Kay Arthur on Inductive Bible Study: Observation, Interpretation & Application
- Monday, August 01, 2011
Arthur also bristles when she hears people differentiating between "devotions" and "Bible study," which she believes can and should be understood as one and the same. "Somebody said to me once, ‘I feel bad, because I'm spending time studying the Bible, but I need to have my devotions.' Well, what is ‘devotions,' but hanging on God's every word and wanting to know what He says and how to do it?"
"My goal is to get people to open their Bibles. I know many people use PowerPoint now, so that people can just look at texts on the screen. Yet, when I leave church, I'm not going to have that PowerPoint, but I will have my Bible. And when I mark my Bible and make it my own, and know what side of the page those verses are on, I have my tool with me all the time. So I tell people, even if they're using PowerPoint, take your Bible. Open it. Look at it. Check out the context of the passage—what comes before it, what comes after it on the page; it's so important. I find when I read through the Bible, book by book, the Holy Spirit begins to cross-reference the Word of God for me, bringing other Scriptures to mind, and then Scripture becomes the interpreter for Scripture."
Realizing that her life has not been easy or free of painful tragedies helps one to fully appreciate Kay Arthur's love of Scripture and passion for imparting that love to others. When her daughter-in-law died last August, Arthur had been studying the book of Job. "I remember telling God, ‘I don't understand this book. I'm going to have to read it again.' But just moving through and seeing those things about God and reading Job say, ‘this is my consolation' and ‘I rejoice in my unsparing pain that I have not denied the words of the Holy One,' I see now that God was preparing me for what was to come."
This truth became very practical recently when Arthur was with her granddaughter. "We were outside and it was about to rain, and she wanted to get back in the house, and I said, ‘yes, we'll go inside, but first, come here for a few minutes.' I took her out and the wind was blowing and we could hear the thunder in the background, and I said to her, ‘I want to read to you from Job.' I read from where it talks about the thunder in God's voice and the lightening in His hand.
You're sitting there reading these things about God, and all of a sudden everything else in life falls into place—you know that everything is under God's sovereign hand. As you read through a book and linger over the words, not rushing but savoring them, it's like food. When you eat fast, you take in more, but your insides don't have a chance to really digest the food well. Likewise, when you read quickly through a passage, you don't have time to fully digest it and allow it to nourish your spiritual person. We need to take time to savor the truth."
Something Arthur is doing to help her granddaughter learn to savor God's Word is to read through the book of Proverbs with her. At thirty-one chapters, many people make it a practice to read one chapter for each day of the month.
"We don't have time to read the whole chapter, but each morning at breakfast, we'll take a verse or two and read them and then discuss them." Arthur is convinced that if more people lingered over even one or two verses, rather than quickly breezing through bigger chunks of Scripture, they would be more ready to face the day.
God continues to bless the work of Precept Ministries, whose resources are now available in over seventy different languages and are being distributed to over one-hundred-fifty nations. With the growth of her impact overseas, Arthur is more mindful than ever of the unique challenges facing Christians, especially vocational ministers, in hostile nations. There, where pastors are often leading multiple underground churches under the intense scrutiny of governmental authorities, the need for encouragement and times of refreshing is great. Arthur's advice to these men and women is the same advice she would give any Christian facing fatigue or weariness in ministry: Seek renewal in the word of God.
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