How to get more from my study of the Bible

What is my role as a student of the Word of God? Have you ever thought of that question? We study on our own, we study together in Bible classes. We study with friends and family on occasion. But, what is my responsibility when I study Godís Word?

Thousands of times I have watched people over the years in a Bible study setting and wondered these things. I see people sitting in a class with no Bible at all. Now, in fairness, there are actually people who do not even own a copy of the Scriptures... but as far as church goers are concerned, that has to be rare. I see people with their Bible in tow, but laying aside and not even open. That amazes me somewhat.

I cannot imagine a parent allowing their child to attend a math class without expecting him or her to open the math book and follow along. How would you study Macbeth in English class and not crack open the book? Seems a little difficult to me. How can you have a serious Bible study, have a copy of the Scriptures and not follow along? How can we expect it of a math class and not a Bible class?

I think one of the most important things we must do as a diligent Bible student is to participate by following along in the Scriptures while lessons are being taught. The early church did not have that opportunity because copies of ancient Scripture and what was currently being written were not available to individuals as the completed Scripture is to us.

Another thing is that we must never conclude that "we already know about all of that.Ē One of the Devilís favorite things to do is convince believers that they have no need to know anything more. And, to tell you the truth, he works it on all of us. We will not look for what is not lost. We do not probe what we already know. We must assume ever time we crack the Book that we do not know what is being said. We have to face each area of study with a sense of emptiness in order to allow a filling.

We must ask God to fill us when we study. Do we think that we can take such powerful, God given communication and arrogantly believe that we can catch the depths of it without Divine help? Thatís insane! The Word is His communication with us and without His help, we will not get the full thrust of it.

We must understand that Godís Word is pure and that He said exactly what He wanted to say. At the same time, we must understand that it has been translated out of one language into another. Because the translation was done by men, there is always room for error. God inspired the original, not the translation of the original. It is easy for those translating to inject their own preconceived ideas into word meanings, which can often change the intent of a text.

Context, timing and events surrounding the writing, often shed a great deal of light on the intent of a passage of Scripture. Never should a book or a passage be discussed without an overall view of the context. Words or phrases can be made to say anything you want them to say if they are taken out of their context. We must always be watchful of these matters.

Take your time. Rushed study, whether it is the Bible or any other subject, is always a bad idea. It takes time to associate ideas and understandings. Let time be on your side. It is like eating a good meal. Take your time. Let all the senses work together. Savor every word or thought and always ask yourself, "Whatís the rush?Ē

Finally, and understand this is all just a sketch of things, fall in love with what you are doing. When you study the Word of God, fall in love with it. Let it fill your soul. Let it torture you inside when it needs to. Let it convict you when it needs to. Love does that! Let it course through your veins, even when the Book is closed and you are doing something else. Godís Word is powerful like that. Lay it up in your heart. Keep it ever near.

As serious students of the Word, we have a responsibility that goes deeper than a church attender. As a result, we will become stronger and more helpful to those around us. Then it becomes our target to live, to the best of our ability, the principles of that which we have come to know and understand. That is probably the most difficult part. God will help us. Forgive yourself when you fail. He forgives you! Get up and go for it again. Life will be made richer for those who are serious students of the Word. It canít help but be.



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Staff

Jerry Barlow
Minister
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Mike Gafford
Member
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Cecil Gandy
Member
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