This is why John Wesley counseled that “serious and earnest prayer should be constantly used before we consult the oracles of God.” As we come to the Bible, we need to remind ourselves of Who is speaking here. Wesley went on to say that Scripture can be understood only by the Spirit who gave it. And so our attitude in approaching Scripture should be a humble desire that the Holy Spirit help us to understand the text we are reading and studying. What we gain from reading and studying the Bible is directly linked to the attitude we bring to the reading.
- Come to the Bible expecting to grow. It is like both milk (1 Pet. 2:2) and solid food (Heb. 5:14), providing nourishment for the young and for those more mature.
- Come to the Bible for understanding and direction. It is like a counselor (Ps. 119:24) and provides light (Ps. 119:105,130).
- Come to the Bible for correction and purification.
- It is like a mirror in which we see ourselves clearly and see changes we need to make.
- It is like fire, like a hammer (Jer. 23:29), like a sword by which God performs spiritual surgery on our heart (Heb. 4:12), like water that washes and purifies (Eph. 5:26).
- Come to the Bible for pleasure. God’s word is like honey (Pss. 19:9; 119:103).
I believe that if you come to the Bible with these attitudes and expectations, you will be changed. This is God’s multi-faceted instrument for conforming you to the image of his Son.