“You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” Heb. 5:13,14
Now, more than ever, we need to grow up. We have to have the ability to discern. We must develop our skills in the Word. The “happy thoughts” of scripture are a comfort, but we will need more than that. I think we are prone to go to the easy things when we read God’s Word…the Psalms, Parables of the New Testament, familiar passages from the Old Testament.These passages are excellent, of course. But we are to know how to handle God’s Word:
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” 2 Tim. 2:15
The Word of God is called the “sword of the Spirit“, and in this same book of Hebrews I quoted initially above, we learn that it is sharper than any actual sword. It is the only offensive weapon in the armor of God in Ephesians 6. Hebrews says it dissects between soul and spirit and discerns our thoughts and intents. A weapon with that kind of power and capability can be very useful, but it can also be quite dangerous. As is true with any weapon, in the hands of an unskilled person, it can mutilate and wound. And, as is also true with weaponry, practice is imperative–for the sake of our own hearts as well as those of others around us.
When hard times come, we need to know God is faithful, that He is sovereign, that He does all things well and is worthy of trust. “Learn of me,” Jesus said. If we want to be able to stand firm in our faith in days to come, we have to be fully, completely convinced of who God says He is. As a Christian woman, I need to be able to open my mouth with wisdom…that means I know God’s Word well enough, I’ve studied it faithfully enough, to speak it and not just offer my own “good advice” or platitudes (which mean nothing, and can also be wrong). God says His Word will not return void. He says nothing of the sort about my words.
Let’s get that Sword out today, ladies. Learn how to handle it gingerly, but with expertise. Here are some places to start:
- Commit to your best time of day to read. I read in the morning. It just works best for me, and is the most undistracted portion of my day. That may not be true for you. Tithe your time, give Him your best.
- Choose a Bible reading plan that works for you. At this link, you can read online and you’ll also have an audio option. This year, I’m going through the New Testament in a year.
- Select a great daily study Bible. If you like to hold the book in your hand, this one is a great option. We have gifted it to the families in our church.
- Perhaps you’d like a journaling Bible so that you can easily write your thoughts in the margins while you read. I have this one.
- Decide (even if you need to start very slowly) that you are going to commit God’s Word to memory. There may very well come a day when we can no longer possess a copy of the Bible. Further, I tell our kids that when we put scripture in our minds, we add to the “tool box” the Holy Spirit can use in our daily lives. Here is a neat, free app I found.
- Commentaries can be helpful. Some that are easy to read are by Albert Barnes, Jamieson Fausset & Brown, and Matthew Henry. I also really love Spurgeon’s Treasury of David for the Psalms.
- If you are just starting out in studying, a series like this might be helpful to you. It is free and thorough. Here is a screen shot: