When I first started walking with Jesus, I remember being so mesmerized by women who could reference Scripture without a Bible. Searching for understanding, I surrounded myself with those who knew God's Word deeply and let it pour out of their lives. I craved that same kind of biblical knowledge. So, I began asking those women how they came to know God's Word in such a way. The consensus among those women and many like them was this: Knowing God's Word takes years of reading it, hearing it, talking about it, and living it.
To know God's Word, we have to read it. This may seem a bit obvious, but how often are we curious about God or question what He desires of us without every opening our Bibles? We must give ourselves to it daily–to the reading and studying of God's Word. With anything, the more we read about it, the more we understand. Psalm 119:130 says, "The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple" (ESV). Our help in understanding life and godliness is found in Scripture.
In addition to reading the Bible for ourselves, we need to hear it from others. This can happen in a number of settings. We hear God's Word on Sunday mornings being preached from the pulpit. Maybe we are in small groups or bible studies where God's Word is regularly discussed. You might even be in a discipling relationship in which you are encouraged and challenged by sharing God's Word with one another.
Hearing God's Word from others gives another perspective. It adds a layer of truth to the foundation we've established in reading it. It becomes a shared understanding and an affirmation of what we're reading and learning. Walking with Jesus is not something God intended for us to do alone. Romans 10:17 says, "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ." Likely, the first time we ever heard the gospel was when someone shared it with us or because we listened to God's Word, and it penetrated our hearts in Spirit-led understanding. Our faith, spurred on by knowledge and understanding, is encouraged through hearing the Word of God.
Whenever we are learning and growing in knowledge of something, we will often speak about it. When my husband and I were first married, I was learning so much about him! I felt I made him a point of daily conversation with others because I was so intrigued and fascinated by all the ways I was getting to know Him more. This is true of people, and this is also true of God's Word. The more we learn from God's Word and the more we come to know about God, the more we will talk about Him and His purposes!
Reading the Bible and hearing God's Word from others plants truth deep in our hearts. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34). What takes root in our hearts comes out of our mouths. Rooting ourselves in the knowledge and understanding of God eventually becomes the way in which we speak, counsel, or encourage others in understanding Him. The truth that changes us becomes the truth we want to share with others.
We know that God's Word has saturated our lives when it overflows into our actions. In knowing God, His truth implants in our hearts and bears fruit in our lives. We can have confidence in what God's Word produces because it does not return void when it goes forth, and it accomplishes all that God intended for it to accomplish (Isaiah 55:11). Our lives reflect how much we truly know of God and understand Him in His Word. Our words reveal what we believe about Him, and our actions show what we understand about Him. There is simple evidence in what I shared previously of the women who knew their Bibles so well. I noticed a difference in them, and I was drawn to the way they lived.
Consider your own pursuit of knowing God's Word. How often do you read it? In what ways do you position yourself to hear it? Do you find yourself referencing it or speaking about it often? What evidence do you or others see in your own life of living it out? Years will come and go, and we will never outgrow the need for God's Word. Its depth and understanding will only expand over the years. As we gauge our understanding, may we continually pray for God's Word to saturate our lives from the inside and out.