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How to Eat a Book
In Revelation 10, John took and ate a scroll from the angel’s hand. It tastes sweet as honey, but left his stomach feeling bitter (representing the fact that the Bible is sweet to believers, but gives us a message of judgment for the world). This is one of several passages comparing the Bible to food, and Bible study to eating.
When God created the physical and spiritual realms, He used the same grid. That’s why we can illustrate spiritual truths by their corresponding physical realities, as Jesus did when He used the story of the sower to illustrate the spreading of the Gospel.
In the physical realm, we need food. God could have made us so we recharged with sunlight like solar panels, or we replenished our strength by plugging into some kind of power supply. But he gave each of us a mouth, a set of teeth, an esophagus, a stomach, and a digestive system. We have supper, chew it up, and swallow it; and it satisfies our mouths and stomachs. Then our digestive system goes to work, and this satisfying meal is broken down to its smallest parts, transferred through our bloodstream, and carried to every last place in our bodies.
This is why nutrition is so important. Our bodies temple of the Holy Spirit, and we are what we eat. You’ll never be any healthier than your diet.
The same is true mentally and spiritually. What do most people devour today? Entertainment and a constant diet of pure secularism. But Jesus said, “May shall not live by break alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” To trace this through the Bible, see:
- Ezekiel 2:9 – 3:15 (notice the resemblance to Revelation 10)
- Job 23:1
- Psalm 19:10
- Psalm 119:103
- Jeremiah 15:16
- Hebrews 5:11-12
- 1 Peter 2:1-2
If you want to study the Bible on a daily basis here is a simple, workable seven-step plan. Here’s how to eat a book.
- Select a book of the Bible to study. Perhaps Philippians, for example.
- Jot. Read every day where you left off the day before, using a pen or pencil. You can either underline and circle and make marginal notes as you read, or you can jot down observations in a small notebook. It’s amazing how a pen helps the mind to focus on the passage being studied.
- Consult. Read the explanatory notes in a good study Bible. Study Bibles have been around since the Geneva Bible of the 1500s. The best study Bible available today is the ESV Study Bible. It’s like a seminary sown up between the covers.
- Cross-Reference. Follow the cross-references in the margins of your study Bible.
- Ponder. Find a key verse from the passage and ponder it. This is what the Bible calls meditation.
- Pray. Turn the passage or verse into a prayer for yourself and others. Try this and you’ll find it an indispensible part of your daily study time.
- Align. Look for practical ways to bring your life into alignment with the passage.