“Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God” (Luke 4:4).
God’s Word is food for the Christian. Your growth, your power, and your life depend on how you deal with the Word of God. Therefore seek with your whole heart to learn how to use God’s Word properly. To this end, receive the following suggestions.
1) Read the Word with both your heart and your mind. With the understanding I seek to know and comprehend; with the heart I desire, and love, and hold fast. Let your understanding be the servant of your heart. As you read, beware the understanding of the carnal nature, which cannot receive spiritual things (1 Corinthians 1:17,27; 2:6,12; Colossians 2:18). Wait in humility on the Spirit of God, and say to yourself: this Word of God I now receive in my heart, to love it and to let it live in me (Psalm 119:10,11,47; Romans 10:8; James 1:21).
2) Read it with the resolve to be not only a hearer, but a doer of the Word. It is a terrible delusion to be content with hearing the Word. Yet how common is the sight of multitudes of Christians listening to the Word of God every Sunday, and yet not doing it! So complete is the delusion, that Christians never realize they are not living good Christian lives. Why are we fooled in this way? For one thing, people mistake the pleasure they have in hearing the Word of God for Christianity and worship. The mind delights in having the truth presented clearly; the imagination is gratified by its illustration; the feelings are stirred by its application. To an active mind, knowledge gives pleasure, but this is not enough. True blessedness comes through the doing of God’s Word, and in the surrender of myself to be and to act just as the Word says (Matthew 5:19,20; 7:21,24-27; Luke 11:28; James 1:21,25). Be not only hearers, but doers of the Word.
3) Love God’s Word. Esteem it sweeter than honey: better than treasures of gold or silver (Psalm 19:9-11; Job 23:12; Jeremiah 15:16; 1 Peter 2:2). In the Word, God can and will reveal His heart to you. In the Word, Jesus will communicate Himself and all His grace. In the Word, the Holy Spirit will come in to you, to renew your heart and all your thoughts, according to the mind and will of God. O, then, read not simply enough of the Word to keep you from spiritual decline, but make it one of your chief occupations on earth to be filled with His Word, so that He may fulfill His Word in you.
—Andrew Murray, adapted