OUR ATTITUDE IN READING THE BIBLE
Having the Right Feeling—That We Are Coming before God
After we have such a realization concerning reading the Bible, we have to pay attention to our attitude. I am afraid that some brothers and sisters still do not have a thorough understanding concerning what our attitude should be in reading the Bible. A brother once told me of an experiment that he conducted. He placed both a chemistry book and a Bible on his desk. He then spent an hour reading the chemistry book and a second hour reading the Bible. In the end he discovered that according to his inner sense there was a world of difference between these two books. After I heard this, I felt that even such a realization was not adequate. If we could ask the Chinese educator and philosopher, Mr. Hu Shih, about his feeling regarding studying a book on human history versus studying the Bible, he would say that he did not have any particular feeling. He would say that the two books are similar and are both written with Chinese characters. The book on human history has the word heaven, and the Bible also has the word heaven. The history book contains the word earth, and the Bible also contains such a word. The history book speaks of human history, and the Bible speaks of human history as well. He would conclude that these two books are both literary books. This would most likely be the feeling of Hu Shih, and it represents the feeling of non-Christians.
Suppose that today a child of God had a secular book in one hand and the Bible in the other. What would be his sense after having read these two books? In a normal condition, when God’s children come to the Word of God, they should have the feeling that they have touched God Himself. When we study chemistry, we touch chemistry; when we study human history, we touch human history. However, when we read the Bible, we should touch God. Hence, I hope that all of us who pursue God would learn this lesson—every time we read the Bible, we should touch God Himself.
For example, this morning someone came to me and told me many things. When he was finished, I had not only heard his words, but I also had touched his person. When a person speaks to us, we not only hear his words but also touch his person. There are many among us who have been saved for years and have read the Bible. However, when we read the Bible, do we touch only the words of the Bible, or do we touch the speaking God? This may be likened to what happens when a person tells us something. Do we have a sense only of his words or of the person who is speaking the words as well? Usually we not only touch the person’s words, but we touch also the one who speaks the words. Although we definitely hear their speaking, the one who is speaking is also expressed in his speaking. When his words come forth, his person also comes forth. His word may not give us a very deep impression, but his person should. In the same way, when we read the Bible, we should have the sense that we are touching our lovely Savior. Therefore, every time we read the Bible, we have to exercise to meet God and to touch God.
Take myself as an example. Every time I read the Bible, as long as I contact the word of God, I sense that I have contacted God once again. For instance, even though I may be listening to a certain brother’s voice as he is speaking into a microphone, I can still get some impression of that brother and sense his particular flavor. Every time we come to the Bible, we should also sense God’s “flavor.” We should sense that we have come before God. Those who sense that they have touched God when they come to the Bible seldom come to the Bible as if it were a school textbook, thinking that studying the Bible is similar to studying chemistry or mathematics. It is not so. We must see that as the word of God, the Bible is God Himself coming forth. When we touch the word of God, we touch God.
(The Path of Our Growth in Life, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)