By and large, Christians seem to greatly struggle with knowing how to hear God’s voice. We seem to focus a large part of our time on trying to interpret God’s will or God’s voice out of our life circumstances. While God is no doubt at work in the circumstances around us, we have no avenue or way for hearing God’s will or God’s voice through life circumstances with any degree of certainty.
Foundational Idea of the Bible
God speaks to his people.
If we want to know that we’re hearing from God, then we need to open our Bibles.
God has consolidated his voice into the life of his Son Jesus. (Hebrews 1:1-2) In the gospel of John, Jesus is called the Word of God. That living Word has been recorded for us in the written Word of God, the Bible. The amazing thing about the Bible is that it is alive as well (Hebrews 4:12). The Word of God has the ability to peer directly into our lives. This is why we need to open it regularly.
3 Aspects of Using the Bible in Spiritual Discipline
#1 – Reading & Study – These 2 are slightly different but close enough to combine together. The purpose of this aspect of using the Bible is to grow in our knowledge of the Bible.
Reading is primarily focused on making us familiar with the whole Bible. When you read, you are not taking notes. You just read, like you would any book. Familiarity helps you to know the whole story of the Bible and how all the parts fit into the whole.
Study is primarily focused on growing our understanding of the Bible. When we study the Bible we slow down to look at the details. In studying we understand the particulars of what God was saying to a certain group of people at a certain place and time. Studying the Bible lays the foundation of applying the Bible and living out the Bible. When you know what the Bible says then you can do what it says. Click the link “Online Study Bibles” at the top of the page to see a listing of online resources.
#2 – Meditation – Reading and study are about our knowledge. Meditation has to do with our focus. Meditating on the Scripture is a natural outflow of reading and studying the Scripture.
Christian meditation is not synonymous with the concept of meditation centered in Eastern religions (Buddhism, Hinduism, etc.). These stand worlds apart. Eastern meditation is an attempt to empty the mind; Christian meditation is an attempt to fill the mind.
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. – Isaiah 26:3
When you meditate on a verse of Scripture you work it over in your mind. You fill your mind with the Scripture.
#3 – Memorization – Reading and study are about knowledge. Meditation is about focus. Memorization has to do with our ability to abide with Christ.
When we memorize the Word of God, then it is always with us. A natural outflow of meditating on the Scriptures is to have them memorized. All of these go together. Practically speaking, use 3×5 note cards to write down verses to carry them with you, or if you’ve got a smart phone you can download an app that will help you memorize.
A final thought…
“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” – Matthew 4:4