How rich is this book in which God has spoken! In it is Christ Himself. If you are asked by a learned professor where Christ is, do not reply that He is in the heavens; that is too far away. Do not say that He is in your spirit; that is too mysterious. The answer is that Christ is in the Bible. If the inquirer truly wants to meet Him, let him read John 1:1-29 over and over. He will surely find Him.
The Life-study Messages are rich, but not one of them is as rich as the Bible. The writings of Confucius are of a high quality, with profound philosophical and ethical teachings, but they cannot compare with the Bible. I studied some of those writings when I was young and I did appreciate them, but once I became familiar with them, there seemed to be not much more to them when I went back to consider them further. The Bible, in contrast, is inexhaustible. We have put out over sixty-five messages on the Gospel of John, yet we could easily have another sixty-five messages without the well running dry! The more we read the Bible, the more riches we discover. After fifty-five years of loving this book, I am still plumbing its depths and enjoying its riches.
ITS CENTRAL THOUGHT
It is best if we come to this Word knowing what its main thought is. Whatever part of the Bible we are reading, we should be aware that the basic concept of this holy book is that God desires to work Himself into us. Nothing pleases God as much as being one with us. He wants to be us, and us to be Him. He would like to be our life. Yes, we already have life, but our life is not the real life. It is just a vessel, an empty vessel, to contain God as our real life. God’s desire is that we should be His vessel, containing Him, expressing Him, and living Him out.
Day by day I have the deep conviction within me that I should not live myself out. I am just a vessel with God as my life. In my speaking, if I do not contain, express, and convey Him to you, my words are just vanity. Before I speak, I pray, “Lord, I don’t want to speak anything from myself. I want to speak only You. If You are not my speaking, whatever I speak is in vain.” I do believe that in my speaking the Lord’s word is spoken.
When we come to the Bible then, we must not think we are coming just to the printed page. We need to realize that the Word, God, the Spirit, and the Bible are one. In coming to His Word, we come to Him. His intention is not to teach nor correct us; it is rather to work Himself into us.
By what way does God work Himself into us? It is in the same way that we take food into us. By eating different forms of the animal and vegetable life, we get the essential elements we need to sustain our physical life. What we eat may be in the form of apples or cherries, beef or chicken. But it becomes part of us in the form of nutrients that our bodies can assimilate to keep us alive and healthy. What we eat does not stay in the form of an apple or a chicken; it is digested as vitamins, minerals, protein, and other substances our bodies need.
God Himself is the nourishment we need. Both the animal and vegetable life are used in the Bible to illustrate the riches of His nourishment. Jesus said to His disciples, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall by no means hunger, and he who believes in Me shall by no means ever thirst” (John 6:35). Here Christ likens Himself to barley and wheat. He is symbolized by the vegetable life.
In this same chapter (John 6) He is also described as being of the animal life. “The bread which I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.…Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up in the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink” (vv. 51-55).
From such verses we can see that God would impart Himself into us as nourishment, that our spiritual being might be constituted. Mere instruction in the Christian life is not sufficient; we must have the genuine food.
(Life Messages, Vol. 1 (#1-41), Chapter 24, by Witness Lee)