“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit.” (Hebrews 4:12)
When the devil quoted the Bible for Jesus, he did so as any preacher would do, but thanks be to God, Jesus knew the Word and was able to discern the devil’s intention. If you do not know the Bible, you will easily fall prey to anyone quoting the Bible as a cover to deceive you.
Do not say you have no time to read the Bible. That is a lie, there is always time for anything that you consider important and there is always an excuse for not doing anything you do not consider important.
As we read the Bible, we must be attentive to the spirit behind the text. Jesus broke every protocol when he decided to attend a party at a tax collector’s house. He openly sat down to eat and drink freely with tax collectors and even those considered the worst sinners in the society. This troubled the self-righteous Scribes and Pharisees who felt Jesus was doing something wrong by associating with such persons. After all, “birds of the same feather flock together.”
In response, Jesus said to them: “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” By this, Jesus meant that salvation is closer to those who acknowledge their own sinfulness than those who justify themselves. This is the point Jesus makes in Matthew 7:3-5 “Why do you see the speck in your neighbour’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?…
Reading the Bible brings us to terms with our sinfulness. The less we read the Bible, the more hardened our hearts become. After hosting Jesus in his house, Matthew the tax collector was so touched by Jesus’ presence that he repented completely from his past evil deeds. You need to host Jesus in your house by dedicating time to reading the Bible. You know that Jesus is in the Word. It is the presence of Jesus in the Word that makes the word sharp, alive and active.
Finally, reading the word of God changes our attitude to people. We become less condemnatory and more loving. The Scribes and Pharisees condemned Matthew and his colleagues but in reality, they were worse, their hypocrisy was loud and clear. If we do not become grounded in God’s word, our religiosity could become shallow, we could end up with the letter forgetting the Spirit.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, deepen in me a love for your word and grant that I may understand the spirit behind the text. Amen.
Bible Study: Hebrews 4:12-16, Psalm 19, and Mark 2:13-17).