2 Timothy 2:15 - Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the Word of truth.
A few years ago, three-dimensional puzzles flooded the marketplace. Intended for mechanically minded adults, the puzzles came with instructions that sometimes were as baffling as the puzzles themselves.
The problem developed when customers were hard pressed to glean the instruction writer's exact meaning. The puzzles were made in the Far East, and the instructions were printed in technically flawless English. Nevertheless, the logic of these instructions revealed a definite cultural communication gap between the author in Tokyo and his reader in Peoria.
It seems the same sort of thing can happen when we read the Scriptures. Repeatedly, Christians are urged to read the Bible each day. God has made available to us so much power and beauty in His Word. Yet rarely do we hear anyone stop to give us clear, step-by-step directions on how to get the most out of personal Bible study.
Perhaps you already have found a good method. If not, I'd like to share a process that's been helpful to me. It's so exciting to hear Christ speak to my life from His Word. My prayer is that God's Holy Spirit will lead you also into a deeper fellowship with Him through that Word, and that by this you might know and love God the Father and Jesus Christ who He has sent (see John 17:3).
Step 1. In prayer, trust in Jesus' promise that the Holy Spirit "will guide you into all truth" (John 16:13b). Ask Him to settle your mind and prepare your heart as He shows you what He intends you to put to use in your life.
Step 2. Read through the Bible passages you are studying carefully. If you have any Bible study aids (lexicon, concordance, bi-lingual resources like a Hebrew-English or a Greek-English Bible), use them to intensify your study. Continue praying for God's guidance as you read.
Step 3. When God's Word shows you a promise or a word of encouragement or convinces you of something you need to address in your life—stop. Make a note of it in the margin and add this item to your prayer list.
Step 4. Pray about what you have read and thank the Lord Jesus. Ask for His help. Confess your sin. Receive His grace and forgiveness. Respond in whatever way that is called for by the text.
There is so much to be gained from diving into God's Word and swimming deeply in its refreshing waters. When I am consistent and do this regularly, I am always blessed—and often in wonderful and unexpected ways. I learn of a God who has created me, redeemed me through the blood of Jesus Christ, and who is calling me each day unto an eternity with Him.
In response to this blessing, I speak to God from my heart, and He speaks to me from His. He has given us all things, and He invites us to learn more about Him in His glorious Word.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, teach us to be good students of Your Word. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
From The Lutheran Layman, November 1979 issue, "Made in Japan," by Jane Fryar
1. Would you like to listen to the Bible on your phone? You can download FREE apps to do this.
2. Do you memorize favorite Bible passages? Do you have people quiz you to see if you got them right?
3. Do you have a strategy to study the Bible on a regular basis?
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