III. Read and study the word not to get a mass of knowledge in the head, but a flame of love in the heart. “Knowledge puffeth up” (1 Corinthians 8:1), but love buildeth up. Read it to find fuel for affection, food for reflection, direction for judgment, guidance for conscience.
Read it not that you may know, but that you may do.
IV. Follow carefully the line of thought from verse to verse and chapter to chapter. Often the first part of one chapter belongs to the last part of the preceding chapter. For instance, in the last verse of the fourth chapter of Ephesians, we read, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you,” and in the first verse of the fifth chapter we read, “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children.”
Those two verses belong together. We are to follow God in what? Why, in the spirit of kindness and tender-heartedness and forgiveness.
Again, in John 7:53 , we read, “And every man went unto his own house,” and in 8:1, “Jesus went unto the Mount of Olives .”
These two verses belong together. Jesus had no house. Bless Him! So when they went each to his own house for the night, Jesus went to the cold, dark mount!
[Donna note: I am pretty sure that there were many who would have rejoiced to share their home with the Savior, but the point that stuck out to me was that when others went to rest in comfort, he continued in prayer and sought deeper communion.]
Finally, do not be discouraged if progress in the knowledge of the word seems slow as first. It is like learning to play an instrument or master a trade; for the first few days or weeks it appears impossible, but it is not so. Some glad day a brain-cell will expand or a veil drop from your face and scales from your eyes and you will find yourself doing the impossible with ease.
So it will be in acquainting yourself with the word of God. Keep at it, keep at it, keep at it! Cry to God with David, “Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law” (Psalm 119:18).
Pray for an understanding heart. You will only love and understand the word as Jesus reveals it to you. So walk with Him, take up your cross and follow Him through evil as well as good report.
After His resurrection, He came to His trembling, heart-broken, disappointed disciples, and Luke tells us that “beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27), and later Luke says, “Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45).
There are things in the Bible hard to be understood, and we may not know them till we stand by the crystal sea, but we can learn those things that will make us meek and lowly in heart as was Jesus, watchful, patient, loving, kind, forgiving, and utterly zealous and self-sacrificing for the salvation of men.
Happy shall we be, if; like David, we can say, “thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee” (Psalm 119:11).