by Stan Mitchell
“But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this … will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:25).
So how would you characterize your study of God’s word? Do you “look intently” into it (that is, with your attention firmly fixed on it, engrossed in it, intensely?). Or do the following words better describe your study of the Bible: “cursory,” “once in a while,” and “hardly ever”?
The word James uses for “intently” is vivid. The same word is used in 1 Peter 1:12, where we are told that angels “long to look” into the mysteries of God. This word is also used in John 20:5, where Jesus’ “beloved disciple” stooped over to look into the empty tomb. No doubt he expected to see a corpse. What he saw must have made him look again more intently, for fifty years later he would recall the scene in vivid and minute detail:
“He saw strips of linen,” we are told, “the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head … and the cloth folded by itself.”
He had taken a long, careful, intense look.
James wants us to study God’s word like that, in detail and with great care.
I’m not saying that one must know Greek and Hebrew to be a good student of the Bible (neither would I discourage someone from studying them). I’m simply concerned that in an age when so many gaze at a TV set and let its images spill over them, that we should make the effort to study God’s word. Your TV might lead you to the “next exciting episode,” but God’s word will lead you to eternal life.
So read it. Ingest it. Look “intently into” it, as if your life depends on it, for it surely does.
by Stan Mitchell