The Partnership of Word and Spirit

Old Treasures on Tuesdays 👑

Bible extended

“Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God” (1 Cor. 2:12, ESV).

God never meant for the Scriptures to stand alone. We can only understand “the things freely given us by God” through His Spirit. Only His Spirit can open up to us the wonders concealed in His Word. When we do receive Holy Spirit’s empowering illumination, the Bible becomes an exquisite haven… a pasture thick with live-giving nourishment… a world of poetry, beauty, transformation… a land of enthralling action and daily discovery.

Now, I am not going to pretend that every single time I open the Good Book, I have an epiphany and soar on the heights. Although He surely gives me moments like those, there are other days when my intake of Scripture is more akin to eating a bowl of cereal. It provides the nutrients and fuel for the moment, but is not going to stick out in my memory forever afterwards.

My point is, I don’t want you to read my words and get down on yourself. If your own experience of Bible reading has not yet become alluring or riveting to you, don’t despair! The aim of this devotional is quite the opposite – I earnestly desire to encourage you. God is yearning to bring you into a richer, fuller experience of His Word.

Today’s pertinent nugget is simply this: Don’t try to conquer the Scriptures on your own. Holy Spirit is right there with you, bursting with excitement to take you on a new adventure with Him. Will you slip your hand in His and follow His leading? He’s yearning for your response to His invitation!

Before you even begin, shut your eyes as you sit with His precious book open in front of you. Engage the eyes of your heart, “looking to Jesus” (Heb. 12:2a). Purposefully ask Him to pour His Spirit in, over, and through you as you dig into His words. Express to Him that you need Him to show you what He has buried there for your unearthing.

Then, as you begin to read, go slowly. Don’t rush past any of the sentences. Pause thoughtfully over each one, listening for what Holy Spirit might speak to you about it. When something jumps out, highlight or underline it. If an extra thought about what that verse means comes to your mind, jot it down in the margin. Ruminate over the passage you are exploring. Don’t stress over how much ground you will cover that day – if Holy Spirit is all over three verses, then just stay on those three verses. Let them go deeper and deeper and deeper into your spirit.

In an article I recently read, a brother shared that he buys a new Bible every year in lieu of a journal. As he delves into the Word each day, he does all his reflective writing there in the margins. I thought that was an intriguing idea. The important thing, though, is to experiment with different tools for quarrying the gold mine hidden within every chapter of the Scriptures. When you find an approach that comes alive for you, glom onto it and make it yours forever!

As you chew on all of this, I have one more thought for you. I know in my spirit that Holy Spirit wants to impress on your heart new truth today. He desires to show you how eager He is to reveal to you the beauty, the depths, and the power of the Scriptures He has written for you. He is brimming over with enthusiasm to become your personal tutor in His Word. Even now, He is whispering to these loving words to you: “Heaven’s kingdom realm is accessible, close enough to touch” (Matt. 10:7b, TPT).

Open up His captivating book, and dive in!

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What have you found works best for you, in helping you dive into the Scriptures regularly?

 

10 thoughts on “The Partnership of Word and Spirit

  1. “Don’t stress over how much ground you will cover that day – if Holy Spirit is all over three verses, then just stay on those three verses.” AMEN, Jennifer! I will never forget when a Bible teacher gave this direction: “Read until God stops you.” It may be five or ten chapters, it might be three verses. – It might be ONE verse.
    Our church once took on the challenge of reading the entire Bible in six weeks. Or maybe it was 8 weeks. Whatever it was, it was too short! As I tackled the daily assignments, I felt as though I were trying to eat a ten-course meal in ten minutes – lots of wonderful food, but no time to enjoy and digest it!
    When I was into memorizing long passages of Scripture – chapters, and eventually whole (short) books, I committed to memory a couple of verses each day, and as I found ways to remember them, relating them to the verses that came just before and just after, it was a very rich experience, and I gained insights I hadn’t seen in the decades before of just reading through them.
    One thing I believe for sure – the Lord created us unique, and as unique creatures we will hear His voice in different ways, because He knows just the language He should speak to reach us at our unique place of need.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Annie for sharing these rich thoughts. I LOVE how your Bible teacher instructed you. And I so agree that He tailors His communication so personally to each one of us, speaking our hearts languages in such a precious way.
      Ironically, He has now launched me on a new journey of consuming much larger portions of the Bible at a time than I ever did before. It’s a stretch because I have such a contemplative, unhurried personality, and love to get lost in every tiny nuance, but I know He has something new for me in this. I’m excited about it 🙂

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      1. One thing I did notice in reading through the Old Testament quickly is that the pattern of Israel was so clear – they get blessed, they forget God, He leaves them to their sin and idolatry, they suffer the consequences, they come back to Him, He blesses them, they forget Him, …etc. Reading through more slowly, and especially LIVING out the story as Israel did, the pattern was much less obvious, and the people were much slower to learn.

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      2. At almost 47 years old, I have never gone through the Scriptures at this pace. I’m just getting started, but looking forward to seeing patterns like that. Partway through Genesis, taking in Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, (and Joseph to come, not there yet) as a whole has been a great experience. Last time I went through Genesis it took months and months because I so chew on every verse. Now that God told me to do it this way, it’s amazing how I have a new grace for doing so. Truly, there are ALWAYS new adventures in His Word!

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  2. Anita and I began our annual Bible reading on January 1 in the ESV again.
    We have read several versions, last year’s being The Complete Jewish Bible. We read an average of four chapters per day and that takes us from Genesis to Revelation in less than a year (Psalm 117 and 119 being exceptions😉).
    ❤️&🙏, c.a.

    Liked by 1 person

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