In a previous post, we discussed how important it is to know that the essence of the Bible is the Spirit. Since John 6:63 tells us only the Spirit can give life, in order for us to get life from the Bible, we need to contact the Spirit in God’s Word. By receiving life, we’ll be spiritually nourished, and by that nourishment, we’ll grow in Christ. So being able to receive life from the Bible is crucial to our Christian life.
How do we receive life from the Bible?
Second Timothy 3:16 tells us:
“All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for conviction, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”
As we previously saw, this is a key verse that unveils the essence of the Bible to us. Let’s look again at note 2 on God-breathed in the New Testament Recovery Version, paying special attention to the second half:
“This indicates that the Scripture, the word of God, is the breathing out of God. God’s speaking is God’s breathing out. Hence, His word is Spirit (John 6:63), or breath. Thus, the Scripture is the embodiment of God as the Spirit. The Spirit is therefore the very essence, the substance, of the Scripture, just as phosphorus is the essential substance in matches. We must strike the Spirit of the Scripture with our spirit to catch the divine fire.”
So to receive life from reading the Bible, we must use our spirit to contact the Spirit in the Word. Like the note says, we need to “strike the Spirit of the Scripture with our spirit to catch the divine fire.” But what does this mean?
A helpful illustration
Let’s take a closer look at the analogy in the note and talk about how a match is ignited.
The head of a match is made with phosphorus. Heat generated by friction ignites this highly reactive chemical when a match is struck against a rough surface. If we strike a match against a sweater, grass, or a plastic bottle, nothing happens, because none of these are the right kind of surface. But when we strike a match against a gritty stone, it immediately ignites into flame.
So to start a fire, we need two things: the match itself, and the right kind of surface to strike it on.
Using our spirit to contact the Spirit in the Word
The illustration of a match striking the right surface helps us see how to catch the divine fire hidden in God’s Word. To do this, we also need two things: the Bible (the match), which is outside of us, and our human spirit (the right surface), which is inside us.
If we come to the Word of God and only exercise our mind to understand it, there will be no ignition, no fire. We’ll miss the Spirit in the Word. The Scriptures have to be struck against the right surface for ignition to occur. The right surface is not our analytical mind or our changeable emotions; it’s our human spirit.
But how exactly do we use our spirit to contact the Spirit in the Word?
Exercising our spirit by praying
Physically speaking, the best way to exercise our feet is to walk. Spiritually speaking, the best way to exercise our spirit is to pray. As we read the Bible with prayer, we use our spirit. When we use our spirit by praying, we “strike,” or contact, the Spirit in the written Word of God.
Even before we begin to read the Bible, we can pray a simple prayer like this: “Lord Jesus, I want to touch Your Spirit in Your Word. Lord, I don’t want to just read the black and white letters in the Bible; I want to receive You as life from Your Word.” Praying this way makes a big difference as we learn to exercise our spirit when we come to the Bible.
Then, as we read His Word, we can continue to pray by using the words in the Bible as our prayer. We can use these words to praise, thank, and worship the Lord.
How to pray the Word of God
As an example of how to pray with the Word of God, let’s use John 10:11:
“I am the good Shepherd; the good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”
We can use the words of this verse to pray something like this: “Lord Jesus, I praise You that You are the good Shepherd. I’m so glad You are my Shepherd. Thank You, Lord, for making me one of Your sheep. Lord, thank You for laying down Your life for me!”
In other words, we can pray to the Lord using His words, the words in the Bible, as our prayer. As we pray with the Bible, we use our human spirit and contact the Spirit in God’s Word. This causes the Word to convey the Spirit who gives life to us. We experience what the Lord spoke of in John 6:63: “The words which I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” This life feeds our spirit, satisfies our inner hunger for God, and waters our thirsty soul. And just as a child grows physically by being nourished, we experience spiritual growth in our Christian life by being nourished by the Spirit in God’s Word.
Receiving life from God’s Word
Knowing that the Spirit is the essence of the Bible will revolutionize how we handle the Word of God. We’ll no longer view God’s Word simply as a book of teachings or an outward guide on how to live. We won’t come to God’s Word using only our mind. Instead, we’ll exercise our spirit in prayer to contact the Spirit in the Word. We’ll come to the Bible to receive life from the Word of God.