Thirst For God's Word-2

     Reading the Bible must be more than passing one’s eyes over the passages. The blessing comes when we read with comprehension. To do that requires understanding the context of what we read. Context includes a large number of things but for the sake of brevity we can define context in terms of a few questions about the part of the Bible we are reading. First, who is doing the writing? Second, who is the intended audience for the particular book or letter? Third, where is the writing taking place? Fourth, when was the writing done? Fifth, what literary form is being used by the writer?

    
Take for example the book of Acts. Most of the people reading this essay have also read Acts a number of times. Our thirst for reading it again and again is enhanced by remembering that Luke wrote it in conjunction with his gospel account. As we think about Luke we remember that he was a physician (Colossians 4:14) and an able historian (Luke 1:1-4, Acts 1:1-3). We know that he was for a time Paul’s companion (the “we” passages of Acts) and that his work as an author has been subjected to modern scholarship and found to be excellent (as with Sir William Ramsay’s book, St. Paul the Traveler and the Roman Citizen). Reading Acts with its author in mind makes the endeavor more fulfilling. So does understanding that the places mentioned in Acts are as real as Knoxville or Athens.

    

Keeping a good Bible dictionary by one’s side can enhance comprehension and increase one’s thirst to know more. The more you know, the more you will want to know.

    
We will become thirstier for God’s Word as we recognize how much we need it! The Bible is God-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16-17) truth (John 17:17). There is no other way to know God’s will for us apart from the Biblical text. One problem in the world of historical (or denominational) Christianity is the subjectivist concept that individuals have their own separate source of revelation from God. This idea set has the effect of diminishing the importance of the Bible. The Bible, on the other hand, presents itself as an objective body of propositional truth, designed by God for the good of mankind and the saving of his soul (Heb. 5:8-9, John 14:15). Without the word of God we are lost and are hopeless creatures.

    
Our thirst for God’s Word can only be satisfied by regular study. We live in busy times and in a culture that is known for absorbing every minute with demands on our time. But we must make time for the Word of God. As we have seen, the more we read and study the more we will want to read and study. We crave what we know.

    
The Bible teaches that certain things result from the study of the Word. Thirsting for God’s Word can result in the salvation of one’s soul. Thirsting for God’s Word can equip us with the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5-11, Colossians 3:1-2). Thirsting for God’s Word gives us the strength to defeat the devil (Ephesians 6:10-17, Matthew 6:33).

    
Think back to the days of Ezra and Nehemiah and their re-reading of God’s Word. The text has this: “So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God, and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the meaning” (Nehemiah 8:8). The text tells us that the people wept when they heard God’s Word. They thirsted. For as long as they faithfully listened to God’s Word they were blessed. We cannot help but remember that as soon as God’s people turned away from their devotion to His Word they found themselves in spiritual trouble.

    
Such is the case with us today. If we remain dedicated to the Word and the principles revealed in that Word our souls will be safe and our churches strong. May God help us to keep on thirsting for His Word. Physical thirst is dangerous to the body. Spiritual thirst is peril for the soul. It is certain that Christians and congregations of the Lord’s church will face challenges. Remember that it is just as certain that the solution to our spiritual problems is the truth that is God’s Word (John 8:32).