63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words which I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.
39 You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that testify concerning Me.
40 Yet you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
2 Corinthians 3:
6 Who has also made us sufficient as ministers of a new covenant, ministers not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
16 And receive the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which Spirit is the word of God,
17 By means of all prayer and petition, praying at every time in spirit and watching unto this in all perseverance and petition concerning all the saints.
A Wonderful Book
The Bible is a wonderful book. It is “The Book” among all books! It took 1600 years to complete, starting with Moses, the greatest prophet of God, and ending with the Apostle John. It was confirmed 300 years later (397 A.D.) at a council held at Carthage in North Africa. Not long after that, the Bible was locked away from the people by the Catholic Church. For nearly a thousand years, from the 6th century through the 15th century, the Bible was locked up. History calls this period the Dark Age. Human society became dark because the Bible, containing all the divine light, was locked away from humanity.
Then, in the Reformation, God used Martin Luther to unlock the Bible. At the same time, printing was invented, allowing the Bible to be printed. Although the Bible was unlocked, it was not so open. Yet, we thank the Lord that during the past five centuries He has opened up His Word again and again through many great teachers. We stand on their shoulders and we are grateful to them. Yet, how we thank the Lord that today the Bible is so open to us, allowing us to have a rich life-study of the living Word.
The Breath of God
What is the Bible? We know that the word “Bible” means “the Book.” But what is this book? The Bible itself says, “All Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Tim. 3:16). The Bible is the breath of God. It is not merely the word or the thought of God, but the very breath of God. Whatever we breathe out is our breath, and this breath proceeds out of our being. So the Bible as the breath of God is something breathed out of the being of God. The Bible contains the very element of God. Whatever God is, is contained in this divine book. God is light, life, love, power, wisdom, and many other items. All these items of what God is have been breathed out into the Bible. Whenever we come to this book with an open heart and an open spirit, we can immediately touch something divine: not just thoughts, concepts, knowledge, words, or sentences, but something deeper than all these things. We touch God Himself.
The Spirit and Life
The Lord Jesus said that the words He speaks are spirit and life (John 6:63). Can we imagine that the Bible as the Word of God is the Spirit? It is not simply words in black and white; it is something higher, deeper, fuller, and richer—that is the Spirit and life. And the Bible tells us that the Spirit is God Himself (John 4:24), and that life is Christ (John 14:6). I do not say that the Bible is God Himself, but, according to the Lord Jesus, the word in the Bible is the Spirit, and the Spirit is God Himself, the Lord who is life to us. When we come to contact the Word, if we are right in our position and open in our heart and spirit, we will surely contact God Himself and receive life.
When we come to the divine Word, nearly our whole being is involved. We must come with a heart which seeks after God, with a clear, sober mind, and with an open spirit. If we open our spirit to God and to His Word, we can touch God Himself behind the printed page. It is not just a matter of reading with our eyes, understanding with our mind, or seeking with our heart; it is also a matter of touching God in our spirit. If we exercise our whole being in this way, we not only receive a revelation, but some divine element revealed and conveyed by His Word will be transmitted into our spirit. So, Ephesians 6:17-18 says that we have to “receive…the word of God, by means of all prayer and petition…” We should take the word of the Bible not only by reading and studying, but also “by means of all prayer.” We should read and study the Bible prayerfully; that is, we must exercise our spirit to contact the Lord by prayer with the reading of the divine Word.
The Main Revelation in the Bible
In the Bible mainly life is revealed. Life is the focus of the whole Bible. But what is life, or who is life? The answer is in the word of the Lord Jesus. He says, “I am life,” and “I am come that you may have life.” The Bible is a revelation of Christ as life. Whenever we come to the Bible, we must realize that we are coming to contact Christ as our life.
The whole Bible is a book of life, and this life is nothing less than the divine and living Person of Christ Jesus Himself, Who is our portion. When we come to the Bible, we must come to contact Him. We should not repeat the pitiful history of the Jewish people who researched the Scriptures because they thought there was life in them, yet would not come to the Lord Jesus (John 5:39-40). We should not contact the Bible without contacting the Lord. Whenever we open the Bible we have to say, “Lord Jesus, You have to be here. This is not merely a book, this is Your revelation. I don’t like to read this book without contacting You. I don’t like to hear something from this book without hearing You. I don’t like to read this book without seeing You. I like to see Your face. I like to see what You are from the printed page. O Lord Jesus, enlighten Your Word and anoint every line that I may touch You.” We need such a spirit to contact this living Word.
After man was created, he was put in front of two trees in the garden of Eden: one was the tree of life and the other was the tree of knowledge. If man had eaten the tree of life he would have received the divine life of God that was indicated by the tree of life. But man was tempted and took the tree of knowledge that denoted the source other than God, that is Satan. The issue of that was death. The principle is the same in our contact with the Bible. We may take the Bible as a book of life by contacting it with our spirit, by praying to the Lord that we may receive Him as life through His Word, or we may make the Bible a book of knowledge by contacting it merely with our mind, seeking knowledge in letters. This brings us death, not life. Second Corinthians 3:6 warns us that “the letter [that is, the scripture in letters] kills, but the Spirit gives life.” We shouldn’t make the Bible merely a book of letters to kill us. We have to take the Bible by contacting the Lord Spirit that it may be the Spirit and life to us.
The original title of this book was “In [the] Beginning.” The Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, adopted the title of Genesis which is a Latin word that means giving of birth, origin. Genesis brings birth to everything, gives the origin of everything. Genesis is a book containing all the seeds of the divine truths. All the divine truths in the whole Bible were sown in this book.
Genesis is a book with Christ as the center, and Christ is life to the people whom He restored from the fall. Why does this book give us such a record of creation in the first two chapters? Why does it give us the biographies of eight persons in the following forty-eight chapters? We need a deeper understanding. The first two chapters appear to be a record of creation, but this is superficial. The underlying thought is focused on life. These two chapters are a record of life. They are too simple and too brief to be an adequate account of creation. Genesis 1 and 2 were not intended by God to be a record of creation, but a revelation of life.
Strictly speaking, Genesis is neither a book of creation nor a book of biographies. It is a book of life. God uses the record of creation to show the matter of life. God uses the biographies of eight persons to show how He needs a life to fulfill His purpose. In this book the last life was the life of Jacob, one who was eventually called Israel, the prince of God. This is God’s intention—to have an Israel. We all need to be brought to the place where God can consider us to be His Israel. This is wholly a matter of life. So, Genesis is focused on life, and this life is Christ.
Life Study of Genesis, Msg. 1, W. Lee