The Holy Bible is the Word of the living God – providentially preserved, inspired, indestructible, incorruptible, indispensable, infallible and inexhaustible.
Jesus our Lord instructed us to search the Scriptures (John 5:39). What does this mean, and how can we do it practically? We can use the phrase ‘Search the Scriptures’ as an acrostic (S-E-A-R…etc) to assist us in this needful spiritual exercise.
We should search the Scriptures…
Studiously (Psalm 119:12; 2 Timothy 2:15)
We need to be diligent, using our mental faculties to study hard and strive to understand and apply the Word. It requires both hard work and heart work. No pain, no gain. Determination and discipline are required for meaningful study.
Earnestly (Psalm 119:4)
With what attitude do we approach the Word of the Lord? There must be both seriousness and enthusiasm, desiring to assimilate it into our lives with zeal and fervour, and seeking to know God’s will and way.
Anxiously (Psalm 119:9, 20)
Are you anxious to know more of the truth of God? Maintain an expectant and inquisitive mind, desiring to learn the spiritual lessons and practical advice that can be gained from the Scriptures.
Regularly (Psalm 1:2; Acts 17:2, 11)
We should be systematic and regular in our reading and study of the Word, not haphazard or disorganised. I suggest that an orderly study each morning will be an appropriate frequency and good practice.
Carefully (Psalm 119:30; 2 Timothy 3:15-17)
The Word requires careful scrutiny if we are to benefit fully from it, with proper rules of interpretation – not a superficial or cursory glance. Let the analogy of Scripture and sound exegetical helps guide us, safely and steadily, as we meditate on God’s Word.
Humbly (Psalm 119:36-40; Isaiah 66:2)
The proud and arrogant will not find much to benefit them in the Word. But the meek and humble will be blessed every time they hear or read God’s Word, because they submit to it with great eagerness.
Thankfully (Psalm 119:7; Jeremiah 15:16)
Do we rejoice and give thanks to God for the promises, warnings and admonitions in his Word? If we pause to think, we have cause to thank! Praise God for giving us his Word as the map and compass for our life.
Happily (Psalm 1:1-5, 8; 119:16)
What is the secret to happiness? Blessed is the man who searches God’s Word, for there is great joy when he understands and applies it to his life. He is compared to a green and fruitful tree planted by the river of water.
Eagerly (Psalm 119:33; 1 Peter 2:2)
Are you enthused and excited about knowing the most High God? Study his Word ardently, and let it stir up your heart to greater spiritual zeal and fervour.
Systematically (Luke 24:27)
Use a study guide or read through one or two chapters of the Bible each day – at a certain time which is best for you. Keep up the good habit and schedule it consistently as part of your daily routine. Eventually you will have read through the whole Bible. Then start again!
Consultatively (Psalm 1:1-2; 119:24)
The Bible nourishes our souls and gives us guidance and wisdom for the day. Consult commentaries, dictionaries and concordance to understand those things that require further elaboration or explanation.
Reverently (Psalm 19:9; 119:15)
Study the Word with great respect and awe, for the final Author is none other than Almighty God himself. Do not take the promises and warnings lightly, but embrace them and heed them dutifully, with fear and trembling.
Intently (Psalm 119:40; Proverbs 2:1-5)
If you aim at nothing you are bound to hit it. Study with purpose seeking to know more of Christ, ‘whom to know is life eternal’. Be ready to obey and to practise it – don’t just read it for comfort and the soothing of your conscience.
Prayerfully (Psalm 119:18; James 1:5)
Always commence with prayer to ask the Lord for wisdom and enlightenment in understanding his Word. Remember to talk to the God of the Word before you look into the Word of God.
Trustingly (Psalm 119:43; Acts 24:14)
We must believe and trust in the reliability, authority and sufficiency of the Word of God as we read it, and not doubt it nor be sceptical about what the Bible says. Faith in God and his promises are important for the proper handling of God’s Word.
Unashamedly (Psalm 119:6, 79-80)
Are we embarrassed if our colleagues or parents or friends see us reading the Bible? This is one thing we ought not to be bashful about. Take a Bible with you on holiday; read it on the bus or train; and in your lunch-break at the office.
Retentively (Psalm 119:11; Jeremiah 20:9)
What do you save in the memory bank of your mind? As you read, make notes or mnemonics in a notebook or in the margin of your Bible. Commit verses to memory if they strike you as ‘special’. Invest the Word in the memory bank of your mind.
Expectantly (Acts 1:8; Isaiah 55:11)
Do you seek to digest and internalise the Word, yearning and longing for God to minister to your heart, and guide you? If you seek with a sense of anticipation, you shall find. Expect God to act in accordance with his Word and in answer to our prayers if it is his will.
Satisfyingly (Job 23:12; Psalm 119:50)
Are you occupied with the world or with the Word – with gold or with God? Christians ought to be satisfied and contented with God’s revelation and not to seek temporal or worldly things that cannot satisfy us eternally.
That brings us to the end of our exercise on searching the Scriptures. Let us strive to do all these things for our spiritual nourishment and health – and that of others also, as we share with them what we learn.