The Berean Christians had a purpose for daily examining (deeply studying) the Scriptures. It was to know the truth that would set them free. “Dear Father, help that to be my heart beat and the heart beat of each one of my dear friends who read this treatise.”
John Piper’s statement (Exploring the Bible, p.7) may help us grasp something of the significance of the Bible. This complete, incomparable, volume, the Bible, was written over a period of two thousand years. It contains 3,566,489 letters, 810,697 words, 31,175 chapters and 66 books. “It is a ‘divine library’ and demands not only spiritual illumination but also practical application of reverent and diligent study methods to master the diversified subjects as well as its unified message.” And too often we do not take time to absorb it!
Let’s dig a little deeper into the insights and ideas of “rightly diving the Word of truth.” To do this is obedience to the Scriptural charge of 2 Timothy 2:15 – “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a [work woman] that needeth not be ashamed... .” 2 Timothy 3: 16,17 gives us more reasons for in-depth Bible study. “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the [woman] of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Yes, Lord. I want all You have for me.
We must be serious about developing a relationship with God, because we can’t fully know what He can or will do for us until we know who He is. As we study about David and Goliath, we learn that our problems will overcome us if we don’t confront them in the name of the Lord. A study of Abraham has a God- intended message to deepen our faith and obedience. How long has it been since you have studied Isaiah? “Three major truths are indelibly imprinted on our hearts. (1) God suffers when His people are unfaithful to Him. (2) God cannot condone sin. (3) God will never cease to love His own, and consequently, He seeks to win back those who have forsaken Him.” (Source unknown).
There are numerous books about Bible study methods that will help us choose the method that we would like to pursue. Above and beyond that, of course, is prayer that the Holy Spirit will direct us. He knows our deepest needs. The ledger method seems most effective and gratifying to me. It requires a note book – not scraps of paper – a pen and a Bible as a starter. You may want to add a commentary and a concordance. Choose a book of the Bible. Ask the Holy Spirit to be you teacher. If your mind wanders, reread the verses. Maybe you will study only two verses, or maybe five or ten. Study for the purpose of finding nuggets that penetrate your heart and mind and feed your soul. Jot down those nuggets in your journal. They will help you in your walk with/growth in the Lord, and God will open up opportunities to use them to minister to someone else. I recall my earlier days when I taught a weekly Bible study to the wives of seminary men. As I jogged in the early morning, the Lord would give me thoughts that thrilled my soul. I would hurry to the house, jot them in my journal and sure enough, at some time a thought or two would be the exact application that I needed for those dear young women or others. That was an indescribable thrill.
Our heart’s prayer ought to be that of the Psalmist. “Make me to go in the depths of Thy commandments: for therein do I delight” (Psalm 119:35).
(to be continued)