WHAT YOU WILL LEARN IN THIS CHAPTER
- You will see why it is necessary to discipline yourself to study in order to be an effective preacher.
- You will be able to describe a good place to study.
- You will learn different ways to study the Bible.
- “Jotham was mighty because he ordered his ways before the Lord” (2 Chron 27:6). Don’t fool yourself; the people you speak to can tell when you’ve taken time to prepare and when you haven’t. There are many pressing needs, but study is always important. Schedule a certain time every week to work on sermons and lessons. Notice I said “sermons and lessons,” not just that week’s message. You will work on the sermons and lessons you will deliver that week. You will also work on messages you’ll deliver in the future, adding notes, Scriptures, illustrations, and polishing the form.
Let your family and your congregation know when and where you’ll be studying. Encourage them to leave you alone during this time. You may have to do some adjusting until you find the best time for you, but don’t be afraid to set a time and enforce it. There is a tendency to look at preparation time as not being “real ministry”. But it is very important.
If it’s important to set aside time, it’s also important to set aside a place. This place may be a study in your house or church. It may be a corner of a room, but it should be secluded and quiet. It should be a place that can be isolated from the activity of others. It should be comfortable.
Prepare your spirit to receive from the Holy Spirit. Spend some time praying and worshiping. It is the Spirit that will help you include exactly what needs to be in your message. The Bible is God’s revelation to us. It is not just a book of history. It is the account of God’s dealings with man and how He has revealed Himself to us. It is not the account of man’s search for God. God was never lost. Man is lost, and the Bible tells us how God found him.
The test of an experience is its biblical foundation. Many times we try to prove the Bible by our experiences. Instead, we must prove all our experiences by the Bible. I have read about people who claimed they had died and gone to a place full of light and nice music. Some of these people said they were not Christians. In spite of their experience, the Bible does not say that the unsaved go to a nice place after they die. We should use illustrations from experience to illustrate our sermons and lessons, but be certain that those experiences are proven by the Scriptures.
STUDY THE BIBLE IN THESE WAYS:
Read it all the way through. Get a look at the whole Bible. See how one book relates to another.
Read each book. See the setting of the book, when it was written, and what was happening in history at the time it was written. Why was the book written? This is especially true when you are studying the letters of the New Testament.
Let the Bible inspire you while you read it. Be challenged and lifted by its message. Read it and apply it to yourself, not just for your congregation. It is quite possible that a minister can study the Bible for others, but never let the Book touch him where he lives. He must be concerned that his message touches his congregation. He must always let it touch himself.
Study different subjects. For example, praise is a very exciting subject to study through all the Bible.
Study the Bible carefully. Pay attention to detail, names, meanings and locations. Learn to read with emphasis like someone speaks.
Study it prayerfully. Ask God to speak to you.
Study it regularly. Be systematic.