The Mind of Christ in His Word: Part 1 (2)
Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3.16-18
The joy of reading Scripture
The challenge of reading regularly through the Scriptures as a daily discipline may strike some people as onerous or legalistic. Reading is hard for many people, and reading the Bible can be especially hard.
But God intends for us to enjoy reading and studying His Word. He wants us to approach the Bible like the prophet Jeremiah, who exclaimed, “Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; for I am called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts” (Jer. 15.16). We wouldn’t say that eating three meals a day was onerous or legalistic. We understand the importance of regular eating, and we enjoy the experience.
Reading and studying God’s Word can become just like that, and doing so is the essential foundation to maturing in the mind of Christ. But we will need the Lord’s help both to establish and maintain this discipline, as well as to find the joy in it He intends. And the joy of reading Scripture comes from meeting the Lord in His glory.
Seek the Lord
As we come to our daily Bible reading, we must seek the Lord for the joy of meeting Him in His Word. Jesus is the express representation of the Lord, so we will want to seek Jesus in His Word (Heb. 1.3). We have His Word that He is there, and that if we seek Him with all our heart, we will find Him and know His glory (Jn. 5.39; Jer. 29.13).
If we will ask Him each day to give us delight in reading and studying Scripture, by showing Himself to us there, this will keep our time in the Word from becoming a duty, something we feel as if we should do, rather than something we dearly want to do. Our time in the Word can be a source of delight if, rather than hurry through our reading, just to get it done, we will look to the Lord, allow the Spirit to search and teach us, and wait patiently for the Lord to draw us into His glory.
We need to be sure about what to expect as we come to the Word of God each day. Only as we read Scripture for what God has for us there will we know the joy that comes from this discipline. We are reading wrong if we read the Scriptures, in the first instance, to “get something” out of them – something to soothe or impress us, or something to share with someone else. These are important byproducts of reading Scripture; they just aren’t what God intends for us first of all.
We must learn to read the Word as a way of seeking the Lord in His glory. That is, God is in His Word, which is living and powerful (Heb. 4.12), and He speaks to us from the Bible to reveal Himself and His glory. He is working by His Spirit to make His glory known to us, and it is this encounter with God in His glory which alone has power to transform us increasingly into the image of Jesus Christ – heart, mind, conscience, and all of life.
Along the way, of course, we will gain many wonderful insights into God’s truth, gain a better understanding of important doctrines, find precious truths to comfort and strengthen our souls, and acquire a clearer overall perspective on the divine economy. That is, we will mature in the mind of Christ. But as God makes Himself known to us in His glory, we may also find our reading of Scripture to be humbling, indicting, summoning, or impacting us in ways other than we may have come to the Word seeking. Don’t come to the Scriptures with preconceived notions about what you want from the Word of God. Come to Christ, speaking in His Word, and read to listen, hear, submit, and obey as the Spirit leads.
Read into Jesus
Another way to put this would be, read to grow into and in Jesus, so that you know and love Him better and are transformed increasingly into His image. We are called to learn Jesus (Eph. 4.17-24). We should expect our time in God’s Word to bring us to partake of Him (2 Pet. 1.4). Our lives have been hidden with Christ in God. We look to Scripture, above all, for whatever it can show us of Jesus, and to make us more at home with Him and in the Lord. The goal of all reading and study of Scripture is to be conformed in all aspects of life to the image of Jesus Christ. He must increase in us, and we must decrease if our time in God’s Word is to be profitable, as He intends (Jn. 3.30). And that applies especially to our minds (2 Cor. 10.3-5).
The story of the Bible is the story of Jesus, and the central role He plays in the divine economy of redemption. The Bible is given by one divine Author, Who breathed His Word into and through His servants, to tell the one grand story of redemption, bringing blessings to men and great glory to God. When we read Scripture, waiting on the Lord to show us His glory, we enter the life and purpose of Scripture, allowing God’s Word to mold and shape us, and avoiding the temptation to mold or shape God’s Word to suit our preconceived notions or needs. God knows what we need, and what He has prepared for us in Scripture is designed to meet those need by showing us Himself and His glory as these are revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4.6). Our attitude, whenever we come to the Bible, must be like that of those ancient Greeks who insisted, “We would see Jesus!” (Jn. 12.20, 21)
Wherever we are reading in God’s Word, we must keep the overarching narrative of Scripture in mind, seeking in all our reading and study insight to the glory of God in Jesus Christ. All Scripture works to unfold this story and holds together on it as the central thread of divine revelation. Scripture’s purpose is to reveal God and to show us His heart and initiate us into His plan. Wherever you are reading in the Word of God, therefore, seek to discern the ways that God is revealing Himself in Jesus Christ, to bring glory to Himself through a people He has redeemed in the Lord.
As you thus learn Jesus, you will realize greater maturity in thinking with His mind.
1. Do you think it’s possible to “see Jesus” in every part of the Bible? Why or why not?
2. What would be some important questions to keep in mind as we read Scripture to see Jesus and the glory of God?
3. Write a prayer that you can use each day to see Jesus in your time of reading and studying God’s Word.
Next steps – Conversation: Give thanks to God that He will give you joy in reading His Word. Talk with a Christian friend about this matter of seeing Jesus throughout His Word. Is that your friend’s experience? How can you encourage one another in seeing Jesus in His glory?
T. M. Moore
Our book, The Joy and Rejoicing of My Heart, goes into more detail about how to get the most out of your time in the Scriptures. Order your free copy by clicking here.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.