Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Studying the Bible

Ok, you you haven't been a follower of Jesus for ten minutes before someone has told you to "read the Bible every day", right? They gave you a Daily Bread and sent you on your voyage of Biblical understanding. But we both know there is a little more to really getting to know (studying) the Bible than a few minutes spent on a verse and a story from a periodical. (Although tools like the Daily Bread can be helpful to some people.)

Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

An old preacher named H.T. Crossley published this acrostic for stuying the Scriptures:

S - Systematically - Luke 24:27
C - Carefully - Psalm 1:2
R - Reverently - Psalm 19:7,11
I - Intently - 2 Peter 1:19-21
P - Prayerfully - Psalm 119:33-36
T - Trustingly - Acts 24:14
U - Understandingly - Hebrews 5:12
R - Retentively - Jeremiah 20:9
E - Every Day - Acts 17:11-12
S - Savingly - 2 Timothy 3:15-17

Here are some thoughts concerning studying the Bible.
  • Realize that the Bible is a library. It doesn't make sense to jump madly around in your reading. Doing so, causes confusion. A systematic approach of a book to two at a time works best. If you are just starting out, try John's gospel and Proverbs.
  • It is not so important how many verses you read, as it is how many verses (truths) you digest and understand.
  • Don't come to the Scriptures to prove your opinions. Instead come to the Scriptures for your opinions. 
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you. That's what the Psalmist asks in Psalm 119.
  • Trust what you read. George Mueller, a great Brethren preacher and orphanage director, said, "I have read the Bible through more than a hundred times, and I find no stumbling-block at all. This is because I am satisfied with God."
  • It is helpful at times to read the Bible in conjunction with a commentary on that particular book. Be careful, however, not so think that a commentary is always right. The Bible is the final authority.
  • You will never understand all of the Bible. God is smarter than you, and He wrote a book that is smarter than you are.
  • Take time to memorize verses relating to: prayers, promises, principles, and praises. Having these in your mind will benefit you greatly.
  • The Scriptures talk about "milk" and "meat". If you are just getting started with Bible Study, start in the shallow end of the pool. (Study the life of Christ and Genesis to start) Too many make the mistake of jumping directly into books like Revelation and the prophets of the Old Testament without a foundation of the basics first. This causes confusion and stunts the young believer's growth.
  • All this being said. Read the Bible. Love the Bible. Fall in love with the God of the Bible.

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