Isaiah 55:1 invites “everyone who thirsts” to “come to the waters.” The Psalmist cries in Psalm 63:1, “my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”
Both the “living” and the “written” Word of God are where we find water for our thirsty souls. So the plea is that we immerse ourselves into the fullness of Jesus Christ and look to him as the one who satisfies our thirsty souls, and that is most abundantly accomplished when we immerse ourselves in the written Word and soak up all the truth-filled promises, guidance and vision of the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ that we can absorb. In other words… be saturated with the Bible.
The Difference Between “Bible-Saturated” and “Bible-Based”
The difference can be subtle, but profound. Anyone who is Bible-saturated can quickly discern the difference between the two.
To be “saturated” is to be immersed in the text of Scripture—praying over, pondering, studying, and reflecting. A saturated person approaches the Bible as a primary source.
To be “based” is to know Scripture, but more often theology and theological systems (which are important, but as a second step from the Scriptures, which can only be faithfully articulated from spending time in the Scriptures). A Bible “based” person often approaches Scripture as a secondary source.
A “Bible-based” sermon is often a message about something that can help you in some aspect of your life, and then you are shown where the Bible supports such an idea or plan. A Bible-based sermon has points that the Bible supports and backs up.
A “Bible-saturated” sermon is one that draws its points out from the Bible. It begins with the Bible text, rather than looking for the Bible text to support whatever points we began with.
Bible saturated people have an absorbent nature. A sponge in a bucket of water is going to absorb significantly more than a rock. In the same way, spiritually, if we have hearts of stone, we cannot be “saturated,” no matter how deeply we immerse ourselves in the Word of God.
This puts the Gospel at the heart of our vision to be a Bible-saturated people. Paul writes in Ephesians 4:18 that the Gentile people “are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.” Nothing was sinking in because the heart was hard.
But the glory of the Gospel was revealed in Ezekiel 36:26−27 when the Lord promised: “I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” Through Christ, the heart is transformed and able to absorb the truth in a way that empowers us to live as Bible-saturated people.
Bible-saturated people “drip” Bible. The Word of God colors their speech and behavior and they adopt a biblical way of talking and thinking. Everything we observe and are taught, all the opinions we consider, all the decisions we make, and all the conclusions we come to are shaped and influenced by the Bible. When we are saturated with the word of Christ we have an ever-present and infinitely wise and wonderful counselor who enables us to teach and admonish one another “in all wisdom,”—Colossians 3:16.
When Bible-saturated people are “squeezed,” Bible comes out. When the Romans 8:23 groanings come upon us—sickness, disease, tragedies, persecutions and suffering of all kinds—the Bible-saturated person rests, draws strength from and declares the word of God.
Psalm 119 gives us a beautiful picture of a Bible-saturated “groaner”: “My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word!” (v 28); “This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life” (v 50); “When I think of your rules from of old, I take comfort, O LORD” (v 52); “If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction” (v 92); “Trouble and anguish have found me out, but your commandments are my delight” (v 143).
When Bible-saturated people are pricked, they “bleed” Bible. When they are pricked by Satan’s “schemes” and “darts,” they use their “sword,” which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:10, 16). When Satan hurled his darts at Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4), three times Jesus was “pierced” and three times Jesus responded with, “It is written…”
Again, Psalm 119 illustrates this idea: “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (v. 11); “Then shall I have an answer for him who taunts me, for I trust in your word” (v. 42); “Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me, I do not forget your law” (v. 61); “They have almost made an end of me on earth, but I have not forsaken your precepts” (v. 87); “The wicked lie in wait to destroy me, but I consider your testimonies.” (v. 95); “Many are my persecutors and my adversaries, but I do not swerve from your testimonies” (v. 157).
When Bible-saturated people are hurt—even in injury—they bleed the Bible.
When Bible-saturated people sleep, they “dream” Bible. This is another way of saying that Bible-saturated people are thinking about the word of God. It is on their minds when they go to sleep and when they wake up. “Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night.” (Psalm 63:3−6)
No other words can comfort like words that are soaked in the Word of God. No prayers lead into the presence of God more than Bible-saturated prayers. There is no speech that can touch the human heart like a Bible-saturated speech. No words bring clarity and counsel to a problem more than Bible-saturated words.