"Jesus said to him, 'You shall love the LORD your God with
all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'
This is the first and great commandment." (Matthew 22:37-38)
Another reason to study the Bible is to love God with "all
your mind." It's easy to miss this reason because we can do
all the right external things without loving God. He points
this out in his letter to the Ephesian church by first listing
all the right things they were doing and then saying in Revelation 2:2-5, "Nevertheless I have
this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember
therefore from where you have fallen..."
Studying the Bible out of love for God becomes natural for
the Christian when we realize how JESUS CHRIST is the CENTRAL
THEME of the Bible. Jesus Christ is the bridegroom of the
church (the one spiritual body of all true Christians), and
heaven will begin with an event called the "marriage supper
of the Lamb" mentioned in Revelation 19:9.
It is natural for Christians to learn as much as they can
about Christ through the Bible just like it is natural for
a bride to learn as much as possible about her bridegroom.
When you study the Bible with the attitude of love for God,
the Bible is transformed into a personal love letter from
The Apostle Paul summarized the centrality of Christ while
standing before King Agrippa during his trial. Acts 26:22-23 records his words: "Therefore,
having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing
both to small and great, saying no other things than those
which the prophets and Moses said would come -- that the Christ
would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the
dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to
In John 5:39 Jesus said, "You
search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal
life; and these are they which testify of Me.
I have found that the more I love God with my mind by studying
the Bible, the more I learn about His love for me -- about
the depth of my sin, about how much He has forgiven me, about
how much it cost for Him to pay for my sins, about the future
He has planned -- and this knowledge of His love is inspiration
to love Him more.
J.C. Ryle, in his book Holiness, published in 1879, wrote
the following narrative about loving God:
'Man,' said a thoughtless, ungodly English traveller, to
a North American Indiuan convert, 'Man, what is the reason
that you make so much of Christ, and talk so much about
Him? What has this Christ done for you, that you should
make so much ado about Him?' The converted Indian did not
answer him in words. He gathered together some dry leaves
and moss and made a ring with them on the gound. He picked
up a live worm and put it in the middle of the ring. He
struck a light and set the moss and leaves on fire. The
flame soon rose, and the heat scorched the worm. It writhed
in agony, and after trying in vain to escape on every side,
curled itself up in the middle, as if about to die in despair.
At that moment the Indian reached forth his hand, took up
the worm gently and placed it on his bosom. 'Stranger,'
he said to the Englishman, 'do you see that worm? I was
that perishing creature. I was dying in my sins, hopeless,
helpless and on the brink of eternal fire. It was Jesus
Christ who put forth the arm of His power. It was Jesus
Christ who delivered me with the hand of His grace, and
plucked me from everlasting burnings. It was Jesus Christ
who placed me, a poor sinful worm, near the heart of His
love. Stranger, that is the reason why I talk of Jesus Christ,
and make much of Him. I am not ashamed of it, because I
love Him. If we know anything of love to Christ, may we
have the mind of this North American Indian! May we never
think that we can love Christ too well, live to Him too
thoroughly, confess Him too boldly, lay ourselves out for
Him too heartily! Of all the things that will surprise
us in the resurrection morning, this I believe will surprise
us most, that we did not love Christ more before we died.
(Holiness, J.C. Ryle)
What caused the indian in this story to passionately love
God? He loved God because he had experienced and understood
God's love for him.
"We love Him because He first loved us." (1