Here’s a great prayer many use as they come to read the Bible: ‘Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law’ (Psalm 119 v 18).
But why do we need to ask for that? Is it that the Bible is a particularly difficult book needing extra brain-power to work out? No—the reason is that it is God speaking, and we therefore need God to open our ears and eyes to receive it. As the Holy Spirit of God breathed out the words originally, we need the Holy Spirit of God to breathe those words into our lives. So go on, ask now!
God speaks nonsense!
Read 1 Corinthians 2
The heading is tongue in cheek of course, but it helps make Paul’s point. God’s words are ‘foolishness’ unless we have God’s Spirit. Now don’t think the Bible is some kind of mumbo jumbo needing ‘spiritual’ gymnastics to interpret—that’s not Paul’s point at all. God’s words actually make perfect, glorious sense—but our human minds and desires are so screwed up that we won’t take it in. So at one level we understand what the Bible is saying—because God’s message to human kind is simple enough for children to grasp. But at another level it leaves us confused because it goes right against the flow. What is at the heart of God’s message of wisdom—which to human thinking is nonsense? See v 2, 7.
Why did the Jews and Romans have Jesus crucified? See v 8, 9.
So how can we understand or receive God’s message? See v 10-14.
Reading the Bible should be a very humbling experience. It means asking God to overturn our wrong thinking and replace it with His wisdom, which our world thinks is nonsense. Until we do that, the Bible will remain a closed book to us...
God’s Spirit opens our eyes as we think. Unlike some kinds of meditation, we don’t empty our heads when we come to the Bible: we fill our minds with God’s truth. Never imagine that thinking is unspiritual! It is only wrongthinking , merely human reasoning, which is unspiritual. So as we approach the Bible it is with prayer for God to enlighten us and with minds set on understanding God’s words.
We are to use our minds like the Jews of Berea, who, when they heard the good news about Jesus, ‘received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.’ (Acts 17 v 11)
• Why not help yourself to think by making simple notes every day.