Remember, God has given us His Word so that we can know Him. His Word is Truth, and should not be changed or added to. God’s Word is full of promises and benefits, and those will remain until they have accomplished every purpose for which they were sent (see Isaiah 55:10-XX).
We can trust in the Word of God, because it is backed up with the almighty power and unmatched authority of God Himself. What He has said, He will do! (Ref…).
SOME PRACTICAL GUIDELINES FOR SUCCESSFUL STUDY
Being very familiar with the contents of the Bible is a worthwhile objective. However, our highest priority should be to systematically study the Scriptures for the purpose of applying its power and truth to our everyday lives.
In the following section is a checklist of helpful steps. If you review these steps closely, and put them into action, you will insure a rewarding and life-changing experience with the Word of God.
- Establish a consistent daily reading of God’s Word. Without this first and most basic step, you will never truly develop a healthy and profitable Bible reading pattern. As mentioned above, the Bereans wisely “searched the Scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11).
Scripture tells us that we should be “redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:16). A daily feeding (reading) on God’s Word is a very important part of redeeming each day, along with our personal worship and prayer time.
Being “too busy” to read God’s Word is a trap laid by the devil, and is meant to starve us to death spiritually (or at least weaken us so much that we are more easily defeated by sin and temptation). All of us need to drink fluids and eat food daily to sustain our physical bodies. It is no different when it comes to reading God’s Word – we need its nourishment to sustain us spiritually!
In reading daily, set aside a specific time and place to read. It should be a place free from distractions like T.V. or radio. Pick out a specific and regular time of day. The morning is usually the best time, before distractions start and our mind gets cluttered with activities. Also read your Bible even when you don’t feel like it. It’s when we don’t want to read the Bible that we most need to read.
- Pray for “illumination”. We need the anointing of the Holy Spirit to understand the Scriptures (I Cor. 2: 10-14). Pray, which is simply talking with God, while you read His Word. Invite the presence of the Holy Spirit to meet with you and be with you during your reading time.
God knows what a Scripture means, and He wants to help you understand it. We get into trouble and can have wrong interpretations if we use only our human reasoning. If something doesn’t make sense to you, mark it in your Bible and ask God to give you illumination as to its meaning. You will discover over time that He will answer your request.
- Meditate upon what you read. God commends the man whose “delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law he meditates day and night” (Ps 1:2). Take time to stop and reflect upon what you are reading.
The word “meditate” actually means to “chew the cud”. When cows chew a mouthful of grass, it is then swallowed. Their stomach is made in such a way that a cow will bring the grass back up, chew it some more and again swallow it. We should not hastily “gulp down” the eternal Word of God without allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal insights to us. We should think on what we have read throughout our day, and allow the Holy Spirit to bring it back to our minds over and over again.
- Make your study a “personal” one. It is so tempting for us as leaders to study the Scriptures only for our next sermon or Bible teaching. God wants His Word to get deeply into our soul and spirit. He wants His Word to transform us from the inside out. If the shepherd (you) is not feeding himself, he will never adequately feed his sheep (your church or Bible study group). When we are personally convicted, touched and transformed by the Word, the anointing will truly flow through our sermons.
- Develop “comprehension aids”. Keep a journal notebook of the insights and lessons God speaks to you through His Word, and write each one down. This not only helps reinforce what you have learned, but will be a rich resource for you to refer back to.
Make a “subject concordance” for Scriptures that you read. As you come across Scriptures relating to a particular subject (such as “fear”, “sexual temptation”, “greed”, “worship”), write them down in a notebook. You will soon fill pages with “golden nuggets” of God’s truths!