper understanding of God, but it should resonate with any experienced and honest Christian.

Recall for a moment when you first were saved, when the Lord in His mercy appeared to you and shined on you, how His light at once exposed your sin and illuminated His own glory, how you could not but accept Him with childlike joy as your Lord and Savior. What a happy day that was!

But over the months or years or decades that followed, it seemed the more you learned of the Bible the less joyful you were. The more knowledge you gained the more you felt dry or dead inside.

“How could this be?” you might ask, “Shouldn’t knowledge of the Bible result in more joy, more life, and more growth?”

I would answer in this way: How much knowledge was needed to make you joyful when you first believed?


Knowledge is Different from Light

In a previous post, I wrote about the difference between light and darkness. That distinction is quite stark and easy to see. However, we also need to see the difference between light and knowledge.

Watchman Nee once wrote:

“Knowledge is absolutely different from light. Those who have light surely have the knowledge, but those who have knowledge do not necessarily have light. There is a big difference between a blind man’s knowledge of colors and a child’s experience of them. A blind man may have the knowledge of colors, but he has never seen them. A child may not have the knowledge of colors, but he knows what colors are from his experience. It is a pity that believers today pay so much attention to knowledge instead of light.”

To be clear, knowledge of the Scriptures is a good thing. No one should claim to have light apart from what is revealed in the Bible. But knowledge alone, without experience, may become doctrine. And church history is riddled with darkness and divisions mainly due to a focus on knowledge and not light.


“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” – John 1:4


The Lord Jesus had this to say to those with supreme knowledge of the Scriptures, the Pharisees, in John 5:39-40:

“You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life, and it is these that testify concerning Me; and you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.”

Many Christians today, like the Pharisees of old, may be in darkness despite their knowledge of the Word. We may have the Bible in our hands and yet still be in darkness. We may be blind  if we do not come to the unique light, Christ, in an experiential way.

Wasn’t this the case with Paul? He surely had knowledge of the Word, but that knowledge led him to persecute Christians, until a “light from heaven flashed around him (Acts 9:3).” If this is also true with us, we may unwittingly judge others with our knowledge rather than witness to them the light we have seen.

“For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” –2 Cor. 3:6

As Christians, we surely have Christ in our spirit as life and light. Certain parts of our life and Christian walk are bright and full of light. However, in other parts of our walk or heart, we may be closed off to the Lord.

Consider your heart to be just like your physical home. In the evening, some of the rooms in your house may have the lights on while others may be in darkness. Our hearts are the same. We cannot say we do not have the Lord as light in certain parts of our hearts, but if we are honest, we know that there are rooms that we have shut off to Him. Those rooms do not need to be sinful or worldly in order to be dark. They may be filled with good things, such as our families or careers, or even our study of the Bible or service in the church. But even these good things may be in darkness by the simple virtue of being closed off to the One who is light. We must allow the Lord to spread into more rooms of our heart. We shouldn’t limit Him only to the entryway when His desperate desire is to make His home throughout (Eph. 3:14-21).


How to Study the Bible to Receive Light

In 2 Corinthians 3, we see the condition of the children of Israel under the law.

“Indeed unto this day, whenever Moses is read a veil lies on their heart; but whenever their heart turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. And the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. But we all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit.” –2 Cor. 3:15-18

The previous verse (3:14) points out that “their thoughts were hardened” and that a “veil remains at the reading of the old covenant” but that “the veil is being done away with in Christ.”

Hallelujah the veil is being done away with in Christ! Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom!

Therefore, we simply need to invite Christ as the Spirit into our reading and study of the Word. As we read the Bible, we can contact Him in prayer and turn the words we read into prayer. When our reading is thus mingled with prayer, He shines on the written word, enlightens the eyes of our heart, penetrates our being, and nourishes our soul.

If we desire to know the Lord, to have our entire being and our daily walk filled with light, we can pray something like this whenever we come to our Bible:

“Dear Lord, thank you for Your word. I turn my heart to You right now. Remove any veils that keep me from seeing you in Your word. Shine on Your word and make it new and living to me. Also shine on me. Expose any darkened thoughts or concepts in me. Expose any old understanding or dead knowledge. Shine on any part of my heart that is in darkness. Spread into more of my heart and make Yourself at home in more rooms of my heart.”

May our Lord shine in our hearts again “to illuminate the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Cor 4:6)


If you have any experience with praying over the Bible in this way, please share it in the comments section below so we can all learn and be encouraged.




About Daniel Paley

Daniel is a guest contributor for Holding to Truth.

3 Replies

  1. sudhakaran nair

    Thank you brother for helping us to turn to the Lord. May the Lord shine through your post.


  2. Jeremiah Obi

    Am blessed by this teaching. Thank you

    1. Tom Smith

      Glad you were blessed by this post. Thank you for sharing your comment.

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