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Brilliant on the Basics, Personal Growth

Brilliant on the Basics: Seven

Brilliant on the Basic of Studying the Bible

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Brilliant on the Basics: Seven

Brilliant on the Basic of Studying the Bible

07 February 2011

Why study the Bible? God’s Word is the most important book in the world. There is no rival to it. In spite of attempts to tear it up, burn it, discredit it, render it irrelevant, there are more copies of it than of any other book in history. Billions of copies have been sold since it came into print. About 100 million a year are sold. Over 7.5 billion have been distributed in the world. The question is how many are read and studied seriously? It is not intended by God to be a magic talisman laying on the table, or a dust collector on the shelf. It is intended to be the most used book in its owner’s life. Since that is the case, let’s look for help getting started studying it. For most of us it is a matter of getting started. We make resolutions regarding it. We talk with family and friends about it, but we don’t take the time to get started. Here we want to look at ways you go about studying the Bible.

You study the Bible by:

1. asking God to teach you – (Ps. 119:12 (The Message) Be blessed, God; train me in your ways of wise living. God doesn’t force us to be students of His Word. He commands it (Joshua 1:8 The Message) And don’t for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed. (2 Tim. 2:15 KJV) Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. As with all of God’s commands to us, we have a choice to make. Will we obey or not? The psalmist took God at His Word, desired to learn from His Word and asked Him to “train” or “teach” him. Have you ever asked God to teach you His Word? I have heard many people lament that they did not know much about the Bible. I have seldom heard anyone say, “I asked God to teach me His Word.” I find it incredible that the God of the universe who was the Master Teacher here on the earth desires to teach you and me. When we are willing to part with our pride, self-dependence, obsession with our human intellect, and ask God to teach us we will become students of His Word. God will direct your heart to His Word if you desire it. He will teach you through His Spirit as He did through His Son while He was on the earth.

2. absorbing what you have been taught – (Ps. 119:15 The Message) I ponder every morsel of wisdom from you, I attentively watch how you’ve done it. As my dad used to say, the psalmist “mulled it over.” That is, he turned it over and over in his mind. The picture is that of a cow chewing her cud in the field. Swallowing it only to regurgitate it and chew it some more. You don’t just open the Bible, take a quick dip into its pages, and get an abundant dose of spirituality. In our passage in 2 Timothy Paul said we are to be “workmen or workwomen” in the Word. That implies staying in it and learning by working at it. It is not hard to stick your feet under the table when you are hungry. It is not hard to sit down to a feast from the Word of God when you hunger for it. If you expect God to speak to you shouldn’t you have a notepad or computer keyboard nearby? You need to record what He teaches you, and you need to “mull it over a while.”

3. acting on what you understand of it – Learning is good, but application shows possession. James taught us in his book in the New Testament that we are to be doers and not just hearers. Jesus taught, (Jn. 14:21 The Message) “The person who knows my commandments and keeps them, that’s who loves me. And the person who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and make myself plain to him.” Jesus said we prove we “got it” in our Bible study when we “do it” in our lives. You may not understand all of the Scripture. Some people use that as an excuse for not obeying any of it. We need to do what we do know because that is all God asks of us. The more we do of what we know the more God will teach us to do.

4. acquainting others with what you have learned – I have heard and said, “if you want to learn – teach!” (Ps. 119:13 The Message) I’ll transfer to my lips all the counsel that comes from your mouth. The psalmist said he would teach what he had learned to others. God is not interested in pouring your life full of His truths for you to hoard. His plan is for you to pass it on. We do that by word and by deed. As we act on what we know others observe it and are convicted of their own need to live by it. They ask what led us to respond as we do, and the door is opened for us to share what we have learned with them. I have found in 43 years of ministry that learning and sharing the Bible is like being one of the disciples as they passed out the loaves and fish in the feeding of thousands. When it was all over and all had eaten, they picked up 12 baskets full – exactly what they had begun with. You never lose anything when you share the Word of God. The more you give the more you get to give, and get to give, and get to give, for your whole life.

5. affirming that it is God’s Word – (Ps. 119:35 NIV84) Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. The psalmist affirmed that it was God’s Word he studied and meditated on and was applying in his life. Paul taught, (2 Tim. 3:16 NIV84) All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. The reason the Bible is all of those things is that it is the Word of almighty God. When you accept that the Bible is God’s Word it gives you an incentive to get into it and learn from it and get in line with it. It is a Book that convicts, calls, counsels, comforts, and changes our lives. Affirm it!

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“Redeemed”

The painting in my logo is by an artist named Kelly O'Neill.



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