Pray-Reading the Wordby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
When a baby is born, his most immediate need is to take some milk for nourishment. Without nourishment the new babe will not only fail to grow properly, but will soon become very weak and eventually even die. After we are saved and born again, our most immediate need also is that we learn how to take in the Lord as our spiritual milk and nourishment. Without this spiritual nourishment, we also have no way to grow properly and will in a short time be spiritually dead.
In the Gospels, the Lord Jesus presents Himself as a feast for us to drink and eat. He says in John 4 that He is the living water for us to drink. In the sixth chapter of the same book, He says that He is the bread of life to be eaten. Then the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 12 that we “were all given to drink one Spirit.” We drink Him, we eat Him, and thereby enjoy Him and receive Him as our spiritual nourishment. We have to praise the Lord that Jesus Christ has presented Himself to us as a feast to meet all our need and to be all our supply. We all know that His name is the great I AM, which means I AM whatever My people need.
In 1 Peter 2:2-3 we have a most important passage. “As newborn babes, long for the guileless milk of the word in order that by it you may grow unto salvation, if you have tasted that the Lord is good.” These verses are important to us because they tell us clearly how to taste the Lord: drink “the guileless [pure] milk of the Word.” If we would taste Christ, we must take into us the milk of the word. Then we will be nourished for spiritual growth. Praise the Lord, the Bible says tasted! It does not say that we know this aspect or that aspect about the Lord, but that we taste the Lord. When we drink the milk of the Word, we are actually tasting the Lord. Therefore, the way for us to taste the Lord is simply by drinking the milk of the Word. The Word is not only for us to study or learn, but even more for us to taste. The way the Lord nourishes His Body is by His Word. If we desire to enjoy the Lord and be nourished by the Lord, we must come to the Word to taste the Lord.
However, the concept which most of us have of the Bible is that it is a kind of teaching, a book full of doctrines. Thus, we come to the Word with the intention of understanding and knowing something. In all of our Christian life, how much of the Word have we taken in as food to our spirit? We must answer honestly that most of us have taken in very little. We must not come to the Bible only to learn and to understand. The Bible is not the tree of knowledge; it is the tree of life! If we take the Word of God as the tree of knowledge, we misuse the Bible, because 2 Corinthians 3:6 tells us that the letter kills. We must never take the Bible as a book of letters, but as a book of life.
All Christians know that the function of the Word of God is to reveal God to us. Although this is true, this is not its main function. The main function of the Bible is to impart God into us as life and as the nourishment of life. It is not only to give us knowledge about God and His love, but to impart God Himself into us. Whenever we read the Bible, we should not merely try to know or understand it, but take something of God’s essence into us just as we take our food. Then, like food, this substance will be assimilated into our very being.
First Timothy 4:6 says that we are “nourished with the words of the faith.” No doubt we have read this verse many times, but have we noticed the word “nourished”? Praise the Lord! The concept of the apostle Paul was that God’s Word is food to nourish God’s children. We too must have the same realization regarding the Word of God. We should not consider it only as knowledge, but as food to nourish and supply us all the time.
First Timothy 1:10 speaks of things that are “opposed to the healthy teaching.” The King James Version uses the word “sound” instead of “healthy.” God’s Word is not just sound doctrine for the mind, but healthy doctrine for life. This word “healthy” in Greek is equivalent to the English word “hygiene.” Hygiene is very much related to health. We must have more than a sound word; we must have a healthy word which nourishes and supplies us.
The Scriptures contain at least three examples of those who ate the Word of God. The first is Jeremiah, who said, “Your words were found and I ate them...” (Jer. 15:16a). To eat something is not merely to receive it, but to assimilate it. To assimilate is to receive something into you, digest it, and make it a part of yourself. The second example of someone eating the Word of God is recorded in the book of Ezekiel, where the prophet Ezekiel ate the Word of God (3:1-3). Then in Revelation 10 we read that the apostle John also ate the Word of God.
Jeremiah said, “Your word became to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart” (Jer. 15:16b). This is a kind of enjoyment. The Word, after being eaten, became a joy and also a rejoicing. God’s Word is an enjoyment; after it is taken into us and assimilated into our very being, it becomes joy within us and rejoicing without. David said, “How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth” (Psa. 119:103). The Word is indeed an enjoyment; it is even sweeter and more pleasant than honey to our taste.
From these verses we realize that the Word of God is not only for us to learn, but even more for us to taste, to eat, to enjoy, and to digest. The Lord Jesus even speaks of God’s Word as spiritual food: “It is written, Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out through the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). Every word which proceeds out of the mouth of God is spiritual food to nourish us. This is the food by which we must live.
What is the substance, the essence, of God’s Word? The answer is found in 2 Timothy 3:16: “All Scripture is God-breathed....” The King James Version says “given by inspiration ”of God, but the meaning in the original language is God-breathed. All Scripture is God’s breath. We know that God is Spirit (John 4:24); the Spirit is God’s essence and nature. God is Spirit (just as a table is wood). Since the Word is the breath of God, and God is Spirit, whatever is breathed out of God must be Spirit! So the essence of nature of the Word of God is Spirit. It is not just a thought, revelation, teaching, or doctrine, but Spirit. The Spirit is the very substance of the Word of God. Now we see why the Lord Jesus told us that the words which He spoke are spirit and life (John 6:63). A revelation, thought, or teaching could never be life, but because the Word is Spirit, it is life. The nature of this book is the very essence of God Himself. Whenever we deal with this book, we must realize that we are touching God and dealing with Him!
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