Peter wrote that the brethren were to be put always in remembrance of certain things, even though they knew them, so that they might be established in the present truth (2 Peter 1:12). It is a great phrase, and one that needs to be understood if there is to be true growth in the life in Christ from day to day. I thought of this when I read an essay written a generation ago by an Edinburgh professor of theology on "The Practice of the Spiritual Life." After speaking about the necessity of reading the Word of God the professor asks, "What shall we read in the Bible?" He then answers his question...

Be careful, in reading the Word of God, to find out what it really says. How many people there are who have false ideas of the Bible simply because they believe that the Bible says something it does not say at all! If one could speak to the average man in the street he would probably say that if there is such a being as the Devil, he is to be found in hell; yet the Bible teaches that the Devil has never yet been in hell. The man would probably say that the Devil in hell is occupied as chief torturer of the wicked, yet the Bible clearly shows that when the Devil is finally cast into the lake of fire, he will be the chief victim.

The Word belongs to the Lord and He can use it as He pleases. He can expand it and so use it to give it new depths of meaning as time passes. A Christian asked if it were possible to get blessing out of verses that, in their literal interpretation, did not apply to present circumstances at all. I answered:

The shortest road to an understanding of the Bible is the acceptance of the fact that God is speaking in every line. The shortest road to the knowledge of the will of God is the willingness to do that will even before we know it. If we expect the voice of God to speak to us when we open the Bible, and have asked the Holy Spirit to bless it to us, we will find that He will undoubtedly answer that prayer. The Holy Spirit cannot feed us, though, if we have allowed known sin to come between us and Him.

Read your Bible slowly. Take time, even if you have but little time. Give God the opportunity to talk back to you. This is the most important part of Bible study. When you merely plow through the Scriptures, letting your brain have full play over the text, making decisions as to what it means, and incorporating it into the corpus of your theology, it is comparatively worthless for spiritual results.