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wife2006The following story comes from Carolyn Kempf by way of the "Lite Fare" portion of Christian Reader:

"In Bible college, I began dating a fellow. During our first month of dating, we decided we should study the Bible together.

"With my plot well set, one night I opened my Bible to (Proverbs 18:22) and read, 'He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.' I looked up, winked, and said, 'Couldn't you use a little favor from the Lord?'

"My boyfriend, a Bible scholar, was quick with his reply from (Proverbs 10:10)—'He who winks the eye causes trouble.' "

The story reminds me how we sometimes are tempted to use the scriptures to achieve a goal we already have in mind. For Carolyn, the scriptures were used (with tongue in cheek) to get a husband. But, for many people, the scriptures are used in just that way. They are sometimes used by people as an assurance that God will give them anything that they desire ("Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them." Mark 11:24) or as a proof text that no one should ever judge them for their immoral behavior ("Judge not that you be not judged." Matthew 7:1).

However, the proper way to read God's Word is not for us to decide what we want, then search for a verse to prove it. Rather, we must humbly search the scriptures (all of them!) in an effort to determine what God wants for us. It's what James refers to as "receiv[ing] with meekness the implanted word." (James 2:21). It's the attitude of Samuel who said, "Speak, for your servant hears!" (I Samuel 3:10).

There are certainly many blessings to be found in God's Word, but if I use the scriptures merely to search out all the blessings that God has for me, I can easily miss all that God requires of me. Scriptures about sacrifice, service and submission are not nearly as popular as Romans 8:28 ("All things work together for good..."), but are vital for us to understand what God expects of us. May we receive God's Word (all of it!) with meekness.

Alan Smith