Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Blessed and happy are those who have never seen Me and yet have believed and adhered to and trusted and relied on Me.”
John 20: 29
“I do not ask that He must prove
His Word is true to me,
And that before I can believe
He first must let me see.
It is enough for me to know
Tis true because He says ‘tis so;
On His unchanging Word I’ll stand
And trust till I can understand.”
E. M. Winter
Today’s Study Text:
“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
II Timothy 2: 15
“Why I Love Studying the Bible! Part 1
“There’s Nothing Better to Study”
“The treasures of the Bible can be found only by those who dig for them.”
How much time do I spend in God’s Word each day?
When I study the Bible faithfully, what changes am I able to witness in my own life?
“The difference between reading and study is like the difference between drifting in a boat and rowing toward
“A verse must be read often, and re-read and read again before the wondrous message of love and power that God has put into it begins to appear. Words must be turned over and over in the mind before their full force and beauty takes possession of us. One must look a long time at the great masterpieces of art to appreciate their beauty and understand their meaning, and so one must look a long time at the great verses of the Bible to appreciate their beauty and understand their meaning.”
R. A. Torrey
Happy New Year! I can write this phrase with great confidence and anticipation for as we begin our New Year – 2015, on bended knee and with an open Bible, no matter what life happens to throw at us in the next 12 months, we can say with assurance, “Happy am I!”
As we begin 2015, I want to spend a few weeks sharing with you why the Bible stands out as the book of books – above all others in my library. I love reading God’s Holy Word. But I must confess, it hasn’t been but the last eight years that through prayerful exploration I have learned so much more as day-by-day, we study the Bible together here in Transformation Garden. There are literally days where I can hardly wait to get down to my “writing closet” because I am so excited to see what God will help us uncover in His Word. There’s an old saying that, “the devil is not afraid of the Bible that has got dust on it.” Let me tell you, here in Transformation Garden, every day as we find a new text of encouragement revealed or some Biblical truth becomes clear – we are giving the evil one a run for his money. One of my favorite authors is A.W. Tozer whose powerful writings always stir my heart. As he shares, “If I was the devil, one of my first aims would be to stop folk from digging into the Bible.”
As I prayerfully considered how to begin this year’s devotionals, I came to the conclusion that it would do my heart a lot of good to reaffirm the truth, comfort and power we find in Scripture. For over eight years, beginning with the book of Genesis, we’ve been “studying through” the Bible. At first I estimated this would be a five-year endeavor. Guess what? I was completely wrong! In fact, I find that I was rather arrogant to think that we could just jog through Scripture. Author and pastor R. C. Sproul points out that “The Word of God demands the closest possible scrutiny. It calls for the most excellent scholarship. It makes the finest point of technical analysis worth the effort.”
As I’ve shared with you, I am not a noted Biblical scholar or renowned theologian. I’ve learned by studying – daily. This is the way I studied all through school. I wasn’t a “gifted” student. I had to burn the midnight oil, so to speak, studying and memorizing. But it was this concerted effort in my early life which now I’ve transferred over to my personal study of God’s Word. I spend time in the Bible every day and late into the evening. And the more I study, the more I love the Scriptures. This shouldn’t surprise me one bit for as William Romaine explains, “the longer you read the Bible, the more you will like it; it will grow sweeter and sweeter; and the more you get into the spirit of it, the more you will get into the spirit of Christ.” Isn’t that what we all want to do – get to know Jesus better? So what better way than to daily, take the time and put the effort into feasting on God’s Word.
The Apostle John, who loved Jesus so deeply and spent a lifetime in the company of his Lord, left us these words of advice from Jesus, Himself:
“Search and investigate and pore over the Scripture diligently…because they testify about Me!”
John 5: 39
During the coming year, as we trace the footsteps of the earthly Kings and witness God at work in the lives of His children, even during times of great apostasy and exile, we will see revealed our Father’s great love and mercy – even when His children didn’t deserve His compassionate care. And as for the time it is taking us to get through God’s Word, I take encouragement and instruction from Jeanne Guyon who lived in the 17th century: “Those who read (the Bible), reap no more advantage than a bee would by only skimming over the surface of a flower, instead of waiting to penetrate into it, and extract its sweets.”
In 1842, Thomas Watson and Samuel Lee penned a book entitled, The Bible and the Closet. While this volume contained a great deal from which I could feast, it was their words of warning which really struck me, “Many come rashly to the reading of the Word, and no wonder if they come without preparations, they go away without profit.” These words really struck a chord in my heart for when I was but a child, my grandma said to me, “Dorothy, never attempt to study God’s Word without thoughtful prayer first.” I’d always wondered why grandma would bow her head as she opened God’s Word and now I know the reason for she continued with this unforgettable statement, “Before you read, ask God to send His Spirit to help you understand what you are reading.” There have been days when I’ve been working on a particular devotional and my thoughts aren’t flowing well or I just can’t seem to find the right quotes or prayers. And so, I ask God again – sometimes stopping 3 or 4 times – for His precious Spirit to clear my mind as I study. I share this with you because when we open God’s Word together, if we are all seeking to have the Holy Spirit be our “tutor” as we read God’s message in the Bible, we are promised we will be lead into “all truth.” As author and teacher Kay Arthur states in her terrific book, How to Study Your Bible, “Ultimately, the goal of personal Bible study is a transformed life and a deep and abiding relationship with Jesus Christ…when you know what God says, what He means, and how to put His truths into practice, you will be equipped for every circumstance of life.” May this be the result of our Bible study in this New Year.
“Draw the honey out of the comb of Scripture, and live on is sweetness.”
C. H. Spurgeon
When You Study Your Bible
1. READ THE BIBLE WITH AN EARNEST DESIRE TO UNDERSTAND IT.
Do not be content to just read the words of Scripture. Seek to grasp the message they contain.
2. READ THE SCRIPTURES WITH A SIMPLE, CHILDLIKE FAITH AND HUMILITY.
Believe what God reveals. Reason must bow to God’s revelation.
3. READ THE WORD WITH A SPIRIT OF OBEDIENCE AND SELF-APPLICATION.
Apply what God says to you and obey His will in all things.
4. READ THE HOLY SCRIPTURES EVERY DAY.
We quickly lose the nourishment and strength of yesterday’s bread. We must feed our souls daily upon the manna God has given us.
5. READ THE WHOLE BIBLE AND READ IT IN AN ORDERLY WAY.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable.” I know of no better way to read the Bible than to start at the beginning and read straight through to the end, a portion every day, comparing Scripture with Scripture.
6. READ THE WORD OF GOD FAIRLY AND HONESTLY.
As a general rule, any passage of Scripture means what it appears to mean. Interpret every passage in this simple manner, in its context.
7. READ THE BIBLE WITH CHRIST CONSTANTLY IN VIEW.
The whole Book is about Him. Look for Him on every page. He is there. If you fail to see Him there, you need to read that page again.”
C. H. Spurgeon
“Thank You, heavenly Father, You wrote this Bible for me. I beg the Holy Spirit for help; open my mind; let me see things clearly; keep me from walking astray.”
From Wuyang county of
Henan Province, China
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P. S. Many of you have asked how to send a gift to Transformation Garden. You can help support our work by giving a gift through Paypal or you can send your gift to: Transformation Garden, 2675 West SR89A, PMB 1121, Sedona, Arizona 86336. Thank you so much.
Also, if you should happen to miss a devotional for some reason, you can go to www.transformationgarden.com and you will find archived devotionals. We also place the daily devotionals on Facebook so you can find them on that site also.
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For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.