My last post was based on 1 John 1:1, and I think we’ll start there again. It’s really amazing that you can look at the same scripture with a slightly different mindset, and open up a whole new avenue of understanding.
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life (1 John 1:1)
Brethren, how do my hands and your hands handle the Word of life? What is our relationship with this Word? How do we respond to it?
Responses To The Word
Last week we talked about the Jews in Acts 13:46-48 who chose to reject God’s word as it was offered to them through Paul and Barnabas. These verses say they rejected God’s word, casting it from them, just as they did with Jesus Christ, and in doing so they judged themselves “unworthy of everlasting life.”
Human beings have many ways of handling “the word of life,” and casting it aside and rejecting it is one of them. Another way people handle the word of life is to keep it at arm’s length. They believe in God, and may have 3 or 4 Bibles full of God’s written word in their homes, but they don’t read more than a few key verses, and they’re not comfortable with a personal relationship with God.
There’s also the atheist’s approach to handling the word of life. Some of them study the Bible with the intent of refuting its teachings and destroying the faith of those who do believe. You can also handle the word of life academically. Most colleges offer courses like “the Bible as literature” and just treat it as another textbook to be read to give one a “well-rounded education”.
Some study the word of life more seriously, but with a wrong attitude. Why did the Pharisees, Sadducee, lawyers and scribes that Jesus spoke with in the Gospel accounts study the scriptures? If you read through Matthew 23, it appears that there were a variety of motivations. These people used the word of life to control others and dominate their lives. Their studies of scripture made them appear righteous in the eyes of other men, and they used religion to gain status and wealth.
The Right Way to Handle the Word
There is another way our hands can handle the Word of life. We can embrace it fully, interact with its content, internalize its precepts, and allow the Word of life to transform our hearts, minds and spirits. This is the method of handling God’s word that David demonstrated in so many of his psalms.
Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep Your precepts.
I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Your word. I have not departed from Your judgments, for You Yourself have taught me. How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Ps. 119:97-105)
What David describes here is just a small taste of how he handled the Word of life. Acts 13:22 tells us that God described David as “a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.” We know from 1 Samuel 16:7 that “man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” This observation was made in the context of God choosing David as king, so you could say there was a connection between God’s and David’s hearts.
We also need this kind of “heart connection” with God. Jesus Christ Himself addressed this when He was speaking with the Samaritan woman at the well.
But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23-24)
There is this intangible element to the relationship between us and God that is spirit-to-spirit, and heart-to-heart. Let’s turn to one more scripture to re-enforce this wholehearted approach to properly “handling the word of life”
For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. (2 Chron.16:9)
God’s eyes are searching whole earth looking for this heart-to-heart connection. The word “loyal” here is translated from the Hebrew shalem (H8003). It means complete, whole, perfect, peaceable, quiet and – this is the definition that really caught my eye – “especially friendly.”
That really is what God is looking for in the way that each of us handle the word of life. He wants us to be friends with Him and have a close, personal relationship with Him and with His Word.