by John Piper recommended all over the internet. And for good reason because Dr. Piper tackles the now (unfortunately) risky business of defining "hearing God speak" as reading God's Word. That definition alone sends some persons into the stratosphere.
Ever since I read the article, because I am an analyzing type, I've been analyzing how I would explain the appalling and apparent current level of discontent with the simple task of reading God's Word. Personally, my own level of discontent with reading the Bible for years was sin. I didn't want to read what God said because I had the perception that His instructions would be burdensome to my lifestyle--possibly requiring change and letting go of my own desires. I didn't want to read about the things that I was doing and see any condemnation of my ideas or beliefs. I didn't want to read about unpleasant things like cost, commitment, and sacrifice.
I chose instead to read books about the Bible, other people's interpretations. Of course, I didn't exercise any due diligence in seeing where these people were coming from to even have formed their interpretations. I read criticisms of the Bible and took those mortal statements at their word without cross checking to see if the actual, immortal Word of God said those actual things.
I listened to what other people said about the Bible. I was particularly keen on hearing their experiences and feelings. Again, no due diligence on my part as to whether their professions actually matched Biblical statements. As long as they quoted a Scripture reference or two, I thought it must have some validity. Contextual truth was not part of my discernment base. I based my standard of truth on whether the speaker was especially believeable, likeable and personable.
So Dr. Piper's statement, "Something is incredibly wrong when the words we hear outside Scripture are more powerful and more affecting to us than the inspired word of God." really hurt. There is still a flash of anguish over the number of years I spent avoiding the true Word of God. There is still a sense of regret over the number of years I wasted not growing and learning and applying God's Word. There is still a bad taste in my mouth over the many errors I swallowed as truth that led to bad choices and bitter consequences.
The day I began to read the Bible for myself, with solid study methods, in contextual truth, seeing Scripture interpret Scripture was the day my mind began to be renewed and my life transformed. (Rom 12:2) I love to read my Bible. I've written in it, highlighted, underlined, stocked it full of notes and tissues. I've just about worn the cover off of it, but I can't imagine not reading it.
And I was right, reading the Bible meant having to change my lifestyle, relinquish my own desires, face the condemnation (and receive the forgiveness). Reading the Bible is costly, requiring both commitment and sacrifice. There is a high price to choosing God's Word.
I'm flat on my face grateful for His mercy to seek me, save me and sanctify me, a sinner, through His Word, Living and Written. (Jn 1:14; 2 Tim 3:16-17)
And I praise His name for causing men like Dr. Piper to stand up and boldly say, "The great need of our time is for people to experience the living reality of God by hearing his word personally and transformingly in Scripture."
I hope you'll read the article.