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How to ENJOY the Bible
E. W. Bullinger
There remain, now, only three things to be said by way of conclusion.
- The first, indeed, is hardly necessary, for it is antecedent to all else in connection with this great subject.
It is assumed, from the first word to the last, that the readers have passed from death unto life, and have the Divine gift of a spiritual "understanding," apart from which all that has been said will be useless.
We must be able to say: "We know that the Son of God hath come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may get to know HIM that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ" (1 John 5:20).
We have not written to convince unbelievers, though God may over-rule our work to that end.
We have not written in defence of the Bible, for not only does it not need any defence of ours, but it is our own "shield" (Psa 91:4) and "sword" (Eph 6:17), without which we are defenceless indeed.
We have written only for those who have "peace with God" (Rom 5:1), and enjoy "the peace of God" (Phil 4:7), and know "the God of Peace" (Rom 15:33).
Only such have leisure to be occupied with God.
Only such can "sit at the Lord's feet and hear His Word" (Luke 10:39, RV).
All others must be "cumbered about much serving." They must needs be occupied with themselves: either as sinners taken up with their sins, or as penitents with their repentance, or as believers with their faith, or as saints with their holiness.
Unless and until we know our completeness in Christ (Col 2:10), and "believe God" when He declares that "He hath made us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light" (Col 1:12), we shall be in such a condition of conscience, and heart, and life as will not leave us any time for occupation with God.
Instead of going on our way "giving thanks to God" for what He has done, we shall be giving way to mourning for what we have not done. We shall be like David when he "sat in his house" and was occupied with what he would do for the Lord. For, not until we learn what the Lord has done and purposed to do for us, shall we be ready, with David, to go in and sit before the Lord (2 Sam 7:1,18).
In the former case David's thought was, "Who I am"; in the latter he was exclaiming, "Who am I, O Lord God?"
The second thing, which follows on this, is, that this Word of God is the food of the new nature. Nothing else can sustain it.
Just as it is with our physical life; it cannot sustain itself, and its support must come from without; so it is with our spiritual life. Its food must come from without also.
As we cannot live on ourselves in the natural sphere, even so we cannot feed on ourselves in the spiritual sphere. We cannot live on our own feelings, nor on our experiences, nor upon the sweetest words which come from man. These may excite, or warn, or interest us, but they cannot feed us, nor support us, nor sustain our true spiritual life.
It was a solemn truth that the Lord Jesus asserted, when He compared Himself to food, saying: "As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me" (John 6:57). For, as food must be eaten for one's self, and digested, and assimilated, so that it becomes part of us, and enters into our life, and gives us our strength, so is it with "the bread of life." This brings us to our third and last point.
- All Bible study must in the end be individual.
As with ordinary bodily food: others may prepare the food and serve it up in various forms: they may cook it in more senses than one: they may present it in "made dishes": they may carve it, and cut it up, and even put
it in the mouth, as with babes; but, after all, there is no more that they can do. They cannot eat it or digest it for us; they cannot assimilate it for us; even so it is with the spiritual food of the Word of God.
Notwithstanding all that has been said in the foregoing pages, the great necessity remains: the work of Bible study must be, to the end, intensely personal and individual.
Each one must look out the reference for himself. He must trace the words through all their occurrences where these are given; he must consider their usages; he must read the contexts; he must make his lists and tables, and do his countings for himself: for so only can he feed upon the Word and the words, and be nourished, and be strengthened himself, and grow thereby: so only will he be able to say with Jeremiah:
"Thy words were found, and I did eat them;
And thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart."
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