"And they were exceedingly sorrowful, and each of them began to say to Him, 'Lord, is it I?'" (Matt. 26:22).
What a wonderful example for those who hear the word of the Lord today! The apostles did not hear Jesus' words and immediately look outward, pointing fingers at each other, thinking themselves beyond such treachery. Instead, they each looked inward and asked the very hard question, "Lord, is it I?" They wanted to make sure they stood right before the Lord.
Friends, it is very easy for one to study God's word with improper and shallow motives--such as to win an argument, attempting to find some sanction for an already declared position, or to satisfy a proud ego in being known as some great Bible scholar. It's also very easy for the follower of Christ to hear the Lord's word and immediately think of someone else to whom the Biblical truth might apply. Such an individual is like the person who desires to remove the speck from his brother's eye and does not notice the plank in his own eye (Matt. 7:3-5; Luke 6:41,42).
Yet as students of the Bible, it is critical that we cultivate and maintain a proper heart for learning and application.
When we approach the inspired word of God--whether it is for our own private study or to receive teaching in the assembly--let us open the Bible with eagerness, reverence, and pure motives. Let us be "swift to hear, slow to speak, [and] slow to wrath" (James 1:19), and let us allow God's word to make up our mind instead of coming to the Sacred Text with our mind already made up. Like the psalmist, let us pray, "Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law" (Psalm 119:18).
Finally, when faced with the teachings of God's word, let us always first and foremost ask, "Lord, is it I?" and seek application first to our own life before we try to convince others to make application to theirs. By doing so, we will "remove the plank" from our eye, allowing us to see more clearly when we share Biblical teachings with others.