“Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation 3:6 NIV
I have had the privilege to converse with many folks over the years about studying the Bible. Many of these were very encouraging discussions. But others when asked if they regularly studied God’s word said things like: “Oh I talk to God all the time. I pray when I’m in my car, I pray before I go to bed,” etcetera. I think that is awesome. Prayer is a very important part of our relationship with God. But these are the answers I got when talking with people about studying God’s word. These comments sound as if they believe prayer and Bible study are one and the same. Or maybe what they’re really saying is, “My prayers are good enough. I don’t need to study the Bible.” Let’s examine this.
The word prayer is defined as communication with one’s God. When we pray to Almighty God, the creator of heaven and earth, we are talking to Him. We can make requests. We can praise Him. We can give Him thanks, etcetera. We can talk to God about anything. But wouldn’t it be a bit one-sided if we talked to God yet didn’t have time to listen to what He has to say? Could a relationship like that last? Who would want to be in a relationship like that? So what makes one think that God wants to be in that kind of relationship?
The Bible is God’s written word. (2 Timothy 3:16-17) His words are more important and more powerful than ours. For it is by God’s word that everything exists. (Hebrews 11:3 Psalm 33:6) If we think having a relationship with God consists of Him listening to us, and we never have time to listen to Him (by studying His word), isn’t that a domineering relationship? A relationship that one-sided can not last.
I know folks don’t view themselves as the dominant partner in their relationship with God. But that’s exactly who they are trying to be if they don’t have time to listen to Him. How can we have a relationship with our creator and not hear what He has to say? How can we get to know Him better without studying His word? If the only communication we have with God is when we want something, how sad. Some will argue, “That’s not my prayers. I praise God when I pray to Him.” That’s good. But I hope you’re not one of those who have been deceived by the phrase, “When praises go up blessings come down.” Is that the only reason we praise God? So that He can send us down a blessing? So He can give us something? Is that not the same thing? Some folks really believe they can control God like a puppet on a string. Or like a witch all they have to do is say a few chants and God will do what they want. That’s witchcraft. That’s not praising God. Jesus said:
“But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” Matthew 6:7 KJV
If we spent more time listening to God; studying His word, we would know how He desires to be praised.
HOW IMPORTANT IS GOD’S WORD?
“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Joshua 1:8 NIV
“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws. I have suffered much; preserve my life, Lord, according to your word.” Psalm 119:105-107 NIV
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 KJV
“The people in Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica. They were so glad to hear the message Paul told them. They studied the Scriptures every day to make sure that what they heard was really true.” Acts 17:11 ERV
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matthew 7:24-27 NIV
“And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times.” Psalm 12:6 NIV
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