More often than not, I think most Christians aren’t exactly sure how to approach their own Bible study. Some will choose a book – usually a New Testament book because, let’s face it, Habakkuk isn’t exactly easy to understand – and skim over those coffee cup verses. Others will just flip open their Bible and wherever it lands, like a cosmic-spiritual fortune cookie, must be their special word for the day. Even worse, Christians have this horrible tendency to treat devotional books as Scripture.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (ESV) Obviously, and as goes without saying, studying God’s Word(s) to us is incredibly important. Eternally important. So, how do you study the Bible? Or, rather, how do you handle the weight of our holy, triune, Father in Heaven speaking to you?
That tone changes things, doesn’t it? Historically, I have been horribly lazy when it comes to Bible study. Only recently have I begun to enjoy the massive responsibility of rightly dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15). In many ways, I can’t get enough Bible these days! My problem, now, is how to direct my energy?
I have found the best way to be, simply, choosing a book of the Bible and working my way through it. Working carefully, methodically, and reverently. Check out some commentaries by trusted scholars and pastors. Write your pastor with questions – there’s a novel idea! Invest in Scripture. I’m trying (trying!) to memorize the book of Ephesians right now. It has never occurred to me to memorize a whole book, even of something as important as Scripture. I probably have memorized the lyrics to hundreds of songs with no problem. You may have memorized your fair share of song lyrics, or sports stats, or movie quotes, or whatever. What an awfully convicting realization.
Psalm 119 uses tons of language about writing God’s word on our hearts. How else is this accomplished if we aren’t in the Word? Soaking up the Word? And, of course, living the Word?
The Holy Spirit has really been pressing into me on some major issues in my life that I need to address. Issues that reveal, in practice, where my affections lie. Do I treasure Christ above all else? I should be more than willing to take more time than ever to see what He says.