A Familiar Psalm Shows the Power Behind Observation
Before you get skeptical, take a moment to think about it: If God went to such mind-boggling lengths to reveal Himself in His Word, wouldn’t He want you to see what He wanted you to see? Of course, He would.
Yet here is list of common frustrations for people struggling with studying the Bible:
- I don’t understand the language.
- The Bible uses confusing images and figures of speech.
- I don’t know where to begin.
- I don’t really understand how everything fits together.
- I can’t make sense of poetry and prophecy!
You may have frustrations of your own. But the Bible itself offers hope and help for anyone not understanding how to search its treasures.
David’s quest for discovering biblical truth began with a simple prayer:
Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions. (Psalm 119:18)
What Do You See?
The first thing we see is that this is a prayer! A simple but powerful observation. It’s simple because it’s obvious. It’s powerful because it shows us that reading and studying the Bible is a supernatural experience that begins with inviting God’s help. And that includes opening our physical eyes—so we can notice important details and facts to unlock the Bible’s meaning—but also our spiritual eyes—so that we see deep spiritual truths (Ephesians 1:18). Look for clues such as repeated words and phrases, time of day, detail regarding surroundings and even contrasts and comparisons!
Second, we notice that studying the Bible provides wonderful and reliable instruction! In a culture saturated with false reporting and deception, it is so important that we pray for God’s help in discovering life-changing wisdom to direct our lives (John 16:13). Always take a few minutes during observation to underline or highlight right on the page of your Bible direct commands or promises that are revealed.
What Do You Need?
Finally, we see that Bible study is profoundly personal: David prayed, “Open my eyes.” Ultimately, we are responsible for our own spiritual well-being. Studying the Bible for your own personal spiritual benefit is a worthy use of your time and energy. Your life can be changed . . . your attitude can be improved . . . your concerns can be resolved and relieved in the promises and principles found in Scripture.
So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and start searching the Scriptures for yourself! But don’t leave out the most powerful and important step in the journey . . . prayer!
Ask the Lord to open your eyes too. Make sure to have a pen and paper ready to record the results!
Adapted from Charles R. Swindoll, Searching the Scriptures: Find the Nourishment Your Soul Needs (Carol Springs, IL: Tyndale House, 2016), 83–89. To learn more, see the Searching the Scriptures study.