How to Enjoy God and How to Practice the Enjoyment of God, Ch. 17, Sec. 1 of 2




We need to point out more crucial points concerning our reading of the Bible.

In the previous chapter we saw that when a person comes to the Word, he must drop his concepts. He should not read the Lord’s Word with his own ideas, nor should he seek to learn some teachings from the Bible. He does not even need to expend any effort to gain inspiration. Many times we ourselves are the problem and the obstacle in the study of the Word. Either we do not come to the Word, or we come with our own baggage. We come to the Word with our concepts or our expectations. At times we even come to the Word with our striving and effort.


We all know what it is to have a concept. Everyone has views and a unique disposition. A person’s disposition is seen in his constitution, and his constitution is expressed in his concepts. It is very difficult for a person to drop his concepts when he comes to the Word. It is difficult to find a person who comes to the Word without his own concepts. These concepts can be compared to colored glasses that frustrate us from seeing the original color and light in the Bible.

Reading the Word is wonderful. However, while those who are nonchalant, having no concepts, do not receive anything from the Word, those who are full of concepts do not receive the true meaning of the Word either. Some may think that it is not possible to come to the Word without any concepts, but this principle applies to many spiritual things. It is wrong to be full of natural concepts, and it is wrong to be indifferent and nonchalant. Those who receive something from God’s Word are not indifferent. The condition of not being indifferent, however, is arrived at through a process of God’s breaking. A student of the Word should not be void of all concepts, but his concepts must be dealt with and broken by the Lord. Being void of all concepts is not a condition for reading the Bible, but a person must be able to set aside his own concepts before he can read the Bible. He can be full of endeavors, thoughts, and concepts, but every time he comes to the Bible, he must set his concepts aside and drop them. May we all remember to set aside our concepts when we come to God’s Word. Then we will find the true meaning of the Bible in our reading.


Unless a person sets aside his concepts, he cannot receive the central thought revealed in the Bible. Since many of God’s children are trapped by their concepts, they do not know the central and crucial things in the Bible even though they have read it for many years. They always come to the Bible with their concepts. These concepts are a veil and limitation, blocking and limiting them from seeing the central and crucial matters in the Word. Hence, they receive only superficial and irrelevant points. When they testify about reading the Bible, they speak of superficial matters. They seldom speak of crucial matters. This does not mean that the Bible does not contain crucial matters, but there is no response or reaction in them when they read the crucial matters.

This can be compared to writing on oily paper. Oily paper cannot absorb the ink. However, if one writes on tissue paper, the ink is immediately absorbed because tissue paper is ink-absorbent. The ink that is not absorbed by oily paper is easily absorbed by tissue paper. This can be compared to our reading of the Bible. We are like tissue paper in relation to some things in the Bible; we absorb them as soon as they come to our attention. We are like oily paper, however, in relation to other crucial and central matters; we repel them and turn away from them whenever we read them. We may say that we have no feeling for them. We are not touched, and the Word does not affect us.

In the previous chapter the young man who was offended by the elders had the concept that elders should not offend young believers. This concept affected and biased his inward being so that the only portion of the Word that he responded to was 1 Peter 5. Like a piece of tissue paper that absorbs ink, he immediately absorbed the word that elders should not lord it over the flock of God but should be a pattern to the flock. However, like a piece of oily paper, there was no response within him to other crucial passages in the Bible. He would say that those portions did not touch him. However, the words did in fact touch him, but there simply was no response within him.

Whenever God’s Word touches us, there should be a corresponding condition in our being that matches His touching. If our condition does not match the Word, it will not affect us, but if our inward condition matches the Word, it will affect us. If a husband expects his wife to always submit to him, he will respond to passages on wives submitting to their husbands. Likewise, if a man pursues humility, considering it to be the most necessary virtue, he will respond only to teachings on humility in his reading. As soon as he reads something about humility, there will be a response within him. He will be touched by those words. Most people who seem to dig things out of the Bible are not actually digging. The items they find were within them before they read the Bible. The Bible merely confirms what was within them. A person may be so burdened for humility that it fills his being and occupies all his thoughts. He will define a perfect man as a person who acts in humility and will define a Christian who is up to the standard as one who attains absolute humility. Since his being is focused on humility, he is impressed only with humility when he reads the Bible. Only the portions on humility are marked in his Bible, and he memorizes only the verses on humility. In his view, the Bible is a book about humility. Strictly speaking, however, he is not responding to the word on humility that is in the Bible; rather, the word on humility in the Bible is a confirmation of his concept of humility. He finds an echo in the Bible, and he responds strongly to it.

There are many stories like this. A person may be predisposed to self-denial and constantly speak about sacrificing oneself to care for others. Since he is filled with this concept, it is not easy for him to receive any light or to be touched by any other portion in the Bible. When he reads teachings on denying the self, bearing the cross, and following the Lord, he is immediately struck with these words. Only the words denying the self are underlined in his Bible. His inward being is filled with the matter of denying the self, and this is the only portion he finds in his Bible. It is difficult to determine whether his self-denial originates from the Bible or from him. Nevertheless, he seems to respond to the word in the Bible.

I must repeat that the kind of person we are determines the kind of Bible we read. A humble person has a Bible on humility. A self-denying person has a Bible on self-denial. In order to read the Bible, we need to be broken. We need to receive God’s breaking in order to hear what God is saying. God’s ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are higher than ours. We may think that humility is good, but there are things that are better than humility. Nevertheless, many people have never found these things in their reading.

This is a very heavy burden within me. I wish I could open my heart wide to you and speak a word from the depth of my being. I feel that my words have not penetrated into your inner being. I want to shout this point: Do you realize that the Bible you are reading does not convey the divine inspiration of God to you? The Bible you have in your hand is the same book that I have in my hand. However, when you read it, you do not receive its divine inspiration. You are reading a book that only reflects your own concepts. Even though our Bibles are exactly the same, we receive different impressions when we read them. When the Bible in our hand is framed by our concepts, it becomes a different book. We should ask ourselves how many times we have read the Bible without using the glasses of our concepts. When will we be free from our concepts? Every day you read your own “Bible.” From the beginning of the year to the end of the year you read the divinely inspired Bible, which is veiled by your concepts. You are reading the Bible according to your concepts. You are not reading a Bible that is not colored by your concepts. When you come to the Bible, you are full of concepts; you are wearing colored glasses. As a result, God’s Word changes when it passes through the filter of your concepts. It is no longer in its original form. You are not reading the Bible according to God’s original inspiration. You are reading a Bible that is tainted with your concepts and views. You are reading a Bible that is a reflection of yourself.

© Living Stream Ministry, 2021, used by permission