The Word of God is the Medium in Regeneration
The Word of God is a Seed that Matures and Multiplies
The seed needs to be fostered and nurtured by earnest study and eager searching. Seed needs time to grow. The Word must be pondered and meditated upon. It must lie fallow in the mind, heart, conscience and will to bring forth its full fruitage. The seed must be kept abiding in the soil of faith. The Christian must continue in the Word. The Word must abide in him by day and by night.
Psalm 119:97, “O how love I thy law! it is my mediation all the day.”
Psalm 119:148, “Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.”
John 15:7, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”
Countless times have I seen the maturing, multiplying power of the Word of God when engrafted upon a human life but in none more beautifully illustrated than in the life of a Chinese teacher who came to a summer Conference as an interpreter. Although he had been a Christian for many years and was active in Christian work yet he was lamentably ignorant of the Word of God. This fact was so born in upon him as he interpreted the missionary’s message that he determined to leave his position as teacher immediately and devote himself to the study of the Bible. He went to a seminary for a short time, then spent several months alone with only the Holy Spirit as Teacher and Revealer of the deep things of the Book. At the end of a year of such intensive Bible study he returned to the community where he had lived formerly.
Shortly afterward I received a letter from a missionary in that city, in which she said:
“It would delight your very soul could you see and know all the wonderful way in which the Lord has led and used W____ in the last six or eight months. His Bible classes last fall and winter numbering about two hundred, were very fine indeed. He had them for all classes, from college boys down to the cooks and other servants on our compounds. His year away made a new man of him. That year’s study did worlds for him in the Scriptures. His familiarity with the Bible now is as marked as his lack of it was before this year of close application, and of course he is going on too, gaining ground all the time. He is probably going to be ordained in a few weeks now and become assistant pastor of the _____ church. The strongest thing about W____ is his life of prayer. Partly through the instrumentality of him and his sister, if not mostly, there are now being held three meetings a day just for prayer. And praise His Name, there have been some extraordinary answers to the prayers of this little circle which has for many months met every Sunday morning very early, really before the dawn. Now they have it every day.”
Coldness of heart, callousness of conscience, weakness of will, feebleness of testimony, joylessness in worship, fruitlessness in service, powerlessness in prayer all are traceable to just one thing – ignorance of and indifference to God’s Word. “Ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you” (John 8:37). But, when the Word is given its rightful place in any life, it has power to convict, to convert, to cleanse, to control, to criticize, to correct and to consecrate. It becomes a mold that fashions the life into every growing likeness to the image of Christ Jesus. “The Word is an expulsive power to turn out the tyranny of sin; an enlightening power to dispel the darkness of ignorance; an ennobling power to elevate the mind; an eradicating power to cleanse the heart; an endowing power to enrich the being, and an effectual power to bless in every way to the glory of God.”
Bible Study for Personal Spiritual Growth
I was once asked by a group of high school pupils to lead their Christian Endeavor meeting. The invitation read as follows, “We would like for you to tell us how to read it so as to get the most out of it. Most of us read a chapter a day but then I am afraid that we do not do very much else.” Doubtless this is the experience of many Christians.
To know how to study the Bible for personal spiritual growth is the need of every Christian, old and young. It is not possible in the confines of this chapter to make suggestions regarding methods of Bible study. Nor is it necessary to do so for the person who truly desires to know the Word will discover for himself the best method.
But I would mention three things which to me seem essential for the kind of Bible study which will lift a Christian to life on the highest plane. They are an adequate objective, a right attitude, and an obedient response.
The reason why the Bible “has no taste” and why it is so unproductive of spiritual harvest in our lives is partly due to the lack of an adequate objective. To read the Bible aimlessly, to read it because one had signed a pledge promising to read a chapter a day or because of the desire to please a parent, teacher or friend, but without the purpose to remember what is read and to reproduce it in character and conduct, while it may bring blessing, will not lift one to life on the highest plane. To read it spasmodically, to desire comfort in sorrow, to obtain strength in trial, to find wisdom in perplexity and to receive guidance in uncertainty, while all are legitimate motives, yet they are not the highest nor those most productive of spiritual gain.
There is, in fact, but one objective that is altogether adequate and it is that through the Word of God, we may know the Son of God. The Lord Jesus Christ is the central fact, and the commanding figure of the Bible. From Genesis to Revelation He is to be found. No book of the Bible will be fully understood until Christ be seen in it. He is the pivot upon which everything in the divine revelation turns and He is the fountain from which everything in spiritual experience springs. To know Him is eternal lie, to know Him better and better is life abiding and abounding.
Phil. 3:8, “Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. That I may know Him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.”
“That I may know Him” – that I may win Christ – this is the objective that will challenge one to earnestly, eagerly search the Scriptures.
(continued with # 15)