God's Masterwork...A Treasure Worth Finding
- 2002 3 Oct
The Bible-the very words and wisdom of God. What an incredible thought. And not the theoretical sort of wisdom intended to merely raise our IQ a few notches. It is practical stuff geared to show us how to live our lives successfully. Nothing in this world is of greater value, or of more importance than the truth of this book. That is why Solomon writes:
If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will discern the fear of the Lord, And discover the knowledge of God.(Proverbs 2:4-5)
Here is the wisdom we need to let us know when we are moving in the wrong direction, show us how to get back on track, and teach us how to live as God intended ( see 2 Timothy 3:16). And since God is the author, we can be certain His Word is reliable and true.
So why don't we dig into Bible study more than we do? Possibly because our attempts have proven less than spectacular. While we see others hitting the mother lode of spiritual discovery, we feel that we've come up with little more than fool's gold. We may begin our quest with great enthusiasm, but it isn't long before disappointment and discouragement can set in. Somehow our efforts often don't meet our expectations.
If this describes your experience, take heart. By adding a few simple skills to your repertoire, Bible study can become the great experience you have heard others talk about. Let's look at a few ideas that will enrich the time you spend in God's Word.
It's unwise to load up our bodies with a huge meal then go for a week or two without food. The same is true spiritually. Regularity and consistency are critical. Here are some ideas that might help.
- Pick a time when you are least likely to be interrupted. Then, discipline yourself to keep the appointment, even when you don't feel like it.
- Study at the same place each time, and stay there. This will help your mind shift into Bible study gear more quickly.
- Keep everything you need right at hand. Bible, study books, devotionals, pen, and paper should be within reach.
- Ask God to give you understanding. The Holy Spirit is the ultimate teacher, and He will lead you into all truth.
Without a plan you will be turning over shovelfuls of empty dirt. You have to know where and how to dig, as well as what you're looking for. Begin by selecting a passage of interest to you. Then read it through prayerfully several times and ask yourself three questions about each verse.
First, what does it say? This is observation. Be sure you understand the meanings of words. Try and uncover the who, what, when, when, where, and why of the passage. Second, what does it mean? This is interpretation. Once you understand the words, you can form them into deeper thoughts and teachings. Try and discover what it meant to the original audience. Enter into their world, their culture, their land, and their time. Third, what does it mean to me? This is application. By now, you should begin to see a key truth emerging. When you begin to understand the main point, you can apply it to your life.
A book that wonderfully develops this even more is Living by the Book by Howard and William Hendricks.
Be thorough What looks like a worthless dirt clod might conceal a valuable gold nugget. So don't overlook the details within the major themes of a passage. Invest in a few resources. A good study Bible is a great place to begin. These contain abbreviated libraries right within the text of the Scripture. In addition, you'll want to have a good concordance and a Bible dictionary. Later, you can add a couple of one-volume commentaries on the entire Bible.
So go ahead, grab your gear and get ready to dive in and explore the hidden reaches of biblical discovery! It's a great sign of spiritual maturity and an indication that you're growing in your walk with the Lord as you uncover for yourself the priceless gems of biblical truth waiting to be found.