How to Make Scripture Your Own

We’ve all been told to read the Bible. I would suggest that we’ve all been told to meditate on its’ words:

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will achieve success. 

Joshua 1:8

But it’s a difficult thing to do when all you’ve been taught is self-condemnation – when perhaps that’s all you’ve heard from the pulpit most of your life, or perhaps when the messages you’re most familiar with are about Christmas, Easter, witnessing, tithing, or eschatology. Those topics don’t seem to mesh or coalesce well with a lot of the other things we might find ourselves reading.

If any of those things above are true for you, then consider that you might have a bad spirit about you – one that’s beating you around the measuring-up bush, one that you can’t seem to shake. I’ve been there; done that.

But, I’ll wager there’s something here you’ve never heard. So keep reading:

Matthew 18:18

Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.

And let the astute reader complain: “I’ve heard that plenty of times; what does it have to do with reading the Bible?

Personalization

Let’s take a step back. The first thing we need to learn is how to personalize scripture: how to make it our own, to put it into a first-person tense that speaks directly to us.

Here’s a simple example:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.

That’s the commandment. It’s one with which most of us are very familiar. So what we do next is this: move it out of what I call the “command voice” and into what I call a “personalized,” or “acquisition voice.”

I trust in the Lord with all my heart;  I do not lean on my own understanding.

Proverbs 3:5

That makes all the difference, and it’s entirely scriptural: you are what you think – which is the intention of Joshua 1:8.

For as he thinks within himself, so he is.

Proverbs 23:7

While it’s not possible to do this with any random verse, a great many of the Psalms and Proverbs do lend themselves to this type of personalization.

Self Acquisition with Binding and Loosing

First, let’s recall the power of speaking, or as some might say, the power of the tongue:

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Proverbs 18:21

One who tends the fig tree will eat its fruit, and one who cares for his master will be honored.

Proverbs 27:18

A soothing tongue is a tree of life, but when it twists things, it breaks the spirit.

Proverbs 15:4

The task, then, is to combine personalization with speaking the Word, and with binding and losing:

Matthew 18:18 

Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.

Example: Pslam 37:1

Do not get upset because of evildoers, do not be envious of wrongdoers.
Personalized

“I do not get upset because of evildoers; I am not envious of wrongdoers.”

Personalization with Binding

“I bind myself to this Word: I do not get upset because of evildoers; I am not envious of wrongdoers.”

Example: Psalm 37:7

Do not get upset because of one who is successful in his way,
Because of the person who carries out wicked schemes.
Cease from anger and abandon wrath;
Personalization

“I am not upset because with one who is successful in his way, because of the person who carries out wicked schemes. Therefore, I cease from anger and abandon wrath.”

Personalization with Losing

“I lose myself from being upset because of the one who is successful in his way, because of the person who carries out wicked schemes. I lose myself from anger and I abandon wrath.”

Summary

We’re doing four things here.

  • Meditating on His Word.
  • Making His Word our thoughts.
  • Binding ourselves to His rigthousness.
  • Loosing ourselves from unrighteousness.

It’s a form of taking up our cross. We are casting away those things that so easily beset us and taking up those things that enable us to run the race with endurance:

Therefore, since we also have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let’s rid ourselves of every obstacle and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let’s run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking only at Jesus, the originator and perfecter of the faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2

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