I was convicted by this passage from David Martyn Lloyd-Jones in his Studies in the Sermon on the Mount:
I can never forget, in this connection, a man who, whenever I met him, always impressed upon me the fact that he was a great Bible student. I suppose in one sense he was, but his life was unfortunately very far removed from that which one finds described in the pages of the New Testament. Yet Bible study was his hobby and that is the thing of which I am afraid. You can be a Bible student in that mechanical sense. As people spend their time in analysing Shakespeare, so some people spend their time in analysing the Scriptures.
An analysis of Scripture is all right as long as it is in a very subordinate position, and as long as we are careful it does not so grip us, that we become interested only in an objective, intellectual sense. It is a unique Word, and it must not be approached just as any other book is approached. I do increasingly understand stand those Fathers and saints of the Church in the past who used to say that we should never read the Bible except on our knees. We need this constant reminder as we approach the Word of God, that it is indeed and in truth the Word of God speaking directly to us.
I confess that it describes my life to some degree.
I find two things have helped me move away from this posture.
The first is to know that God is always my Friend. All day, every day, in every minute of the day. Now, do I constantly maintain that awareness? Not at all. But I often remind myself of this great gift of God’s presence. This makes all the difference. I’m not reading the Bible to become it’s expert, but to deepen the friendship with my Friend.
The second is to start my time reading the Bible with a prayer. To be emotionally honest with God. To say, “God, I have mixed motives as I open the Bible today. Would you renovate my heart as I spend time in the Scriptures?” It’s a simple prayer - there’s no formula to it. But being emotionally open with God shifts my posture as I read the text.
What do you make of Lloyd-Jones’ exhortation?
How do you approach the Scriptures?