Justin Peters famously says, “If you want to hear God speak, read your Bible. If you want to hear Him audibly, read it aloud ” Justin uses that pithy saying to combat the growing expectation evangelicals have that the Holy Spirit should speak personally, apart from the Bible.
I’ve written several blog posts demonstrating the sufficiency of Scripture, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I wrote more in future posts. As evangelicals increasingly believe that God speaks to them in a still, small voice or in visions and dreams, we must sound the alarm against this false teaching!
Lately, however, I’ve been considering another aspect of the Lord speaking through the Bible. For all I’ve written and said about this matter, I find myself sometimes taking God’s Word for granted. I’ve read it almost daily for nearly 49 years. Its verses and passages have become extremely familiar. 20 years ago, my mother asked, “Why do you still read that every day? Haven’t you memorized it yet?”
I think most Christians, no matter how ardently we love God’s Word, can forget that He speaks to us through the pages of Scripture. Familiarity may not breed contempt, but it can dull our appreciation. Consequently, we don’t say with Job:
I have not departed from the commandment of his lips;
I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food. ~~Job 23:12 (ESV)
The New King James Version reads, “more than my necessary food.” That rendering perhaps communicates the meaning a bit more powerfully, in my opinion. Job considered the Word of God to be even more vital than physical nourishment!
When we open our Bibles each morning, do we do so with confidence that the Most High wants to say something? True, what we read on a given morning may not directly apply to our immediate circumstances. We mustn’t read the Bible in the way pagans read their horoscopes, subtly demanding that He speak about the matters uppermost on our agendas.
But He certainly will speak about Who He is and how He wants us to glorify Him. He certainly will confront our sin and assure us of His love. Most importantly, He will certainly reveal His eternal priorities, reminding us that the universe is all about Him, not all about us.
Justin Peters is right. To hear God speak, we must read our Bibles. Let’s read them with eager anticipation that He will, in fact, speak.