25 Oct 2021

How to Study the Bible #16: Last Words

Submitted by John T Reagan

I suppose that when most people pull up an article titled How to Study the Bible, they are expecting instruction on lots of methods and techniques.  This series wasn’t like that.  To be sure, I did suggest that my readers try out a few methods like just reading it without worrying about how deep you are going with your understanding.  The understanding will come, but sometimes quantity is better than quality.  I also suggested repeatedly speed-reading a chosen section, thus giving the Holy Spirit a chance, through repetition, to open up the truths contained in His word.  I may have mentioned a couple of other techniques, but, really, technique and method can actually stifle your time studying the Bible if you get so focused on the technique that you forget the Person the Bible is all about.  There are Bible study techniques out there that are very good, in their own fashion, but I find them objectionable because they either turn the reading of the word of God into an automated process or intellectualize our study times to the point that we miss the heart of God.  Bible study is neither an automatic process nor an intellectual exercise.  While our intellects and the processes we use can enhance Bible study, our time spent in the word of God is about our personal relationship with God and growing in that relationship.  That is why, at the beginning of this series, I laid down the four principles of Bible study.  I hope you printed out that little poster I made for you, but just in case you didn’t, here they are again:

Principle 1:    God’s word is true regardless of our perceptions or feelings.

Principle 2:    We interpret the scriptures according to the revelation of the Holy Spirit as He reveals to us the meaning, heart, and life He wrote into it.  

Principle 3:    The most straightforward interpretation is usually closer to the truth than a complicated and involved explanation.  

Principle 4:    When the teachings of the Bible conflict with our common culture, the Bible wins and, when all is said and done, it is the Bible’s teachings on which we must base our lives.

Those four principles are the driving force behind all that I have said in this series of posts.  If you do not believe the Bible is true, or if you try to pick and choose what you believe based on how you feel about it or how it conflicts with your current mindset, then the Bible is meaningless.  If you object to the teaching contained in one particular passage and so decide that it was written for “those people living back then” rather than being relevant for you in the here and now, what is to prevent you from assigning the same kind of reasoning to the next “troublesome passage” you come across?  And then the next?  And then the next, until the Bible has become for you an irrelevant book full of ancient, unimportant writings.  I absolutely guarantee that if you continue to read the Bible, you will be challenged in just that way multiple times.  If instead, you choose to believe in the absolute truth of what the Bible says, in its most straightforward meaning, and then settle back in the spirit/Spirit and listen to what the Holy Spirit has to say, the truth will echo in your heart.  In all likelihood, you will hear Him calling you to repent in some way.  He may, through what you read in the Bible, ask you to change the way you have been thinking and apply the teaching of the word to the life principles that drive you.  That could be a hard thing to do, but isn’t it better than just dismissing it because it doesn’t match up with the ways of the world around you?  When mixed with faith and approached in this fashion, the written word of God becomes a sure foundation, a rock on which you can build your life.  

Go with God, my friend.

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Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

Matt 7:24-25

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