In addition to hearing and reading God’s Word, you can also practice Bible intake by studying God’s Word. Jerry Bridges wrote, “Reading gives us breadth, but study gives us depth.”
Consider these three examples of those who had a heart to study the Word of God. First, In Ezra 7:10 we read these words, “For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.” Before he taught the Word of God to the people of God, Ezra disciplined himself to study God’s Word.
A second example is from Acts 17:11. Missionaries Paul and Silas had barely escaped with their lives from Thessalonica after their successful evangelistic work had provoked the Jews there to jealousy. When they repeated the same course of action in Berea, the Jews there responded differently. Acts 17:11 says, “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” According to the next verse, the result was, “Many of the Jews believed.” The willingness to examine the Scriptures is commended here as noble character.
A third example of a heart to study the truth of God is in II Timothy 4:13. The Apostle Paul was in prison and writing the last chapter of his last New Testament letter. Anticipating the coming of his younger friend Timothy, he wrote, “When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.” The scrolls and parchments Paul requested almost certainly included copies of the Holy Scriptures. In his cold and miserable confinement, the godly apostle asked for two things: a cloak to wear so his body could be warmed and God’s Word to study so his mind and heart could be warmed. Paul had seen Heaven (II Corinthians 12:1-6) and the resurrected Christ (Acts 9:5), he had experienced the Holy Spirit’s power for miracles (Acts 14:10) and even for writing Holy Scripture (II Peter 3:16); nevertheless, he continued to study God’s Word until he died. If Paul needed it, surely, we need it and should discipline ourselves to do it.
Often this study of God’s Word involves 4 steps: (1.) Repetition, (2.) Concentration, (3.) Comprehension, and (4.) Reflection. All are important as we study the Bible. Ingrained habits of thought can be formed by repetition which helps change our behavior. Concentration centers our mind and focuses our attention on the thing being studied. Comprehension leads to insight and discernment by defining what we are studying. Reflection defines the significance of what we are studying.
Bible intake is one of the Spiritual Disciplines. The practice of Bible intake is essential to our growth in godliness. We need to hear the Word of God, read the Word of God, and study the Word of God. When we practice Bible intake on a regular basis, it becomes a means by which God’s grace flows into our lives and does a work of transformation.
If you want to grow in Godliness, then discipline yourself to hear, read, and study the Bible.
Blessings, Bill Duke