Bible reading and Bible study is important, because if we don’t know what the Bible teaches, we can’t benefit from it. However, knowledge alone does not give us understanding. We all have the power to gather knowledge, but we are dependent upon God to reveal Himself to us through the word. Knowledge alone does not change our hearts. In fact, the Bible warns us that knowledge alone puffs us up with pride (1 Corinthians 8:1).

One of the meanest people I ever met loved to beat people up with Bible verses. He could always find a way to condemn anyone with an out of context scripture. Anyone who has been around the church for long has probably seen someone who tries to use the Bible for self-gain, self-justification, or self-glorification.

This isn’t too surprising. The Bible warns us that the flesh cannot understand the truth of God. This is especially true for the deeper revelations of the Spirit. Look at 1 Corinthians 2:14

But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

The natural mind is human reasoning, and human reasoning is based on the flesh and not the Spirit. Galatians 5 warns that the flesh has intense desires that are contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit’s desires are intensely opposed to the flesh. These two are at war and can never be joined. The flesh can be brought under subjection to the Spirit, but it can never do the work of the Spirit, nor can it discern the word of God. The flesh will always twist the scriptures and our thinking to fulfill the desires of the flesh. Therefore, if we are approaching the Bible through human reasoning, we are crippling our understanding.

Human reasoning can grasp simple things like don’t steal, don’t kill, and surface understanding of basic scriptures. But it cannot grasp the life-changing power of the word. That can only come by revelation. God has to open our eyes to see and minds to understand. When this happens, it becomes life to our soul, and joy to our hearts.

King David, who wrote most of the Psalms, rejoice at God’s revelations to him saying that God has caused him to excel in his discernment more than his teachers, and has gained more understanding than his forefathers. This has caused him to be wiser than any who opposed him, and caused him to resist sin and go in the right way.

He received teaching about the word, but there came a point in time when he outgrew his teachers. I once had a church leader tell me that no one can grow beyond the teachers they allow to become their covering. Thank God, that isn’t true. One of the great promises we have is that we shall be taught of God. Many times I have finished my time of study and said, “Wow. I’ve learned things I have never been taught.” Sometimes God adds something to my understanding that clarifies what I have been taught in a deeper way. I love the way the Apostle Paul states it. “Anyone who thinks he knows anything, knows nothing that he ought to know.” In other words, we will never reach the point where we can say we are masters of the word. No matter how much we know, we are just beginning to discover the treasures God has hidden for us to find.

Though knowledge puffs up pride, the Bible says that love takes that knowledge and turns it into edification. In other words, it builds up what the flesh tries to dismantle and reshape into pride. Pride says, “Look what I know”, but the one standing upon God’s love says, “Look what God has given to me. I want to share that with someone else.”

Ironically, pride has a broken piece of understanding, but the missing pieces are provided by the revelation of God’s love. The one who rightly studies the word comes to the Bible with the understanding that they are completely dependent upon God’s revelation, and the confidence that God loves them enough to lead them into the treasures of His knowledge. They study with expectation.

Throughout the New Testament, the Bible speaks about the mystery of God hidden from the foundation of the world. Along with this, we are told that these mysteries have been revealed to us through the Spirit. We stand upon the promise that you and I have ‘the mind of Christ’, and that through this, we can know all things. Yet these are not revealed at once, but are revealed as we are able to receive it – and as we seek it.

The book of Proverbs says that wisdom is hidden deep in the heart of man, but a man of understanding will draw it out. When we bring this truth into what the Bible teaches us about our faith, we can get a clearer picture. The Bible says that when we come to Christ, we are given a new spirit, AND God places His Holy Spirit within us. That is how we have the mind of Christ. God’s Spirit speaks to our spirit to reveal the understanding of the word. As we seek His understanding, God begins revealing these things to us, and then that flows into our mind, which then affects our understanding and daily walk of life. That is why we quiet ourselves from the world, and prayerfully study the word, looking to Him for understanding.

This is why mere Bible reading and getting your daily tasks out of the way does little to grow us. We aren’t just reading – we are seeking. Jesus promised that if you seek, you will find, ask and it will be given. There has to be time to invest our lives into seeking Him. That requires quieting the world from our minds, stepping away from the busyness of life, and seeking Him.

You have the Spirit, who is eager to reveal deeper things of God to you. You have the mind of Christ. You have the promise that God reveals these things to you. The man or woman of faith has the assurance that these things are already theirs, so they dig into the word to find it, and then have the understanding that God’s revelation has been prepared for us, and is ready to be drawn out, so they are teachable by God. Sometimes we have to ask God to teach us. Sometimes that starts with, ‘Teach me how to draw out the understanding. Teach me how to seek. Teach me how to quiet myself from the world.’

It takes time, but it begins with small steps of faith. It is yours to receive if you ask God to reveal Himself to you through His word. Don’t seek mere knowledge, but understanding.

Eddie Snipes
April 2024

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