STUDYING THE BIBLE
BY THE OLD MAN AND BY THE NEW MAN
We need to have this realization when we come to the Bible. We may study the Bible either by the old man or by the new man. Many Christians study the Word in a natural way, according to their old man. When you read the Word of God, do you read it by the old man or by the new man? If we merely exercise our mind to get knowledge from the Word, we are reading it by the old man.
To read the Bible by the new man is very different. Even before coming to the Bible, a person in the new man exercises his spirit to contact the Lord. He may confess, saying, "Lord, I am sorry that I live so much in my old man, not exercising my spirit to contact You, to live by my new man, as one of Your new creation. Lord, forgive this sin." When we approach the Bible in this way, exercising our spirit, we have the deep feeling and sense that we are approaching, touching, and contacting God. By this I do not mean that the Bible is God but that in coming to the Bible we are coming to contact God.
PRAY-READING THE WORD OF GOD
When we come to the Bible to contact God, we should not only read but pray-read the Word. No matter who we are, as long as we read the Bible without praying, we are reading by the old man. To read the Bible without praying is to contact the Word by the old man. The genuine reading of the Bible by the new man can never be separated from praying.
Reading the Bible Prayerfully
The term pray-reading has been in use for less than thirty years. This does not mean, however, that before we invented this term, there was no such thing as pray-reading. Many saints have practiced the pray-reading of the Word without using this expression to describe what they were doing. A number of seeking Christians have pointed out that the best way to read the Bible is to read it prayerfully. I have read certain books which said that we should read the Bible in a prayerful way. To read the Word prayerfully actually is to pray-read the Word.
I can testify that long before we began to speak of pray-reading, it was my practice to read the Word with prayer. For example, I remember reading John 3:16 and praying, "O God, thank You. You loved the world so much. O God my Father, You loved me so much that You gave Your Son, the Only Begotten, to me." I had the feeling that I had touched God and that He had touched me. Through my prayer John 3:16 became Spirit and life to me.
(Life-Study of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)