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God’s Word – Primary Source Of Guidance

By Wesley L. Duewel

    The Bible is the primary resource for the Holy Spirit’s guidance to you in the major decisions of life. The more your mind is saturated with the whole of God’s Word, the more time you spend in daily reading and thinking on God’s Word, the more prepared you will be for the Spirit to guide you in your crisis moments.

    The Bible is especially important in your daily prayer times. You can pray often throughout your day, as you walk or drive your car or as you wait on someone. But it is more difficult to bring the Bible into your daily life except in the times you schedule alone with God. Normally the Christian should spend at least as much of his quiet time in reading the Bible as in prayer and intercession. Which is more important: your speaking to God, or your listening to God?

    One reason many people know so little of God’s guidance in daily living is that they have neglected God’s Word. Your soul needs God’s Word as much as your body needs daily food. Don’t think that reading a page in a devotional book can take the place of God’s Word itself. If you must choose between one or the other, choose the Bible.

    If you read three chapters of Scripture each weekday and five chapters on Sunday, you can read from Genesis to Revelation in a year. You should never be so busy that you can’t read the Bible that much. Yet some Christians read only parts of chapters or favorite chapters or favorite books of the Bible. What would you think if your friend read only certain paragraphs of your letter? You don’t know the whole Word of God unless you read all of it regularly.

    Make your main reading of Scripture consecutive. You are free to read from any passage God calls to your attention, but avoid reading mainly your favorite passages. To know God’s Word, be familiar with the whole of it. You may read the New Testament more than the Old Testament, but remember that the Old was the only Bible Jesus had. You deprive yourself of much of God’s truth and blessing if you read only from the New Testament.

Suggestions for Reading Scripture

    1. Read your Bible consecutively as a normal practice. Set goals of how many chapters per day you will usually read.

    2. Normally begin your private prayer time with Scripture. You will have fewer wandering thoughts if you read before you pray. Often prayer topics will arise out of your reading.

    3. Give God priority time at the beginning of the day for the Word and prayer. You may be able to have a longer time later, but give God unhurried time before you begin your regular activities. There can be exceptions, but don’t let most days become exceptions.

    4. Plan to read God’s Word at least as many minutes each day as you read the newspaper or watch a newscast. God’s Word is far more important to you.

    5. Keep alert to note how you can apply the Word to your life. Listen to God as you read.

    6. Read extensively. While it is good to meditate upon precious selected verses, that does not take the place of extensive reading. You need the solid food of the whole Word, not just snacks. You do not get the Spirit’s message through the writer’s emphasis if the portions you read are too short. It is generally best to read several chapters at a time. It is good from time to time to read a whole book at a sitting, especially the New Testament epistles, so that you begin to sense the personality and the main emphases of the writer.

    7. Store God’s Word in your heart either by memorization or by constant reading. Once while ministering in South Africa, I learned that their prime minister purchased a new Bible each December so he would be able to mark a Bible afresh each year as he read it through. He found special blessing in marking and underlining. That year he was marking his thirty-first Bible.

    While you need the light of Scripture in your major decisions and crisis moments, it also can play an important role in all your daily living. What does the Bible have to do with ordinary, daily decisions regarding family plans, interrelations with family or friends, problems at work, how you use your money and yet have money to give God His share? How does the Bible help in questions relating to your diet, your health your phone calls, and your correspondence? Will your Bible habits make guidance more real and practical in details such as these? Most certainly. The more you saturate your mind with God’s Word, the more it will come to your memory and unconsciously influence all your decisions.

    The Bible is living and active, says Hebrews 4:12, penetrating your whole being. "It judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." The Greek word translated "judges" is kritikos, from which come "critic" and "critique." It suggests a sifting, investigating process. This is what the Word does. It searches to discover your motives and shines God’s light on your thinking and attitudes. Thus it powerfully influences your actions and decisions.

Cautions Toward the Use of Scripture in Guidance

    1. Beware of fanciful interpretations of Scripture. The plain meaning of Scripture, as understood by the average reader and in harmony with careful study of the Hebrew or Greek words involved, or as explained by good commentaries and as generally understood by church scholars, is what you must depend on.

    But don’t worry! You don’t need to be a Bible scholar to be led by God’s Word. The Bible is simple enough that the ordinary Christian can receive clear guidance through regular reading and meditation. Perhaps some would identify with Mark Twain when he humorously said, "It’s not the parts of the Bible I don’t understand that bother me, it’s the parts I do understand."

    2. Beware of understanding a verse in isolation and not in its full context. See the verses before and after. First understand a verse as the writer intended. Then you can make application to your current situation. General truths or general promises are easily applied to current situations. Be more cautious in applying verses originally given in highly specific situations. Occasionally God may bring to your memory a phrase from the middle of a section and you suddenly see how it sheds light on your decision; but use Scripture that way only with caution.

    3. Beware of instant, hurried use of Scripture that is not based on daily reading of the Word of God. It is when the whole of Scripture is hidden in your heart from constant daily reading that its light shines brightest in your life. There are no shortcuts to guidance if you have been neglecting God’s Word.

    4. Beware of magical use of Scripture. You have heard of people who close their eyes, open the Bible at random, place their finger on a verse, and then look to see what God has to say to them! On very rare occasions God, in His mercy, may help a person in such a way! But to expect God to guide you regularly in such a way is not honoring to Him. Any neglect of God’s Word in your daily life is dishonoring God by saying, in effect, "I am too busy to have time for what you have to say to me, God. I can’t be expected to take my busy time and read the book You have inspired for me. Other things are more important in my life than Your Word."

    I have found that most of the time when the Spirit uses Scripture to guide me, He does it in one of two ways: (1) either He reminds me of some Scripture verse, passage, or illustration, or (2) as I continue reading in the place where I have arrived in my regular, consecutive reading, I discover just what I need.

    True, I may feel led to take a longer time alone with the Lord and thus may read many more chapters than I would otherwise read. Or I may be led to read a particular book of the Bible through at one sitting, or a major portion of a book, and then find what I need as I read. But God’s Word to me is usually found right where I am reading at the time.

    – Taken from the book Let God Guide You by Wesley L. Duewel. Reprinted by permission of the Duewel Literature Trust, Inc., Greenwood, Indiana. The book may be purchased from the Duewel Literature Trust, Inc.