17 Jan Attendance to God’s Word
Man, indeed, cannot live by bread or food alone, we need the word of God to survive in this world. If the same word is used to create the world, then the word is required to navigate through it. To feed on the word is to depend on the word from day to day. This dependence has several dimensions worth considering. They include:
• Reading the word: In formal education, reading is a key element taught in the foundational stages. It is the basis upon which higher levels on knowledge are built. Just as we immerse ourselves in the act of reading contemporary works, we need to do same with the word of God. Most of Jesus’ response to folks of His time includes the words ‘Have you not read?…’. (See Matthew 12:3; 19:4; and 22:31). This implies that there is an expectation on us to read the Bible.
• Studying the word. This is a step beyond just reading the word. Reading is superficial, but studying is digging deeper. You don’t get a degree by reading alone but by diligent studying of the diverse subjects and research works. The same approach should be applied to the Bible. It is the only way we become approved students of the word. (See 2 Timothy 2:15). There are different ways of studying the Bible, some of them are: book study (e.g. Genesis), chapter (e.g. Genesis 1), verse study (e.g. Genesis 1:1), character study (e.g. Abraham), subject study (e.g. Holiness) and specific word study (e.g. Sin).
• Knowing the word. The direct consequence of studying the word is the knowledge of the word. This is like the knowledge we have in our chosen vocation or career after obtaining a degree or diploma. Truly, knowledge is power as some will say, because it is too expensive to be ignorant. The payment we make to professionals like Auto Mechanics, Medical Doctors and Dentists is for the knowledge they have that we don’t. It is not a function of age or background, anyone who commits to attaining knowledge will rule over those who don’t.
And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
2 Timothy 3:15-17
He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
• Hearing the word. Faith in God, we are told comes only by hearing His words (See Romans 10:17). Jesus’ friends Martha and Mary hosted Him and we draw insight into the need to hear the word here too. While Martha was busy preparing and serving food, Mary was with Jesus listening to all He has to say. Martha challenged Mary’s attitude of not helping out, to which Jesus responded by saying ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.’ (See Luke 10: 38-42). Unfortunately, our world and ears now itch for enticing words of men’s wisdom rather than the infallible word of God. Even preaching is now full of politics, economy and emotions rather than the sound teaching of the word of God. One way I hear or listen to the word of god is via dramatized version of the Bible and it is very rewarding. Also note that the book of Revelations is full of a call for the churches to listen to the word of God. ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says…’ (See Revelations 2:7, 11, 17, 29)
• Speaking the word. This is direct outcome of the words we hear as we naturally respond to the words spoken to us by speaking too. That’s why people who become deaf (loosing ability to hear) subsequently lose their ability to speak too. Hearing and speaking go hand in hand and sound hearing will usually produce sound speaking. We have established already that words are powerful as they have the power to kill or to give life. Jesus, again shows us on numerous occasions by only speaking the written words of God. He is usually seen starting His statements with words like, ‘It is written…’ (See Matthew 4 and Luke 4). The spoken words of any man will show us the content of his heart as being the word of God or junks. Also, scientifically, many diseases have symptoms that could be seen on the tongue. In other words, the health of a Christian can be gauged by their spoken words. To the devil, your words are weightless, but he cannot stand the spoken words of God. So, speak the word always.
• Praying the word. Praying is an important dimension of the spoken word of God. It is simply bringing to the table our petitions backed with the word of God. The content of our prayer should be the word of God to make it effective. Praying based on anything else is waste of time.
• Meditating on the word. This is the transfer of the words from the head to the heart (mind). The former is a temporary storage and volatile, while the latter is the permanent storage. This act of meditation is what the Psalmist meant when he said ‘Thy word have I kept in my heart…’ Another analogy is found in ruminants like cows who will initially chew grass and latter regurgitate and chew it all over again before it becomes useful for their body.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and
• Doing the word. This is the most important of them all. All the above interactions with the word will be of no effect if we don’t do what we read, study, know, hear, speak, pray and meditate on. God is only committed to those who do His word, at the same time the devil preys on those who don’t. It is in the doing what He has said (logos) and what He is saying (rhema) that the blessing lies. (See Joshua 1:8, James 1:22, Romans 2:13 and Psalm 19:11). And don’t forget, we only become like Christ in our deeds. Are your actions attracting people to Christ or sending them away from Him?
Out of 100 men, one will read the Bible, the other 99 will read the Christian.