I love to study God’s Word. I have a “happy place” at work where my Bible, a Moleskine journal, and of course my Pilot® G-2™ Retractable Gel-0.7 mm-Navy Ink Pen, come together. Throw in some coffee, and it’s the best day ever. I am an achiever by nature; I check boxes, logical arguments are my favorite arguments, and charts help me understand concepts in profound ways. With that said, however, I have to be careful in my study of the Word, because on a bad day, my personality bent can quickly lead me to just getting my Bible fact of the day or crossing off my daily reading plan verses.
I often have to preach to myself that the WHO I am learning about is what matters most, not just WHAT I am learning. If the good news of Jesus doesn’t permeate my thinking, digging, and discovering, it’s worthless. Listen and feel the words from God through Peter:
May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. (2 Peter 1:2-9 ESV, emphasis added)
These very words admonish us to KNOW God. His power has granted us all things that pertain to life and godliness when we know Him. Knowing God and studying His Word take effort, work, and discipline, setting our priority to ask the Lord to show us who He is. May we never be the one in the last line, who has forgotten what we’ve been cleansed from, being nearsighted and blind. We must never forget Jesus and the Gospel of salvation that allows us to know an almighty, all-knowing, all-powerful God.
Knowing God and studying His Word take effort, work, and discipline, setting our priority to ask the Lord to show us who He is.
Bible study has been a growing discipline in my life to keep me focused on Him–and, honestly, practicing it hasn’t always been cake and roses. Early on, the notes I found myself taking from Bible study were very vague and simplistic. In college, my study of the Word matured as resources made available to me helped educate me on how to contemplate the text. When I went through a discipleship program at Denton Bible Church the year before I got married, I began seeing my Bible in a different way. A tsunami of awareness about the study and knowledge of God’s Word occurred: I learned many significant fundamentals of how to read a text, how to write what I saw the text showing, and how to match the text with my life. Seminary deepened those fundamentals, and even now as a pastor with a few years under my belt, I feel like the horizon of Bible study continues to broaden. After all these years since coming to faith in Jesus, I began to realize that Bible study is truly a discipline for the Christian life; one that takes intentional work and perseverance.
This last month I have had to discipline myself in staying away from facts in my study. I’ve been looking at themes, different viewpoints of Revelation, Christology, Pneumatology, and other passages in study. With so much information and so many texts to cover, the temptation to just keep burning through the material and check the box was difficult to ignore. Specifically, it hit me hard while studying the 2nd and 3rd chapters of Revelation. I had a chart made for the churches mentioned: how they were good, how they got rebuked, and what type of admonition for their future they received. I felt pleased with my work. But I missed the introduction to each piece about the church: every time, John makes some recognition to or about Jesus. JESUS was the highlight. He was their Hope. They needed Him to be their aim, and we still need Him to be ours.
I needed God in those Bible study moments to soften me to see the WHO and not the WHAT from those chapters.
I needed God in those Bible study moments to soften me to see the WHO and not the WHAT from those chapters. In the end, I felt so encouraged to see that God is continually revealing Himself to us through His Word, and helping us to know Him in deeper ways.
In closing, I’d love to give just a few practical tips for your own growth in the discipline of Bible study:
- Be text-driven primarily. The Bible is sufficient for everyone.
- Read and reread.
- Write down what you see and what causes questions.
- Start by going through the smaller books rather than the larger ones.
- Discover the tools available that can help bring clarity about the text when there is confusion.
- Every passage of Scripture should lead us to believe something about God with greater faith, or do something practically as a Spirit-filled believer.
- Most importantly, begin each study time with the expectation to KNOW God more. Ask Him to show you who He is, and remember that your Bible contains the very God-breathed words that bring life!
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Image Credit: Jona Park, Creative Commons