The Bible-Written by Divine Inspiration
Have you ever wondered how the Bible came about? Second Timothy 3:16 says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (KJV). Similar to how a pianist is inspired to compose music or an artist is inspired to paint a beautiful picture, those who wrote the books of the Bible were inspired by God to write them. God knew how important it would be to record the history of His people, because He knew that the true accounts of these men and women would be important for His people of future generations to read about.
And of course the many recorded promises of God to His children and the miracles that God performed throughout Bible times inspire and strengthen our faith in a very alive God who continues to perform miracles, both big and small, in the lives of His people today!
The Bible is full of direction and counsel on how to follow God’s plan for our lives today.
There are many prophecies within the Bible that have been fulfilled and many more yet to be fulfilled, which help us to know how we can be prepared for the future.
How We Got the Bible
The Bible has been translated into more languages than any other book in the world; however, those early translations did not come without great sacrifice! Many men risked and gave their lives for the noble cause of translating the Bible.
English Bible History
Below are some interesting facts regarding the origin of the English Bible.
Listen: John Wycliffe
The first hand-written English language Bible manuscripts were produced in the 1380s AD by John Wycliffe, an Oxford professor, scholar, and theologian. Wycliffe was well known throughout Europe for his opposition to the teaching of the [Catholic church], which he believed to be contrary to the Bible. With the help of many others, Wycliffe produced dozens of manuscript copies of the scriptures [in English].
Listen: John Hus
One of Wycliffe’s followers, John Hus, actively promoted Wycliffe’s idea that people should be permitted to read the Bible in their own language. … Hus was burned at the stake in 1415, with Wycliffe’s manuscript Bibles used as kindling for the fire. The last words of John Hus were that, “In 100 years, God will raise up a man whose calls for reform cannot be suppressed.”
Almost exactly 100 years later, in 1517, Martin Luther nailed his famous 95 Theses of Contention (a list of 95 issues of [disputed] theology and [clerical abuses] of the Roman Catholic Church) onto the church door at Wittenberg.
Listen: John Colet
In 1496, John Colet, another Oxford professor and the son of the Mayor of London, started reading the New Testament in Greek and translating it into English for his students at Oxford, and later for the public at Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London. The people were so hungry to hear the Word of God in a language they could understand, that within six months there were 20,000 people packed in the church and at least that many outside trying to get in!
Fortunately for Colet, he was a powerful man with friends in high places, so he amazingly managed to avoid execution.
Listen: Martin Luther
Martin Luther … translated the New Testament into German for the first time from the 1516 Greek-Latin New Testament of Erasmus, and published it in September of 1522. In the 1530s he would go on to publish the entire Bible in German.
Listen: William Tyndale
Tyndale [was] … the first man to ever print the New Testament in English. Tyndale was … [so] fluent in eight languages that it was said … any one of them [could have been] his native tongue.
William Tyndale wanted to print the New Testament in English for the first time in history. Tyndale had been forced to flee England because of the widespread rumor that his English New Testament project was underway, causing inquisitors and bounty hunters to be constantly on Tyndale's trail to arrest him and prevent his project. God foiled their plans, and in 1525–1526 the Tyndale New Testament became the first printed edition of the scripture in the English language.
They were burned as soon as [the authorities could confiscate them], but copies trickled through and actually ended up in the bedroom of King Henry VIII. The more the king and bishop resisted its distribution, the more fascinated the public at large became. The church declared it contained thousands of errors as they torched hundreds of New Testaments confiscated by the clergy. One risked death by burning if caught in mere possession of Tyndale's forbidden books.
In the end, Tyndale was caught, betrayed by an Englishman that he had befriended. Tyndale was incarcerated for 500 days before … he was burned at the stake in 1536. Tyndale’s last words were, "Oh Lord, open the King of England’s eyes."
This prayer would be answered just three years later … when King Henry VIII finally allowed, and even funded, the printing of an English Bible.
How the Bible Is Organized
There are 66 books in the Bible. God used about 40 men to write the different books of the Bible. Here is a list of those who contributed to the writing of the Bible.
In the Old Testament:
Moses is credited as the author of the first five books of the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, which are called the Pentateuch. These books cover the period from creation to Moses’ own death at the end of Deuteronomy. It's probable that another author completed Deuteronomy.
The books of Joshua, Judges, and Ruth are historical documents written before or during the reign of King David, presumably by priestly historians.
The Psalms were written by King David, Moses, Solomon, the sons of Korah, Asaph, and Ethan the Ezrahite. There are also some Psalms that were written anonymously.
Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon, were written by King Solomon, though chapters 30 and 31 of Proverbs were written by Agur and Lemuel. Some say these were pseudonyms for Solomon. Also, he apparently compiled Proverbs and may not have written all of them.
Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi were the prophets who penned the books with their names.
The writers of Samuel, Kings, Esther, and Job are unnamed.
Jeremiah wrote both Jeremiah and Lamentations.
Ezra wrote Ezra, and possibly Chronicles.
Nehemiah wrote Nehemiah.
In the New Testament:
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John wrote their gospels, and Luke also wrote the book of Acts.
Paul wrote the “Pauline Letters,” which are Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1st Thessalonians, 2nd Thessalonians, 1st Timothy, 2nd Timothy, Titus, and Philemon. Hebrews has been ascribed to the apostle Paul but is generally considered to have been written anonymously.
The apostle Peter wrote 1st and 2nd Peter.
The apostle John wrote 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John and also Revelation.
The book of James has been credited to James,the brother of Jesus.
The book of Jude was written by Jude
That is a grand total of 40 people that we know of who were anointed by God to author the books that make up the Bible.
Why Read It?
Have you ever wondered why it’s so important for Christians to read the Bible and to have an understanding of God’s Word? What does the Word of God actually do for you? There are many compelling reasons for reading God’s Word. Here are some of them:
1) It guides and directs
Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.
The Word is like a high-powered flashlight to help us see the path of God’s will more clearly so we can make the right life choices and know in which direction we should walk.
The Word tunes us in to God and helps us to go in the right direction.
Listen: Trustworthy Torch
A minister went far into a backwoods settlement to hold a meeting and it was necessary that he return late in the very dark night. A woodsman provided him with a torch of pitch-pine wood. The minister, never having seen anything of the kind, said, "It will soon burn out."
"It will light you home," answered the other.
"The wind may blow it out," said the preacher.
"It will light you home," was again the answer.
"But what if it should rain?"
"It will light you home," was the answer a third time. And, contrary to the minister's fears, the torch did last him all the way home. The Word of God is a torch given into the hands of each of us. What if it rains? What if the wind blows? If you will hold the torch high, it will light you home.
People throughout history have turned to the Bible as their “guidebook.” The Bible has been the foundation of faith for many generations. It has been embraced by the peasant and the king, the educated and the poor, and has stood the test of time. Here are some interesting comments from famous people about what the Bible meant to them:
Sir Isaac Newton, English scientist who formulated the laws of gravitation and motion, 1642-1727:
Newton's achievements in science are very well known, but it is not so well known that he spent more time studying the Bible than studying the stars.
“There are more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history. All my discoveries have been made in answer to prayer. I can take my telescope and look millions of miles into space; but I can go away to my room and in prayer get nearer to God and Heaven than I can when assisted by all the telescopes of earth.”
Mother Teresa, Albanian founder of the Missionaries of Charity, respected worldwide for her sacrificial work among the poor, 1910-1997:
“You will be surprised to know that in the poorest neighborhoods in many of the cities where we live and work, when we get close to the people who live in shacks, the first thing they ask for is not bread or clothes, even though often they are dying of hunger and are naked. They ask us to teach them the Word of God. People are hungry for God. They long to hear His Word.”
Immanuel Kant, German philosopher, 1724-1804:
“The existence of the Bible as a book for the people is the greatest benefit which the human race has ever experienced. Every attempt to belittle it is a crime against humanity.”
Patrick Henry, a prominent figure in the American Revolution, 1736-1799:
“The Bible is worth all other books which have ever been printed.”
Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of the United States, 1809-1865:
“I am profitably engaged in reading the Bible. Take all of this Book that you can by reason and the balance by faith, and you will live and die a better man. It is the best Book which God has given to man.”
Charles Dickens, English novelist, 1812-1870:
“The New Testament is the very best book that ever was or ever will be known in the world.”
Soren Kierkegaard, Danish philosopher, theologian, and psychologist, 1813-1855:
“When you read God's Word, you must constantly be saying to yourself, 'It is talking to me, and about me.'"
Alfred Lord Tennyson, Poet Laureate of the UK, 1809-1892:
“Bible reading is an education in itself.”
James McCosh, 1811-1894, prominent philosopher. He was president of Princeton University 1868-1888:
“The book to read is not the one which thinks for you, but the one which makes you think. No book in the world equals the Bible for that.”
Billy Graham, American evangelist, 1918-
“The word of God hidden in the heart is a stubborn voice to suppress.”
George Washington, first president of the United States, 1732-1799:
“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”
John Quincy Adams, sixth president of the United States, 1767-1848:
“So great is my veneration for the Bible that the earlier my children begin to read it the more confident will be my hope that they will prove useful citizens of their country and respectable members of society. I have for many years made it a practice to read through the Bible once every year.”
Daniel Webster, American statesman, 1782-1852:
“If there is anything in my thoughts or style to commend, the credit is due to my parents for instilling in me an early love of the Scriptures.”
John Ruskin, English art critic and social thinker, 1819-1900:
“Whatever merit there is in anything that I have written is simply due to the fact that when I was a child my mother daily read me a part of the Bible and daily made me learn a part of it by heart.”
Horace Greeley, American newspaper editor, a founder of the Liberal Republican Party, reformer and politician, 1811-1872:
“It is impossible to enslave mentally or socially a Bible-reading people. The principles of the Bible are the groundwork of human freedom.”
Josh McDowell, Christian author, 1939-
“After I set out to refute Christianity intellectually and couldn't, I came to the conclusion the Bible was true and Jesus Christ was God's Son.”
Amy Grant, American singer-songwriter, musician, author, media personality and occasional actress, 1960-
“I was taught a lot of Bible at home and had a voracious appetite for reading the Bible.”
Kirk Cameron, American actor, 1970-
“Put your nose into the Bible every day. It is your spiritual food. And then share it.”
Cameron Diaz, American actress, 1972-
“Script for an actor is like a Bible. You carry it with you, you read it over and over, you go to your passages.”
Helen Keller, American author, political activist, and lecturer, 1880-1968:
“Unless we form the habit of going to the Bible in bright moments as well as in trouble, we cannot fully respond to its consolations because we lack equilibrium between light and darkness.”
Barry White, American record producer and singer-songwriter, 1944-2003: “When I commit, I commit with my whole heart, my whole being. I know the Bible like the back of my hand.”
2) It cleanses
Another good reason is the cleansing of mind and spirit we experience when we read it. Jesus said in John 15:3, “Now you are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you” (KJV). But how is it that the Word cleans you?
Here’s an interesting analogy by Charles R. Swindoll:
When our four children were young, we often spent our vacation weeks each summer camping together. We owned one of those tent campers on wheels, which we pulled behind our car to various campsites. One of our favorite spots was located in a wooded state park. A river ran through it. Its cool, clear water gave us a place to swim and ride the rapids on old truck-tire inner tubes. A large, natural rock formation rose out of the water on the other side. We'd take turns jumping off those huge boulders into the cold, deep water.—Talk about fun!
Our kids are all grown now, but those memories of camping together remain vivid in all our minds. The river water served another very practical purpose: by swimming each day, we didn't have to take a shower. I smile when I remember taking a bar of soap with us, as we'd walk down to the river. By the time we'd spent a couple hours in the water, we'd be squeaky clean. It always felt so good when we'd crawl into our sleeping bags in the camper after a long afternoon in the river.
One of the many benefits of water is its cleansing ability—not only on our bodies but in them as well. We read of this in Paul's first-century letter to his friends in Ephesus. In Ephesians 5:25–26, he reminded them of how deeply Christ is committed to the church, the body of believers: "Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word."
Just as clear, fresh water cleanses our bodies, God's written Word washes us clean deep down inside our souls. It purifies our thoughts, scrubs our motives, and cleans our conscience as we absorb it and obey its truths.
3) It inspires faith
Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
The more you read the Word, the more your faith in God will grow. The Word is spiritual food for your spirit, and the more you absorb it into your being, the stronger and healthier you’ll be spiritually.
Here’s a quote by Martin Luther about faith: “Faith is not an achievement; it is a gift. Yet it comes only through the hearing and study of the Word.”
4) It fills us with joy
Jeremiah 15:16 Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart.
If you’re feeling a bit down or lacking in joy, reading the Word can help to give you a boost!
5) It instills peace
Psalm 119:165 Great peace have those who love Your law (the Word), and nothing causes them to stumble.
When your mind is focused on the Word, you’ll have more peace, even in the midst of difficulties or challenges.
6) It gives understanding
Psalm 119:130 The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.
When you read the Word, it brings understanding. If you’re feeling confused or you feel like you just don’t know what to do, the Word will bring clarity of mind.
7) It transforms lives
It was in a meeting where they were giving personal testimony. One man arose, holding a New Testament in his hand. "My story," said he, "is unlike other men. I was a pickpocket, and one day I saw a man with a definite bulge in his hip pocket. 'A fat purse,' thought I, and soon it was in my pocket. But when I arrived home, behold, it was a Book. In disgust I threw it aside, but afterward, out of curiosity, I opened it and began to read. Before many days had passed I discovered Christ as my Savior and Lord."
Listening to this testimony, one of the volunteers of the Bible Society became interested. After the service he asked to see the New Testament. It was the one he had carried with him for years, the one he had considered lost. Is not this evidence of the power of the Word to change and to transform man's life?
As you can see, the Word is so valuable, and yet it can be all too easy at times to get familiar with it and to fail to realize the value of what we have access to.
There was once a story of a very ignorant Scottish woman who had lived most of her life way back in the hill country of Scotland, and who was so poor she was unable to pay her rent, and so had to depend upon her church to take care of it for her.
One day when her pastor, a very kindhearted man, brought the rent to her, he said, "Mrs. McKintrick, you will pardon me if I speak very plainly to you about something: Your friends who are helping you with the rent cannot understand why it is that your son does not support you. I understand that he has a very good position in Australia, and that he is a good boy and loves you dearly. Is this not the case?"
"Oh yes," said the mother, "and he never forgets me, for every week he writes me the most loving letter; I would like for you to see one of his letters."
Curious to know more of such a son, who could so love a mother and yet leave her without support, the pastor instantly signified that he would be glad to hear some of the letters. Soon the woman returned with two packages, one of which she put in the pastor's hands and said, "These are his letters." The pastor was untying the faded string about them when she said, "With every letter he always sends me a pretty picture. They aren't very big, and just fit nicely in the letter, but it shows he thinks about me."
The pastor lifted his head, interested at once. A picture in every letter? He was more curious than ever! "May I see them also?"
"Oh, surely," she answered. "Some are of a man's head, some of a man sitting on a horse, and a number of them have the king's picture on them. See, this one here is the king of England—long live the king!"
"Long live your son!" said the astonished pastor. "My dear friend, do you know that you are a rich woman? These are banknotes; this is money. You have wealth here; and to think of how you have suffered and done without, when right here in the house all the time you had riches and thought they were just pretty pictures!"
Christians have access to an incredible amount of spiritual wealth through the Word of God, and yet it’s sad to think of the times we live in spiritual poverty because we don’t see the Word of God for what it’s really worth.
Dwight L. Moody said, “I never saw a useful Christian who was not a student of the Bible. If a person neglects the Bible, there is not much for the Holy Spirit to work with. We must have the Word.”
The secret to a good, meaningful, purposeful life is reading and living the Word of God.
Listen: A Perfect Prescription
A Perfect Prescription
A woman of nervous temperament visited the world-renowned physician, Dr. Howard A. Kelly. The cares of life threatened her physical strength and even her reason. Having given her symptoms to the physician, she was greatly astonished at his prescription:
"Madam, what you need is to read the Bible more!"
"But, Doctor—" began the bewildered woman.
"Go home and read your Bible an hour a day," the great man reiterated with kindly authority, "then come back to me a month from today."
At first, the woman was inclined to be angry. But she reflected with a pang of conscience that she had neglected the daily reading of God's Word, and "the secret place of the most High," where formerly she communed with her Lord. In coming back to her God, and His Word, the joys of her salvation returned.When she presented herself to the doctor a month later, he said, "Well, I see you have been an obedient patient. Do you feel as if you need any other medicine now?"
"No, Doctor, I feel like a different person. But how did you know what I needed?"
Taking up his own worn and well-marked Bible, he said, "If I would omit my daily reading of God's Word, I would not only lose my joy, but I would lose my greatest source of strength and skill. ... Your case called not for medicine, but for a source of peace and strength outside your own mind. My prescription, when tried, works wonders!"
Now, not only do you need the Word personally so that you can obtain the blessings and promises it offers, to more fully experience the rich blessings of the Christian life, it’s also important for you to share God’s Word with others. When you’re witnessing you may find people who question whether the Bible is really the truth. They might say it was written by men, and men make mistakes, so how can you know it’s accurate. They may tell you that the Bible is old and doesn’t apply to today’s world and lifestyle. Well, there are many ways to answer that question, and you could spend your whole life studying the proofs that the Bible is right on, but the best answer is also the simplest: “How do I know the Bible is true? Simple: it works.” And the only way that you’ll be able to use that answer truthfully is if you have actually tried it in your own life and found that to be true. Then, when you share the Word, you will be speaking from experience, which is always more convincing.
When we memorize the Word, it becomes a part of our very nature and influences our lives in a big way. It builds our faith when Bible verses we’ve memorized come to mind and give us direction and encouragement when we need it.
When the Devil fights our faith in an attempt to get us to doubt God's love for us and His presence in our lives, having the Word in our heart will help us to be able to recognize which voices are from God and which voices are from the Devil.
King David said:
Psalm 119:11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You!
Having the Word in our hearts also helps us to stay closer to Jesus and to make the right choices.
Often He will bring portions of the Word to mind which will give us answers to questions or solutions to a problem. The Lord can use what we have stored in our hearts to give us the guidance we need.
When your mind is full of the Word, it makes it so much harder for the Devil to get into your mind and make you feel negative and depressed about your life.
The following is an interesting explanation by M. S. Lowndes about the spiritual armor that we should wear daily:
What are we fighting against? What do we need for protection?
We are fighting the Devil—Satan. We are not fighting people, but the powers of darkness in this world—Satan and his helpers. The protection we need is the armor of God.
What is the armor of God, and how can we clothe ourselves in it? Let’s look at each piece.
Belt of Truth—Standing firm in truth. Living our lives by the truth of God’s Word.
Breastplate of Righteousness—Walking uprightly before God. Aligning our lives to His standards.
Shod Feet—Standing with firm-footed stability, being ready.
Shield of Faith—Standing firm in our faith. This will squash all the fiery darts Satan sends.
Helmet of Salvation—Protection for our minds. Satan attacks us here more than anywhere. We need to be sure of our salvation and not waver or doubt.
All of these pieces are for protecting us—and need to be put on daily.
There is still one other piece we need to be armed with. This piece is not for protecting us, but for fighting with.
The sword of the Spirit—which is the Word of God.
We cannot fight the enemy if we don’t know the Word of God. It is vital for how effective we are when we use the sword, and how effective the rest of the armor is that protects us. No soldier goes to war with faulty weapons, or with faulty protection. Neither should we. The key here is to learn God’s Word. Hide it in your heart. Then you can put on God’s armor and be able to stand firm.
Apart from reading the Word, there is something else that we must do, which is very important. Once you read the Word, you then have to obey it. It’s like a contract between you and God: you do your part and obey the Word, and He does His part to give you all the advantages that the Word promises.
This is why the apostle James said, “But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only” (James 1:22). James goes on to say that if anyone is only a listener of the Word but not a doer, he is like someone who observes his natural face in the mirror. He may observe the kind of person he is (because of studying God’s Word)—patient, kind, respectful, giving, etc.—but when he walks away from that mirror, he forgets that he is that person. But if he instead looks into the mirror of the Word and reflects the Word, he will be blessed in all that he does (James 1:23-25).
But even way before James, God was telling His people to obey His Word. Check out what God told Joshua when he took over the leadership of Israel, after the death of Moses:
Joshua 1:8 This Book of the Law (this was the Word of God for His people in that day) shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
God was telling Joshua that he and the children of Israel need to remind themselves often of what the Word says and to do what is written in His Word, because that will make them well off and successful. The same goes for us as Christians in this day and age. We must do more than just hear the Word; we’ve got to follow through.
Luke 6:46-49 But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say? Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like:
He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock.
But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.
Which house would you prefer to have?
Here is an explanation from a famous preacher, Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892), about what it means to study the Word.
Listen: Search The Scriptures
“Search the Scriptures.” John 5:39
The Greek word search signifies a strict, close, diligent, curious search, such as men make when they are seeking gold, or hunters when they are in earnest after game (a hunt). We must not rest content with having given a superficial reading to a chapter or two, but with the candle of the Spirit we must deliberately seek out the hidden meaning of the Word. Holy Scripture requires searching—much of it can only be learned by careful study. There is milk for babes, but also meat for strong men). No man who merely skims the book of God can profit thereby; we must dig and mine until we obtain the hid treasure.
The door of the Word only opens to the key of diligence. The Scriptures claim searching. They are the writings of God. He who despises them despises the God who wrote them. The Word of God will repay searching. God does not bid us sift a mountain of chaff with here and there a grain of wheat in it, but the Bible is winnowed corn—we have but to open the granary door and find it.
Scripture grows upon the student. It is full of surprises. Under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, to the searching eye it glows with splendor of revelation, like a vast temple paved with gold, and roofed with rubies, emeralds, and all manner of gems. Lastly, the Scriptures reveal Jesus: “They are they which testify of Me.” No more powerful motive can be urged upon Bible readers than this: He who finds Jesus finds life, heaven, all things. Happy is he who, searching his Bible, discovers his Savior.
What is the difference between just reading the Bible and studying it? When you study something, you show you want to know more about it and learn all you can from it. When we study the Word we show that we’re hungry for it, we want to understand it, and we want to apply it to our life. That pleases God.
Have you ever wondered why people read the Word of God over and over again even when they are already familiar with what it says? Why is reading the Word of God different than reading any other book?
Listen: Love Letters
A young lady was asked by her friend, “Could you explain what devotional reading of the Bible means?”
“Yes of course. Yesterday morning I received a letter from my fiancé, who I am deeply in love with. Well, I have read that letter five times, not because I did not understand it the first time I read it, nor because I wanted to impress the author by frequently reading his message. It wasn’t about duty; I simply did it out of pleasure. I read it because I am crazy about the one who wrote it.
"To read the Bible with the same attitude and desire is to read it devotionally, and to the person who reads it in that spirit it really is a love letter."
Let’s talk about some of the things that happen in the spirit and in your mind when you take time to study and read the Word. First, watch this:
The wayside: The sides of a path are usually hard and packed earth. So this is symbolizing someone whose heart is a bit dense. Before the seed is able to sink in to their heart, the Devil comes along and snatches it away—before they even understand it, before they can receive it, before they even get saved.
The stony ground: This symbolizes those who initially hear and receive the Word with joy, but it doesn’t take root in their heart and life, so it easily withers away. It’s easy to become “stony ground” every so often. This is when you read something and it inspires you on the spot, but then something happens. It could be anything, ranging from a small change in your routine to a huge upset in your life, and then you plain forget all about what you read. It’s in one ear and out the other before it has a chance to take root in your heart and shape your thinking and your actions.
The thorny, weedy ground: This symbolizes those who read the Word, understand it, and start trying to live it in their life, but then get so easily distracted with the happenings or problems of daily life that it crowds the Word out of their hearts and actions. If the Devil can’t get you to forget what you’ve learned, he’ll try to make sure that you don’t use it.
For example, you read about the importance of giving to others, and you think of a few things that you can do that day that will be unselfish—like helping your mom tidy the house when you return from school. But then your friend texts a message to you and you feel the need to reply right then. Before you know it, your reply has turned into a full-fledged conversation, and now you’re late for your homework and no longer have time to help your mom tidy up the house. Perhaps you decide that you’ll help the next day, but the next day comes and you feel tired and you want to have some time for yourself. You end up going to bed without having a chance to apply the Word that you’ve read. Pretty soon, you get frustrated reading about things that you have a hard time actually doing, and you lose interest in the Word. That’s what the thorny ground is like.
The bottom line is that there will always be something that can be used to separate us from the Word unless we keep it in first place and remember how important it is.
If you remember this and you keep the Word in the right place in your life, then you will see the fruit of the last kind of ground—the good ground. “But on the good ground are [those], which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience” (Luke 8:15 KJV).