The Bible is the Word of God. In its pages, scripture is likened to fire, food and light. Consider the following passages:
- Jeremiah 23:29 Is not my word like fire, declares the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?
- Psalm 119:103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
- Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
- Matthew 4:4 But he answered, “It is written, “ ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”
- 1 Peter 2:2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation
This means the Word of God is the spiritual food on which we live and the light by which we walk. Like bread and milk, the Word brings nourishment, health, and vitality to our spiritual bones. Like light, it illuminates and brings understanding to our spiritual eyes so that we do not stumble in the darkness.
The importance of time with God’s Word on a personal level cannot be overstated. If the only time you hear God’s Word is in church on Sunday you are spiritually malnourished. This is why you do not experience the victory Christ promised for those who “abide in His words” (John 15:7). To be a victorious Christian, you must spend time daily with God’s Word so that you experience what Christ came to offer.
It’s very simple. If you are facing a test, you want to have a good breakfast before school. If you are a fighter entering a boxing ring, you want to train well AND eat well because all the training in the world will not make a bit of difference without the nutrients of a healthy diet. If you are walking through a dark wooded area, light is precious to you. In your life, you will be handed tests you did not expect, fights you did not ask for and dark seasons you are forced to walk through. Where should you turn for help? God’s Word.
Now I know one of the great excuses of personal Bible reading is not being able to understand many parts of it. Let me assure you as someone who has studied the Word of God for 20 years in a professional context, there are still parts I do not understand. But I understand more now than ever. That is the growth you experience when you get into the Word regardless of your level of understanding. The writer of Hebrews makes this plain:
Hebrews 5:13-14 (ESV) for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness since he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
The Word of God is hard to understand because it is the WORD OF the LIVING GOD! Therefore it is highly intellectual, historical, deep and boundless in its truths. A religious text you can fully understand is an uninspired work of man. The true Word of God has been given to us by the Holy Spirit Himself. Therefore, it is not cheap, simplistic or elemental and that is what makes it so powerful.
What is more, there are always parts you do understand and you should let those parts speak to you, inform you and challenge you. American satirist Mark Twain famously said, “It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.”
If you struggle to understand the Bible, my advice is simple. Get a translation you can understand (NLT, the MESSAGE, NCV) which is written in simpler modern English. Take notes in Church as we walk through the scriptures and grow your understanding through the corporate instruction. Also, consider listening to the scriptures through the ESV Bible or the Bible App. Sometimes hearing the Word is better than reading the Word.
You can and should be a self-feeder in the Bread of Life. Nourish and strengthen your spirit in God’s Word so that you can ace the test, win the fight, and walk confidently through life’s dark seasons. The power of God’s Word will grow your confidence, deepen your understanding, and strengthen your emotional capacities for life.