Do You Really Delight in God’s Word?
“WHEN I began reading the Bible regularly, I found it to be more of a chore than a delight,” says Lorraine. “It was hard to understand, so I often found myself daydreaming.”
Others admit that they too started reading the Bible without enjoying it. Yet, they persevered because they knew that reading the Holy Scriptures is the right thing to do. Marc says: “It is easy to allow distractions to get in the way of Bible reading and personal study. It took a lot of prayer and effort to make daily Bible reading a part of my routine.”
What can you do to cultivate greater appreciation for God’s written Word, the Bible? How can you enjoy reading it? Consider the following suggestions.
Goals and Methods
Approach your Bible reading session in a prayerful and focused frame of mind. Ask Jehovah to help you develop an eagerness to study his Word. Petition him to open your mind and heart to grasp his wisdom more fully. (Ps. 119:34) Without this kind of approach, Bible study can quickly become mechanical, and you may lose the desire to continue. Lynn says: “I sometimes read too fast and completely miss interesting side points. Often, I don’t fully grasp the main ideas. I pray for self-control, though, and this helps to keep my mind from wandering.”
Value what you learn. Remember that understanding and applying Bible truths means your life. Therefore, make a conscientious effort to find practical points and apply them. “I look for things that help me to identify wrong attitudes and motives in myself,” says Chris. “It’s refreshing to see how the Bible and many of our publications contain information that benefits me personally, even though the writers have never met me.”
Set attainable goals for yourself. Try to learn something new about Bible characters. You can find fascinating facts about many of them by consulting Insight on the Scriptures or the Watch Tower Publications Index. As you get to know men and women of the Bible as real people with personalities and feelings, they will come alive in your mind.
Look for new ways to reason on the Scriptures. (Acts 17:2, 3) Sophia studies with that in mind. “My desire is to learn and develop fresh lines of reasoning to use in my ministry and at other times, so that I can express myself clearly about Bible truths. The Watchtower is an excellent tool for accomplishing this,” she says.
Visualize Bible accounts. “The word of God is alive,” states Hebrews 4:12. As you read the Scriptures, let God’s message live in your mind by imagining what the Bible characters were seeing. Try to hear what they were hearing and feel what they were feeling. Associate their experiences with specific circumstances in your life. Learn from the way they handled situations. This will enhance your understanding and retention of Bible accounts.
Devote time to difficult scriptures and to explanations of them so that you understand them clearly. Allow yourself plenty of time for each study session. You may well come across very interesting questions that require extra research. Look up unfamiliar words, consider footnotes, and check cross-references in the Bible. The more you understand and apply what you read, the more you will find delight in God’s written Word. You will then be able to say, as did the psalmist: “I have taken your [Jehovah’s] reminders as a possession to time indefinite, for they are the exultation of my heart.”
Avoid rushing through the material. Be reasonable in the amount of time you schedule for personal study. Balance this with the time you devote to preparing for congregation meetings. “Many times I feel so tense that I can’t concentrate,” says Raquel. “So I find short study periods beneficial. These help me to derive the greatest benefit from my study.” Chris admits: “When I feel rushed, my conscience bothers me because I retain so little. The material usually doesn’t reach my heart.” Therefore, take your time.
Develop a greater longing for God’s word. The apostle Peter said: “As newborn infants, form a longing for the unadulterated milk belonging to the word, that through it you may grow to salvation.” (1 Pet. 2:2) Babies do not have to cultivate a longing for milk. The feeling comes naturally. But the Scriptures acknowledge that we do have to form a longing for God’s word. If you read just one page of the Bible every day, that longing will soon come. What may at first have seemed difficult will soon become pleasurable.
Meditate on Scriptural passages. Great benefit also comes from meditating on what you read. This will help you to link together spiritual topics that you have investigated. Soon you will acquire a string of spiritual pearls of wisdom
Time Well Spent
Sticking with good study habits takes effort, but the blessings are immeasurable. Your spiritual comprehension will thus improve. (Heb. 5:12-14) The discernment and wisdom you acquire from the inspired Scriptures bring happiness, pleasantness, and peace. The wisdom found in God’s inspired Word is “a tree of life” for those who seize and apply it.
An in-depth study of God’s Word can produce in you an understanding heart. (Prov. 15:14) That will help you to offer heartfelt counsel that is solidly based on the Bible. If you allow your decisions to be guided by what you read in the Scriptures and in publications of “the faithful and discreet slave,” you will experience the refreshing and stabilizing influence of Jehovah’s inspired Word. (Matt. 24:45) You will be more positive, optimistic, and spiritually oriented. Moreover, everything that involves your relationship with God will succeed.
A heart full of love for God will move you to share your faith. This too can be most rewarding. Sophia is working on remembering and using a variety of scriptures to capture the attention of householders and make her Christian ministry effective and exciting. “Seeing people’s reaction to expressions from the Bible is exhilarating,” she says.
The most outstanding benefit of taking delight in God’s Word, though, is a close relationship with Jehovah. Bible study enables you to know his standards and appreciate his love, generosity, and justice. No other pursuit is more important or more rewarding. Immerse yourself in the study of God’s Word. Doing so is truly time well spent.
READING GOD’S WORD: GOALS AND METHODS
▪ Approach your Bible reading session in a prayerful and focused frame of mind.
▪ Value what you learn.
▪ Set attainable goals for yourself.
▪ Look for new ways to reason on the Scriptures.
▪ Visualize Bible accounts.
▪ Devote time to difficult scriptures and to explanations of them so that you understand them clearly.
▪ Avoid rushing through the material.
▪ Develop a greater longing for God’s word.
▪ Meditate on Scriptural passages.
[Picture on page 4]
When reading a Bible account, picture yourself in a similar situation