Studying the Bible
“ An ignorant Christian is an embarrassment to God.” There is no legitimate reason that we should be one. A likely response might be, “But I can’t fit Bible study into my day.” Let’s inventory our day. TV? Unnecessary phone calls? Novels and magazines? Even the newspaper? Hobbies and crafts? Sports? Face Book, etc.? Here is a practical solution. Place your Bible on top of any item that takes priority over Bible study!!! Oh! Ouch!
Most of us like change. Ask your Christian book store clerk to help you find a book that leads into various study methods. I did a word study on “Grace” which I put in transparent protector sheets in a note book. It became a valuable volume as I went to the Old Testament as well as the New Testament. A concordance was a great help. So was a commentary. Other resources such as poems, songs, quotations, short excerpts, sermon notes were added, and of course, my personal Bible study notes. It has proved to be a valuable resource for many occasions.
As we investigate a word in its many passages our hearts are blessed. We can go deeper by developing our word study into a theme study. As we do so, it gets more challenging! More exciting! More edifying! More informational! Let’s remember that our goal in any type of study is to be personally molded into God’s image by His message; not merely to gain intellectual knowledge.
The objective of theme studies is to piece together a body of Bible teaching so parts do not remain in isolation. For example, the theme of God would lead us into theTrinity. The study of the nature of man would link us to a study of sin. This leads into a break down of “man’s fall, depravity, original sin, the nature of sin itself, guilt, punishment.” From these studies we are enthusiastically lead to the person and work of Christ which can be divided and subdivided into themes – His divinity, His sonship, His incarnation, His humanity, and so on. A study of the work of Christ ought to flow into the atonement. “That theme, in turn, would direct us into associated ideas – grace repentance faith, forgiveness ,justification, regeneration, conversion, adoption, assurance, sanctification.” Does this not challenge us with the inexhaustibleness of God’s Word? If we take it one step at a time, it will not overwhelm us. Rather, we will have a wealth of material to describe our new found relationship to God and His Word. (This is a compilation of thoughts and quotes from John B. Job, editor of InterVarsity Press, #68).
Why do we spend time in personal Bible study? We go to church and Sunday school. We listen to radio preachers. Isn’t that enough? No, a thousand times “No.” As profitable as they are, something is lacking: that personal heart-to-heart love relationship with our Lord. “He knows our frame” (Psa. 103:14). That does not mean our skin and bone structure. He knows our inner person with all our needs. Our Father knows us intimately and He yearns that we probe the depths of His Word so we can know Him in like manner.
May we be extremely earnest and tirelessly diligent in our study of Holy Scripture so that we are consistently growing in our relationship with God. May the Holy Spirit prepare us to carry the salvation message to others, always being ready to give an answer (1 Peter 3:15).
A story is told of a woman who said, “I thought God put me on this earth to accomplish a certain number of things. At the rate I am going, I will never die.” Since we can’t do everything, prioritize is the word that stands out in my mind at this point.
Remember, “Study to show yourself approved unto God . . .” 2 Timothy 2:15.
Deeper Lord, ever deeper will we go. Amen and Amen.
(to be continued)