Why do we read the Bible? Because, Christians believe, it shows us the truth about ourselves and the truth about God. Here’s the difference. When you discover the truth about God, you’re reading the Bible. When you realize the truth about yourself, you’re letting the Bible read you.
Lysa Terkeurst describes this idea well when she said:
“If we truly believe the Bible is the living word of God , we won’t just read it; we’ll let it read us.”
Letting the Bible read us instead of us reading the Bible completely changes our approach to the study of Scripture. We are not to lay our own thoughts and opinions and values onto Scripture. Instead, we need to let the messages of Scripture overlay onto us and reveal where we are at in our spiritual lives.
Out initial tendencies when reading the Bible are to say, “Well, this is what it means to me” or “What I think they meant to say was…” This is the difference between eisegesis and exegesis. Eisegesis is when I have my own preconceived notions and ideas and seek the Bible to validate those already existing beliefs. Exegesis is when we let the Bible tell us what we should believe and think.
We need to be careful as Christians never to put our own personal spin on Scripture. That is not what it is for. It is not a tool that can be reshaped to match our own will or desires.
James 1:23-25 says:
“Anyone who listens to the Word but does not do it, is like a man who looks at himself in a mirror and after looking at himself goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But, the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom (that’s God’s Word) and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard but doing it, he will be blessed in what he does.”
As James discusses in this passage, the man in the mirror who reflects his reflection, believers should be using God’s Word as their mirror. As a mirror, allow it to reflect an image of who you truly are. When it shows you your gifts, use them. When it shows you what you are doing wrong, recognize and change it. When it shows how you can live in the power of Christ, live in it. The Word should be a tool for you to use to examine your life, but it must be done truthfully. One cannot examine themselves in God’s Word and then not respond. Let your time of daily time in His Word be an opportunity to do just that. Let it be a time of examining yourselves in the mirror of God’s Word.
Like Colossians 3:16 tells us, “let the Word of Christ richly dwell in your life” and let it be reflected to others in your life. What an incredible truth to know that God in His deep love for us gave us a book that reveals what only He can tell us.