Grab a strong cup of coffee – it may be a long week! Get cozy. We’re putting together the pieces of life as we study the Word of God.
We were blessed to hear Mike Satterfield preach this past week at GFBC. And did he ever step on my toes! How about you? When he began by asking us to think back over our last week…
Has anything changed? If I have not progressed, why?
Wow! Stopped me dead in my tracks. I long to see slight changes from year to year, but from week to week?! Methinks I’m to easy on myself? How about you? Let’s examine ourselves together?
How have you done so far this year at developing the spiritual disciplines you desire? Are you in the Word more now than you were this past January? How about more than last month? Last week? Yikes! Are you praying without ceasing more now than last January? Than last month? Last week? Yikes! Are you memorizing scripture and witnessing and obeying scripture more now than last January? Than last month? Last week? Yikes!
It puts me a bit on the defensive. I want to say, “But hey, you don’t know how busy I am! I’m a good person, a real Christian. Really!”
The bottom line is that our good intentions to live a godly life are not the same thing as living a godly life. So join me today as I choose to be tough on myself. To recommit to that one most central spiritual discipline – Bible reading and study. Let’s seek to live to a higher calling.
In light of that here are a few simple things to keep in mind as you dig deep into God’s word. There’s something in this list for you, no matter where you find your level of commitment to Bible reading or Bible study or applying the Bible to life.
- Read the Bible every day. Even if it is only 1 verse. Develop the habit.
- Ask the 5 W’s and an H (who, what, when, where, why, how) when you read God’s Word. These give you a frame-work for what you are reading, similar to filling in the corners and edges to a puzzle. Especially ask these type questions: What does this teach me about God/Jesus? About people? About women? About sin? About the world?
- Read with a pencil (and possibly paper) on hand. Ideas you may want to try: †Underline or mark key words or thoughts. †Take notes in your Bible. †Mark things that apply to you. †Put question marks in the margin beside what you do not yet understand. †In the margin, date and make notes on promises or commands that you sense are specifically for you that day. You may want to use a journal to record longer thoughts or prayers concerning the scripture you have read.
- Train yourself to systematically read the Word of God. Start today. Ideas: †Read one proverb a day for a month. †Read all 4 Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, John over the course of a year. †Read one Psalm a day. †Read the Bible chronologically. †Read through the whole Bible from Genesis through Revelation in a year or 2 years.
- Use the study Bible notes at he bottom of the page which explain meanings of names, or the historical or cultural implications we may not be aware of today.
- Refer to the scriptures listed in the margins of study Bibles to find other scriptures throughout God’s word that mention the same word. For example: beside Genesis 1:1 about God creating the heaven and the earth, my study Bible lists in the margin 13 scripture references for verse 1, the first one is Psalm 102:25 which says that the heavens are the work of His hands. This type of searching for scriptures that help us understand similar scriptures is called cross-referencing. The best commentary on scripture is other scriptures.
- Look up definitions of words you don’t know or don’t understand. Use a dictionary or the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance which allows you to find the original Hebrew or Greek meaning of Old and New Testament words. (Find it online at http://www.eliyah.com/lexicon.html or http://biblehub.com/strongs.htm )
- Pray before you read your Bible. Always. Ask the Lord to teach you, to open your eyes to the truth, and to help you live out what you are learning. John 14:26 tells us “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
Grasp onto one of these tools. Get in the Word. Let it change you!
Expect yourself to be better next week than you are today!