When you read the Bible, how do you approach it? Are you someone who engages intellectually or do you lean more to feeling deeply with your emotions? The beautiful thing about the Bible is that it speaks to our whole self – head, heart and hands. All vitally important in truly connecting with the Bible. Let’s have a deeper look at how we can practice each of these.
As we come to God’s Word, we have to engage our minds. Approaching the Bible with your head means not just reading the text but thinking deeply about what it means. What is the author trying to say? What did it mean in it’s original context? What theological truths does it tell you about God? The Bible is so rich in its message,
As important as it is to approach the Bible with your head, it can’t only remain there. We mustn’t let our study of Scripture become dry and purely academic. Our engagement in the Word must also translate to our heart. The truth that you learn in a passage – how does it make you feel? Do you rejoice in God’s grace and salvation? Do you lament in conviction over your sins? This is about making the truth of God’s Word real to you personally.
Sometimes, the truth starts off in our head – we read the Bible and gain some new insight about God or a deeper understanding of doctrine. We then take that and meditate on it, so that it becomes true and beautiful to our heart.
And sometimes, it works the other way round. As we encounter God, we have an emotional experience. The key then is to take this to Scripture and interpret it through the truth of the Bible. Translating it into head knowledge as well as heart.
Yet, even after we understand the Word in our head and feel it in our heart, there’s still one more step.
To truly connect with God’s Word, we need to apply it practically in our lives. The Bible isn’t just meant to be read, but it’s meant to shape the way we live in relation to God and to other people. We can think of this as responding to the Bible with our hands. After we understand what a passage is saying, we can then think about how it applies to our life? Does it shape the way I love other people? Is there a particular sin to avoid or spiritual fruit to cultivate?
A transformed life is the natural outpouring of really understanding the Bible with both head and heart!