For many years I studied the Bible incorrectly, and it produced death rather than life. Even though I had a knowledge of the Scriptures, I did not personally experience the life and the realities they revealed. The Bible calls this the ministry of death, rather than the ministry of righteousness (2 Cor. 3:6–9). Upon coming out of Bible college, I found myself just like the apostle Paul, attacking those who disagreed with my theology.
Once I learned to hear God’s voice, I let God lead me to the Scriptures, I let God reveal the Scriptures to my heart, and I experienced what the disciples experienced—my heart burning within as Jesus opened up Scriptures for me (Luke 24:32). When I read the Bible, I began to expect encounters with the Holy Spirit. It was no no longer a draining chore, but a delightful adventure! I was becoming like David, who wrote, “Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day” (Ps. 119:9 ESV ).
Bible verses started leaping off the page, revelation was flashing, and I discovered this could happen every single day, every time I opened the Bible—or any book for that matter. God knows a lot about a lot of topics, and He is able to grant revelation in every area I read if I approach the book with the proper heart attitude. What an insight!
Perhaps you have heard pastors or ministry leaders speak of experiences like this, where the Bible came alive to them and God gave them inspiration for a sermon, a message, or some kind of prophetic word. I want you to know, right up front, that this kind of experience is not reserved for those in ministry. I am not someone who has attained or achieved some kind of unique experience; God wants to communicate with all of His beloved children. By posturing your heart and mind properly, it is possible to hear from Heaven simply by opening the Scriptures and meditating on their truths.
I know that the word “meditation” makes some Christians a bit nervous . This is because of how Eastern religion and the New Age movement have presented their counterfeit version. It is very important that just because we see a counterfeit of a biblical truth, we do not throw out the biblical truth altogether. As I say, no one makes counterfeit one-dollar bills; they copy the larger denominations. In the same way, the devil works very intentionally to counterfeit scriptural truths that have the strongest potential to bring the people of God into greater levels of intimacy with God and clarity in hearing the Holy Spirit. Meditation is one of these key truths. Through practice, we can have a new sense of expectancy when we approach the Bible, knowing that God will speak through its pages.
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success (Joshua 1:8 NKJV).
I will also meditate on all Your work, And talk of Your deeds (Psalm 77:12 NKJV).
Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you (1 Timothy 4:14–16 NKJV).