Have you ever seen a linebacker break through the offensive line, untouched, and lay out an opposing quarterback? That’s kind of how I felt when I read this portion of John Piper’s new book, Reading the Bible Supernaturally. The point is simple, but it hit me like a linebacker tackling me in a full-on sprint. Read this excerpt and then let’s ask God to reveal anything that could hinder us from reading, from truly reading His Word for His glory.
The Greatest Obstacle: Sinful Hearts
Those who love the darkness and hate the light may give their whole life to reading the Scriptures and yet never truly read them—never read them the way Jesus expects them to be read. You may read them day and night, yet hear Jesus say at every point, “Have you never read?” Or worse: “[God’s] voice you have never heard” (John 5:37).
The greatest obstacles to reading the Scriptures are not intellectual. They are not lack of skill. Rigorous thinking and literary skills matter. But nothing creates as great a barrier to seeing what is really there in Scripture as a heart that loves other things more than God. This, as we have seen in the case of the Pharisees, will nullify the greatest attention to Scripture. God’s aim for us as we read the Scriptures is, above all, that we see and savor the glory of God as more desirable than anything. That aim will abort as long as our hearts are enslaved to the adulterous love of our own glory or money or any created thing.
Therefore, if we are going to succeed in reading, as God intends for us to read, it will have to be a supernatural act. God will have to take out the heart of stone, with its hardness and resistance to his glory, and put in a heart of flesh, with its living sensitivity to God’s worth and beauty (Ezek. 11:19; 36:26). What will this supernatural reading be like?
You have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God. . . . Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation.
1 PETER 1:23; 2:2
Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth. . . . Put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meek- ness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
JAMES 1:18, 21
Content taken from Reading the Bible Supernaturally: Seeing and Savoring the Glory of God in Scripture by John Piper, ©2017. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, Il 60187, www.crossway.org.