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Lesson #90: The Reading and Hearing of the Word

Wednesday, January 5, 2011, 6:00
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Lesson #90—The Reading and Hearing of the Word


Shorter Catechism Q & A #90

Q. How is the word to be read and heard, that it may become effectual to salvation?

A. That the word may become effectual to salvation, we must attend thereunto with diligence, preparation, and prayer; receive it with faith and love, lay it up in our hearts, and practice it in our lives.

Memorize Q&A—Exposition

The Word of God written is nothing less than the voice of God reaching into the depth of the heart and soul of his people.

Scripture reveals this truth: “For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of the saints. Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path” (Prov. 2:6–9).

What does it mean?


  • Diligence—Prov. 8:34
  • Preparation—1 Peter 2:1–2 (note context)
  • Prayer—Ps. 119:18
  • Receive the Word with faith and love—Heb. 4:2, 2, Thess. 2:10
  • Lay it up in our hearts—Ps. 119:10–11
  • Practice it in our lives—Luke 8:15, James 1:25

What is our practice?

There are four things we must act upon that the Word of God may become effectual in our lives:

  1. We must be diligent in our study of the Bible. We must prepare our hearts and minds in the study.
  2. We must be in prayer.
  3. We must receive that which the Spirit teaches with faith and trust, with love.
  4. We must have it written upon our hearts; and we must endeavor to practice in our everyday living.

Quotes for thought and discussion:

John Calvin on Psalm 119:11—I have hid thy word in my heart.

“This psalm not being composed for the personal and peculiar use of the author only, we may therefore understand, that as frequently as David sets before us his own example, under this model he points out the course we ought to pursue. Here we are informed that we are well fortified against the stratagems of Satan when God’s law is deeply seated in our hearts. For unless it have a fast and firm hold there, we will readily fall into sin. Among scholars, those whose knowledge is confined to books, if they have not the book always before them, readily discover their ignorance; in like manner, if we do not imbibe the doctrine of God, and are well acquainted with it, Satan will easily surprise and entangle us in his meshes. Our true safeguard, then, lies not in a slender knowledge of his law, or in a careless perusal of it, but in hiding it deeply in our hearts. Here we are reminded, that however men may be convinced of their own wisdom, they are yet destitute of all right judgment, except as far as they have God as their teacher.”

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