Do you Know God’s Word?
To be honest I have used every one of those excuses. I have spent years reading my Bible and trying to understand it. I would get bits and pieces here and there of truth but my interest would wane and I would become frustrated that I couldn’t understand what I was reading.
I convinced myself that the Bible was just too hard to understand. So I began my journey of attending Bible Study after Bible Study. Many of these studies were very good and biblically based, they taught truth and I would get excited. The study would end and even though I would try once again to study God’s Word my interest would wane.
That is until the next Bible Study…
I became convinced that the only way I could understand and be disciplined was to be in a study. They were good studies and I did learn a lot, but it was as if I was spiritually stupid or something because I just felt like I wasn’t “getting it”. "It" being truth, truth that would transform my life.
What was I missing? What did other godly women know that I did not? I remember reading a book by a woman named Kay Arthur called As Silver Refined and thinking what does she know that I don’t? I loved that book and it changed my way of thinking about life’s disappointments and the trials that I faced. It was the first time I really heard and understood the refining process every believer goes through.
So I went to my local Christian book store to find more books by this author and realized she had Bible Studies called the Lord Series. So I began doing them on my own. And do you know what happened? God’s word began to open up, I began to see and understand truth. It began to trickle into the recesses of my heart where God began to use His truth to transform me.
But still there was something missing…and it wasn’t the fact that at that time I didn’t even own a colored pencil!
What was missing? A passionate pursuit of wanting to be in God’s Word. God had began to awaken a hungering in my heart and even though I didn’t know it yet He had an amazing plan for me.
Years later I would find myself sitting in a Precept Upon Precept class with a newly purchased packet of colored pencils. It was in this class that the world of inductive Bible study opened up to me. I learned how to study God’s word by asking the questions, Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? I learned to observe the text, interpret it and apply it. With that knowledge (it’s called studying the Bible inductively) I began to reading the Bible with new understanding.
Later I learned the importance of reading God’s word in context – context rules! I saw that so much of God’s word is misunderstand because we don’t read it within the context of what it was written. We also try to think about what it might mean instead of allowing scripture to interpret scripture. Who can explain what a passage mean better than God through His word. All of scripture will interpret scripture if you take the time to study.
As I continue to study using the inductive method I find that I just can’t get enough of God’s word. It truly is exciting. It is totally relevant to today. If I miss a day or two there isn’t guilt BUT I miss it like I would miss a dear friend I hadn’t seen for awhile. My life has and is continuing to be completely transformed by knowing how to study God’s word.
So I have to ask…
Do you hunger for the Word of God? Do you study it? Do you KNOW it? Do you see how it is relevant to today? Do you believe that it’s only in knowing God’s Word that you will find healing, help and hope. There are no short cuts to knowing God.
Can I challenge you to begin studying the Word for yourself? Open up the word and begin with a book. I would suggest starting with a small book like 1 John. First pray that God would reveal Himself to you through His word. Second read the whole book through. Third start with the first chapter and read it several times . While reading ask yourself questions like who is writing to whom? Why is the author writing the letter? What does he want them to know? What are the key words in the chapter?
You might find it helpful to mark the key words, the author, references to God, Jesus and Spirit. Then read the chapter again and make a list of what you learn. What did the chapter teach you about God? Are there any commands you need to obey? Make a list. Does the chapter tell you how you should live? Make a list. When you are finished you will have a list of characteristics of God, characteristics of a Christian. If a key word in the chapter is sin, works, heart etc then you will have a list of how God might describe these words and how they apply to our life.
There is nothing else more important in the life of a believer than to know God. The only way you can know God is to study the Words He has written for us in the Bible.
Oh and the author of that book I read, Kay Arthur? I realized later that she had a whole ministry that she founded and God was using her mightily to help people study God's word inductively. And I figured out what she knew that I didn't....how to study God's word for herself!! She is light years ahead of me and knows God’s word far better than I do. I am praying that maybe if I keep studying and learning that I will one day know God the way she does.
If you want more information on the inductive study method visit http://www.precept.org/ .