In our day we are looking for warm feelings and instant impressions. This predisposition makes it harder for us to be able to approach Scripture. God, in his wisdom, chose to communicate with us in written form, and if we lose the art of reading, we will lose our ability to really hear what he has said and is saying.

Charles Spurgeon preached a sermon titled "How to Read the Bible" (based on Matthew 12:3-7). Spurgeon was no dry academic, and his passionate preaching fanned into flames heart-felt responses to the the Word of God. But he understood that we cannot touch the heart unless the mind is properly engaged. The Bible needs to be read - and that takes careful thought.

Spurgeon's first point, based on the text, was that "In order to the true reading of Scriptures, there must be an understanding of them." As Jesus had said when he rebuked the Pharisees, "Have you not read... Have you not read... If you had known what this means..." (vs 3,5,7). Spurgeon put it this way:

Certainly the benefit of reading must come to the soul by the way of understanding. When the High Priest went into the Holy Place he always lit the golden candlestick before he kindled the incense upon the brazen altar, as if to show that the mind must have illumination before the affections can properly rise toward their divine object. 

There must be knowledge of God before there can be love to God; there must be a knowledge of divine things as they are revealed before there can be an enjoyment of them."