September 22, 2021
By Karen Hunt
I love the Bible. When I don’t get enough of it, my soul seems to cry out for God’s Word. Nothing satisfies me like it. For the last couple of years, I have also listened to it, read on an app and it has brought a new dimension to my experience with the Bible.
It’s great to love reading and listening to the Bible, but I know it is only the beginning. The next step is to understand it. A turning point for me was when I was able to purchase an extensive Study Bible at a thrift shop. A new world of comprehension opened to me as I perused the notes, maps, and outlines of my new purchase.
Reading and comprehending of the word of God have always gone together. We find a good example of this in the book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah was a Jewish man, an official of the Persian king. He was so concerned about what was happening to Jerusalem, that the king let him go back to help the returned Jewish exiles, and he became the governor of Judah. In Judah, Nehemiah diligently repaired the city’s defenses and warded off their enemies.
“They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was being read.”Nehemiah 8:8 NIV
After the city was made secure, the people realized they were missing something: knowledge of the Law (the first five books of our Bible today). The people arranged a reading of the Law to all those who could understand. Ezra read and some of Levites also gave explanations of what Ezra had read to the men, women, and older children.
The people immediately showed an emotional response to what they understood, but they did something more than that: they obeyed. They repented and committed themselves to follow God’s Word.
Today, although we do not have the Levities to explain Scripture to us, we have resources that they did not. We have the full Bible, Study Bibles, commentaries, and the Internet, among other aids. Most importantly, we have the Holy Spirit, who directs us and guides us as we study the Word.
For the believer, there is no end to Bible study. We are always in school, not just from September to June. And although the Bible has unlimited facets we can study, the focus is always practical: how do we start obeying what we now understand? The question is a sobering one. I might have a Study Bible, and I might have many resources, but am I willing to obey what I understand? As we read in James 1:22 (NIV) “Do not merely listen to word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
Photo Credit: Aaron Burden