The Mind of Christ in His Word: Part 1 (3)
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom… Colossians 3.16
Living and powerful
Scripture is powerful to penetrate to the depths of a human being’s life. We saw this when we looked at the essential components of a well-kept heart, and what is true for the heart is true for the mind and conscience as well. Breaking into our souls as we read, the Bible quickens us (Jn. 6.63), revealing the glory of God in Jesus Christ, and working, by His Spirit, to transform us into Jesus’ own image (Heb. 4.12; 2 Cor. 3.16-18).
Only as the Bible exerts its power within us can that transformation occur which leads to the renewing of our minds and lives for the glory of God. The mind is one component of our inner lives, but it’s not the only part of our souls where Christ in His Word is working to make all things new. But the mind is an important gateway through which the Word of God enters our soul and begins to dwell within us richly. So we need to be mindful, so to speak, of the mind’s role in opening the gates of the soul so that the King of glory can enter to do His work (cf. Ps. 24).
We must be mindful, first of all, that the temper of our times is entirely opposed to such ideas as the soul, an inner person, or even the mind. The widespread secular and naturalistic thinking of our day insists that only what we can see, feel, hear, taste, or smell is real – only material things, in other words. Nothing else exists – no spiritual realities, no soul, and no God. If we allow this agenda to determine our thinking, we will miss the great blessing and promise of reading Scripture, and we will end up denying the Lord when push comes to shove in our Personal Mission Fields.
According to the Bible, the human soul bears the image of God. That image has been tarnished and obscured by years of living in sin., and by the law of sin, inherited from our first parents, that continues within us. However, the image of God is never completely defaced, and if we are to realize the full joy and potential of what it means to be redeemed in Christ, we must allow Christ, speaking in His Word, to illuminate, refurbish, and transform all aspects of our soul. The renewing of our minds may be the place to begin, but unless our hearts and consciences are also renewed in Scripture, we will never fully realize the joy of Christ, or be transformed into His glorious image.
When we read the Bible, therefore, we must set our minds to read in such a way as to allow the Word of Christ to speak to our entire soul, that we may be renewed in the image of Christ.
The Word within us
Both the Psalmist (Ps. 119.9-11) and Paul (Colossians 3.16) hold out the idea of the Word of God dwelling within us, becoming a living reality within the various components of our soul. Other passages of Scripture speak of eating the Word, or otherwise taking Scripture into our innermost being (Job 23.12; Jer. 15.16; Rev. 10.9-11). Clearly, God intends His Word to get inside us, into the very deep recesses of our lives, into our souls.
The soul, as we have seen, consists of three interacting and overlapping spiritual components – mind, heart, and conscience. The mind manages the process and products of thinking. The heart is where our affections are lodged and refined. And the conscience maintains the values and priorities that guide our thinking and feeling into right action.
When we think of hiding the Word in our heart, or letting the Word of Christ dwell in us richly, we must think in specific ways about how the living and powerful Word of Christ, glowing with His glory, is likely to affect us in our soul. We cannot read the Bible merely for ideas, in other words. The Word of God is truth, as Jesus reminded us (Jn. 17.17); but truth is a much larger category of reality than ideas alone. Truth includes ideas, but it also includes how we feel, what we value, and how we speak and act. Truth, that is, consists in Jesus Christ (Jn. 14.6), and how He becomes increasingly evident in every aspect of our lives, beginning in our soul.
Reading for your soul
Thus, as we read, we should strive to understand the Scriptures, to nurture the affections Scripture commends, and to value the Word as the guide of our will and life.
We want Scripture to shape our thinking. As we read it, therefore, we will listen for the Spirit to illuminate our mind concerning all aspects of our thought lives. We want the ideas, views, perspectives, teachings, truths, and thinking of Scripture to outfit our mind for maturity in the mind of Christ. This means reading Scripture to illuminate our mind – to “turn on the lights” of our thinking – revealing more of the mind of Christ, and showing us how to take our thoughts captive for obedience to Him (2 Cor. 10.3-5).
But we will also read the Word to shed light on the state of our affections – those attitudes, feelings, desires, and aspirations that have powerful effects on how we think and live. All affections are valid, but only when they are rightly focused and properly nurtured according to the teaching of Scripture. We must allow our mind, guided by the Bible, to reveal any misguided, deficient, or improper affections; then we must look to Scripture to reform and refashion our heart, so that we desire the things of the Lord in the same ways He does.
And we must listen for Scripture to instruct our consciences as well, by disclosing, examining, and revaluing our priorities in every area of life in the light of the mind’s Scripture-filled illumination. The highest values we can sustain in our conscience are to love God with all our soul and strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. All other values and priorities of the conscience – how we use our time, wealth, and strength – must line up behind these. As the Word of God dwells richly in us, it can help us to be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ in every facet of our soul – mind, heart, and conscience.
So as you read and study the Bible, listen for the Word of Christ to speak to your inner person. Let the Sword of God pierce deeply into every chamber of your soul, and let His glory cauterize and transform you from the inside-out.
1. Can you give an example of how you read the Bible to transform your thinking?
2. Can you give an example of how you read the Bible to renew your affections?
3. Can you give an example of how, by reading the Bible, you have seen your values or priorities transformed?
Next steps – Transformation: Right now, give thanks to God for His Word, and for its power to transform you into the image of Jesus Christ. Begin right away to read and study your Bible with a view to letting the Word of Christ dwell in you richly. Do you think journaling might be a good way to enhance your time in God’s Word?
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.
Read for Your Soul
- T.M. Moore
- April 25, 2022
The mind is the gateway to the soul.
The Mind of Christ in His Word: Part 1 (3)
T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore