Do you stress over reading your Bible? Maybe you always feel behind in your reading plan? Or do you read and still feel dry and distant from God? Me too sometimes. We are learning that to overcome our fear and learn to be still in God we must abide in Christ. How do we abide in the Word of God if it doesn’t start with massive amounts of Bible study?
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (John 15:1-11 NASB)
What Does It Mean To Abide in the Word of God?
Abide in the Word. That sounds super Spiritual like we are talking to a preacher. What does it really mean to abide in the Word? In fact, as I think of his questions it leads to more questions:
- What does it mean to abide in God’s presence?
- What does it mean to abide in God’s love?
- How does the Word of God abide in us?
- What does it mean to abide in the Word of God
- In fact, what does abide mean?
- How many times is the Word abide in the Bible?
We will take a look at each question but I will warn you, the answers I found in the Bible are not what you might expect. Today might get a little controversial but I hope you will stick with me.
What Does Abide Mean in the Bible?
We find the Hebrew word for abide in John 15, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you…” (John 15:1-11 NASB)
While searching out the meaning of abide in the Bible, we see the Greek word for abide in the Bible is menō – it is used in our text and it means: remain, dwell, continue, tarry, endure.
How Many Times is the Word Abide in the Bible?
There are more than 100 abide in the Word Scriptures. Seriously, abide is found in the Bible over 100 times. The Apostle John uses the word over 30 times alone which seems appropriate as he was one of the inner circle during Jesus’ earthly life.
How To Abide in Christ
When we search out abide in the Word of God verses, we see the definition talks about time together, a commitment to uphold, and many other things. For our study today we will focus on the part of abide that means dwell- live, spend time with, be present with.
What does it really mean to abide in the Word of God? This has to do with a relationship. Why else read the Bible? I mean, it is a great book, but without the relationship aspect of Christianity, it is just a good read.
As believers, we say that we love God, we love Jesus Christ. Love, real love anyway, drives us to spend time with them the one we love, to long to dwell with them.
Ways To Spend Time With Someone you Love?
Learning how to abide in the Word of God is no different than thinking through ways you spend time with people you love. Think about how you abide with your best friend. How did you connect with your spouse early on in dating? These are the same ways we connect with God in a personal way, abiding with Him.
- You talk to them
- Listen to them
- Spend time together doing things you both love
- Text each other
- Think of each other through the day
- Talk about each other to others
To Listen to God you Must Abide in God’s Word
How do you abide in God’s Word? Read the Bible right? That seems like the church answer… but I don’t think it’s right.
Think about how we study Scripture. We read a passage, but to understand it best, we have to know the intended audience. John 15 is no different. Think about this more deeply.
Did the people in Jesus’ day own a Bible like modern Christians?
No, the disciples didn’t have Bibles. They might not have even known how to read and if they did, it would not have included all the languages the Bible was written in at the time.
We take for granted how recently the Bible has been translated into common languages. Until a century or so ago, to read the Bible you needed to know Latin.
Has it only been possible for people to abide in the Word of God in recent years? Nope, that would be ludicrous!
So how do you abide in Christ if you don’t read the Bible like a scholar?
How Did People Abide in Christ Before The Bible?
If being able to read your own personal Bible is a new thing I have a question. How did people abide in God’s Word before the modern Bible? Seriously, there have been followers of God for thousands of years. Some of those followers were said to have, “Walked with God,” and be, “Man after God’s own heart.” How was that possible?
- Early Christians would listen to Scripture being read (Romans 10:17).
- The disciples would talk about the Scripture they heard (Deuteronomy 6:6-98).
- Believers in God took time to Meditate on it the Scripture they heard (Joshua 1:8).
- Early Jews and Christians made it a priority to learn or memorize Scripture (Psalm 119:11).
- Those who believed in God learned how to apply Scripture to their everyday lives (Hebrews 4:12).
We lay a burden on people who are new to faith when we say they need a daily Bible study and they need to read the Bible through every year. This is a burden no other Believers in history lived under unless they were training for ministry.
Related Post: How To Read the Bible Daily Consistently
Modern Christianity vs Early Christianity
Early Believers did not have access to abide in the Word of God easily. Logically it should follow that Modern Believers must know God more. I can’t say that is the case though.
Modern Christians should be so much closer to God because we have the advantage of the Bible in our own language, a multitude of translations and no one telling us we can’t read it.
Instead of being closer to God, however, modern Christianity is farther from God and headed farther every day. Modern Christianity has forgotten how to be still and know God.
The Struggle To Abide in The Word of God
Why does it feel harder to abide in God’s Word today than it was 2000 years ago?
We have God’s Word at our fingertips but we struggle to find time to read it. There is a Church in every neighborhood but we rarely make time to go listen to Scripture being read. Religious freedom is our hallmark but we take it for granted and prefer comfort to the conviction of the Bible. To be still is scary.
We are complacent and comfortable and living our lives to be entertained. We have forgotten the pleasure of abiding in the very presence of God. God’s presence is ushered in when we are digging hungrily into the Word of God
Related Post: How To Study Bible Characters and Their Stories
How To Change Our Ways and Abide in Christ
What is clear is that we must change! We must hunger for the Word. We must long to abide in Christ. I said we put a burden on new Believers why saying they have to read the Bible every day, but what if we changed that too? What if we showed them how to abide in the Word and sit in the presence of God daily?
How can we change our ways and commit to abiding in Christ and being still?To learn to abide in the Word of God, to learn to be still and know Him more, will require intentionality on our part. We have to make a plan. We need accountability. When we fall short we have to determine to get back up and… Click To Tweet
What Does It Mean to Abide in God’s Presence?
The presence of God is sort of a buzzword in Christian circles right now and it can be confusing. So let’s start with a clear definition so we are envisioning the same concept.
Related Post: Verse Mapping for Beginners
What is The Presence of God?
God is a very real person, not some cosmic idea or feeling. If you were in the presence of your mom, you would be in the same room or same space with her. You could see her, hear her, feel her, smell her, etc.
Being in God’s presence is similar to that. When God is in the room, you can feel Him. It is hard to explain, but it is like the Spirit inside of you comes alive and you know God is there.
At times, for me, it feels like chills, other times it feels like the very atmosphere in the room changes, still other times it is hard to stand because the area feels holy. I lose touch with the people around me and feel one with Him, close to Him.
Many times I can also hear Him. He speaks to us in times when we are abiding in His presence. It doesn’t always sound like an audible voice, but you will know you heard Him. God’s voice sounds nothing like my voice, but it always lines up with Scripture.
Others feel His presence differently, but always it leaves you with a feeling of peace and stillness.
How Do You Abide in His Presence?
People who worshiped God before they had the Bible were familiar with abiding in His presence. They felt Him while praying while walking in nature while meditating on what they heard the priest read from the Torah, and many other ways.
As different as we all are, there are that many different ways to abide in the presence of God. I feel Him more often when I am singing than when I am reading the Bible. In fact, reading the Bible can be a struggle for me when I am seeking hard after His presence.
The thing to keep in mind is that abiding in the Word of God is about abiding in God’s presence rather than checking off some religious to-do list.
Let me rephrase that.
I never feel God’s presence when I rush through reading the Bible to check it off my list for the day.
We must change this perspective if we want lasting change. To be still and know God is about more than a quantity of reading, it’s about quality time in God’s Word!
What are the Benefits of Abiding in God’s Presence?
There are many benefits of abiding in the Lord, of dwelling with God through Christ, of basking in His presence:
- A deeper relationship with God
- Less sin
- Wisdom and discernment
- Better equipped for Spiritual warfare
- Your soul is full when life gets hard and drains you
- It is easier to help others grow
But my favorite benefits are that I abide in God’s love.
What does it mean to abide in God’s love?
When we abide in Christ, His love fills us up. I understand it best visually. Imagine your soul as an empty bucket. When we abide in Christ, God’s love fills that bucket. We want it to fill up until it overflows so that it share’s Gods love all around us.
In that way, God’s Word abides in us.
How Does the Word of God Abide In Us?
Reading your Bible is the kindergarten level of Christianity that most of us begin out of obligation.
Honestly, we should read our Bible because we are desperate to hear God’s voice, to dwell in His presence. Instead of feeling like we have to read the Bible in a year to be a good Christian we should long to read as many of God’s Words as we can to know Him more.
The more we allow the Scriptures to sink into our hearts and souls, the more the Word of God will abide in us.
Your Quiet Time is Personal
What’s important is to make your time in the Bible about you and God, not you and whoever is checking your Bible reading plan or leading your group study.
You may only be able to read one verse each week or day. If that one verse drew you closer to God that’s perfect.
Consistency breeds authentic relationships!
Start somewhere and keep growing.
Next Level Faith
Want to take your faith to the next level? Abide in God’s Word and Abide in God’s love through the day! I mean taking God into your day beyond your ten to twenty minute quiet time. How can you take God into the rest of your day?
- Listen to Scripture being read
- Talk about the Scripture you heard
- Meditate on it the Scripture you heard.
- Memorize God’s promises
- Apply Scripture to your everyday lives
Our faith should be lived out every moment of every day. All too often we keep Jesus in a box and only let Him speak to us on Sunday morning and a few minutes during our designated God time. God wants all of your life, every area is a place where He longs to dwell with you and connect with you.
A Word of Caution
There is something I always want to say, but feel it may be more controversial than I like to be. about abiding in Christ through abiding in God’s Word:
The Bible is God’s Word to you, His special love letter and instruction manual for you in your life. We really need to read the Bible itself more than we read what people say about the Bible.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17*
- Bible studies are great tools with amazing accountability.
- Sermons inspire and encourage.
- Great literature has its place in our lives as well.
But, nothing can replace the blessed intimacy that grows when you dwell and abide in the very Words of God. Just you and your Bible are all you really need to abide in God’s Word, be still, and know Him more.
A Prayer to Abide in the Word of God
Thank You for all the conveniences of this modern life. Forgive me for spending more time amusing myself with entertainment than musing over the truths of Your Word.
You said, “Abide with Me,” and I want to walk through life every day with You but I tend to make Bible reading a chore instead of a date with You. Forgive me. I read more Bible Studies than actual verses to grow with You. Help me strip away everything that distracts me from hearing Your loving voice and just sit with You.
Teach me what it looks like to really abide in Your Word.
Will You Abide in the Word of God More Today?
In the past, believers in God had to go out of their way to hear God’s Words. They had to go to the Synagogue, memorize the parts that spoke to them and talk about God’s Word often. There is something about the struggling and the persecution they faced for that struggling that more deeply ingrained their dedication to God.
We are missing that dedication to the Lord in today’s time. To learn to abide in the Word of God, to learn to be still and know Him more, will require intentionality on our part. We have to make a plan. We need accountability. When we fall short we have to determine to get back up and keep trying.
Will you commit to abiding in Christ through His Word, seeking hard after His presence in every part of your day?
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