In engineering technology, there is the division into mechanical and electrical parts. The mechanical aspect is the structure, how things are positioned one to one another, move one on another.
We realise that mechanical energy, which is energy due to movement of parts, can lead to electrical energy, which is about flow of energy through conductors.
Also electric energy can lead to mechanical energy, I am talking about devices that we use.
What does any of these have to do with bible reading?
The point is that in bible reading/study, which is a device in our spiritual life, there are also those two parts.
There is nothing spiritual about having a bible if you do not read and study it. At the basic level, reading the bible is the mechanical aspect, while the study should be electrical/electronics aspect.
The mechanical is less exciting than the electrical, that is why electrical/electronics (more complex and varied) has evolved more than mechanical engineering.
We now have software, biomedical, bio-informatics, robotics, etc. The electrical makes things more and more sophisticated, while the mechanical can remain the same over centuries.
There are may angles to bible study (electrical), but reading is reading and it is still basic. For something to be mechanical, it has to do about repetition, it is about how parts connect and relate to one another for consistency. A good mechanical device is meant to deliver movement on a consistent basis, without fail.
Paul said give attention to reading. Reading can be very boring, maybe because the concept being examined may not lead to an immediate application, but don’t we read books, novel, not because they are of any benefit, but because of the feeling we derive from it?
So we should read the bible because, among other things, of the feeling of closeness to God it gives us.
But the bible is a little different from novels because the number of pages is finite and after reading four chapters a day starting from Genesis, you will be through it in Aa year. And somebody asked me: after I have finished it, what do I do? I said start all over again.
That is the mechanics. We have daily devotionals meant to help people read the bible daily. There is something mechanical about that. It ensures that without fail, you put your nose in the scriptures. The Berean Jews were described by Paul as being noble, because they searched the scriptures daily. The word “daily” is a mechanical word. It is about routine.
To search is to study and that is the electrical. Our study can become more sophisticated, as we use Strong’s concordance, different bible versions, and the varying length of time we have to devote to it, the particular topic we are interested in, or book, or, character. The variation in study is almost infinite, but the reading is not. It is merely moving from verse to verse, chapter to chapter, book to book.
Jesus said that the Pharisees err because they know neither the scriptures not the power of God. The more we read the bible, regardless of how boring we think some parts are, the more we know the scriptures. There is no magic to it. The power of God, however, is not mechanical, it is electrical, it is a flow of the Holy Spirit.
What we need is a balance of study and the reading. While bible reading can be mechanical, study cannot be mechanical. It has to be based on interest, being another variable. Reading is unidirectional, study is multidirectional.
You can have reading without study, but you cannot have study without reading. You can have mechanical energy without electrical energy (bicycle) you can’t have electrical energy without some structure, mechanics to it.
The basic relationship we should have with the bible is reading. Reading is not complex, it can be done at anytime, without any complexity. But study is inherently complex.
When we read we take in the word of God, we just eat it, we are not so concerned about how it will work in our spiritual system, we may not even totally understand it, but we take it in. We store the word God in our hearts.
Then the Holy Spirit, the electrical man himself, can bring the word to our remembrance, turning that we read into spiritual energy in our lives. When we read we are using mechanical energy, we expend energy as we read, on a daily basis but after the Holy Spirit moves on what we have read, it becomes something else, it because understanding because He is the Spirit of understanding.
There is no understanding before reading, just as there is no experience of the Holy Spirit without Jesus. Jesus is mechanics, Holy Spirit is electrical. The Holy Spirit is exciting while the people, even his disciples found Jesus sort of “one kind”. He said many things that did not click in the minds of the disciples, but Jesus did not worry, He said that the Holy Spirit will sort that out.
Stay with the mechanics, and do not allow yourself to be taken away from it.
The following will take you away:
1. Lack of conviction that the 66books in the bible is the word of God.
2. Not convinced that all parts of the scriptures is from God, and it serves as the gateway to the understanding of GOD.
3. Not realising that the words of scriptures is always profitable.
4. Not believing that you need the word just as the a baby needs milk, for your spiritual life.
We love the spark of new revelation, but the spark moves on the mechanics of the reading.
Jesus said to Peter, “follow me.” It is mechanical to follow him. It is a day by day thing, it is a matter of neglecting other things to follow him. Along the way some people got offended in Jesus because of some of the claims he made about himself.
That was a test for Peter whether he would continue to follow the word or not. Those people were following but did not follow till the end. They got tired with the mechanics of following, the listening without full understanding, the confrontation with their preconceived notion of things.
But Peter did not dwell on those things, rather he said to Jesus, you have the words of eternal life. He went beyond the mechanics of the word to discover that there is more in the words than immediately meet the eyes.
You should go beyond the mechanics of the word, while realising that you cannot do without it. The mechanics is the foundation, it gives strength, while the electrical part gives the direction.
Someone said he wants God to open his eyes for him to behold wondrous things out of his laws.
He did not give up on the word, when it was not making sense to him, rather he asked God to turn the mechanics of it to electrical energy, the wondrous things, the electrifying things, the empowering things.
You move beyond the mechanics, but keeping an healthy respect for it, keep up the mechanics, valuing it because you know without it, the electrical dimension may be out of control or not work at all.