The primary way God speaks to us today is through His Word, the Bible. In (2 Timothy 3.16-17 NLT) the Apostle Paul wrote: “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.”
The words “inspired by God” literally mean “God breathed.” God spoke His Word through the Holy Spirit to chosen men who wrote it down for us to read, (2 Peter 1.21 ESV). It’s God’s Word that teaches us right from wrong. It’s God’s Word that corrects us when we get off track and shows us how to live in a way that pleases God. It’s called the “Word of life,” (Philippians 2.16 ESV). It is “living and active,” (Hebrews 4.12 ESV). It “stands forever,” (Isaiah 40.8 ESV).
Craig Etheredge, author of this article, is one of the speakers at this year’s National Disciple Making Forum. Learn more and register here.
The Bible is the most unique book ever written. It was written over 1,500 years by more than 40 human authors in three different languages. These authors came from various cultures and walks of life. Over and over its historical accuracy has been confirmed, and its prophecies have proved true and continue to affirm its reliability. No other book has been more scrutinized and attacked than the Bible, and yet God preserved it for you today.
Psalm 19.7-11 (ESV) describes the wonder of God’s Word for us: “The instructions of the LORD are perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The commandments of the LORD are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are clear, giving insight for living. Reverence for the LORD is pure, lasting forever. The laws of the LORD are true; each one is fair. They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb. They are a warning to your servant, a great reward for those who obey them.”
God wrote a book, and through His Word He communicates who He is, what He has done and how we can know Him personally. Listening to God begins with listening to His Word.
Jesus is a great example for us to follow. Jesus saturated His life with God’s Word. As a young man Jesus would have memorized most of the first five books of the Old Testament. Throughout His ministry He quoted eighty times from more than seventy different Old Testament passages. Often Jesus rebuked the religious leaders because they didn’t know the Scriptures, (Matthew 21.16, 22.29, 31 ESV). Jesus was devoted to God’s Word, and you should be too.
In order to learn how to listen to God, we are going to create an acrostic to show us practical ways to “l.i.s.t.e.n.” to God through reading His Word. Today we are going to look at the first two letters.
L stands for look at a passage from God’s Word. Listening begins with looking into God’s Word. If God speaks primarily through His Word, then you need to read God’s Word to hear from Him. Make it a habit to read God’s Word every day. Before you begin reading each day, stop and pray. Ask God to open your eyes to see Him and open your ears to hear His voice. Pray, “Speak Lord, I’m listening to you.”
I stands for identify what stands out. As you read, be sensitive to what the Spirit of God is pointing out for you to notice. Oftentimes, a word or phrase will stand out. Sometimes, the Spirit will point out a teaching that directly applies to you. Don’t read casually for content; read actively, looking for what God has for you that day. When verses stand out, underline or highlight them in your Bible.
This blog was originally posted on discipleFIRST’s blog, which you can access here. Used by permission.
Written by Craig Etheredge
Craig is a gifted communicator, author, and Bible teacher. Craig and his family moved to Colleyville, Texas in July 2007 to serve as lead pastor of First Baptist Church where he currently serves. In addition to leading the local church, Craig is involved in the local community serving on the Board of Directors for Baylor Hospital, Grapevine, Board of Directors of Christian Counseling Associates, Mission Board SBTC, Chaplain for the Colleyville Police Department, and football chaplain for Birdville High School. He has a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Craig met his wife, Liz, in the fifth grade and they have two daughters, Leah Beth and Abbie.