37 And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. 38 But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. 39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. NKJV
I LOVE to study scripture. I love to take in whole sweeping sections of scripture in a single sitting. I love to dig down deep into the beautiful nuances of a single verse or phrase. I love to try to get my head around the time, place and culture in which a text emerged in order to better understand the original intent. I love the Bible. I’m not the best or most disciplined student of scripture by any stretch, that’s not what I’m saying. I am saying that Jesus might be able to say of me “You search the Scriptures…”
This passage from John 5 has always been sobering to me. Evidently, it’s possible to be a student of scripture and yet never hear the voice of God. Look at the passage! That’s exactly what Jesus says. It’s possible to read the Bible and never hear the Word. Scary.
Jesus said to this group of Bible students that they didn’t have the word abiding in them. God’s word is alive (see Hebrews 4:12). It’s designed to live within us, not just take up space. God’s word lives within us (abides in us) when we believe in Jesus. Faith activates the reality of the living Word in our lives! Not faith in the Bible (the written Word) – but faith in Jesus, the Living Word! The scriptures speak to us of Jesus and are designed to bring us into relationship with Him.
Scripture must be more than an academic pursuit. It must be more than a religious pursuit. It must be more than a repository of moral teachings, doctrinal instruction, and ancient history. There is a Living Word who is the author of the written Word. The Bible is inspired (breathed out by God) through the work of the Holy Spirit. As I read scripture, I need to breathe his breath. As I read scripture I need to by faith come to Jesus. As I read scripture, I need to allow his word to live in me.