Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Time in the Word Struggle - Part 4
Oh, yes, we're still on methodology.
Hopefully you've gotten yourself a new notebook by now and a really cool pen. There's just something about that crisp, new notebook and a good, smooth-working pen that makes the study all that more enjoyable.
I also hope you not only have a Bible, but you've also picked out your book to study. I know that a lot of life is done electronically these days, but I do suggest you have a hard copy of the Word in front of you, just in case you want to underline something or highlight, or even jot a note or comment in the margin.
***Make your Bible a useful tool. The mind remembers colors and location. Say you want to share something with a friend and you've highlighted or noted it in your Bible. Your mind will remember that it is in orange and it's on the upper right side of the page - you flip through and find it much quicker than pulling out your phone, clicking on the app of the Bible and scrolling endlessly until you remember the reference.***
So here we go...
Start with prayer - inviting the Holy Spirit to teach you, to guide you and to give you understanding is always a good thing.
Next, read the first section of the first chapter of the book you want to study. Most Bibles section off narratives with headings or by paragraph. You don't have to work on a whole chapter - just a portion. For example, say you want to study through the book of Luke. Luke 1:1-4 is titled in my Bible "Preface: The method and purpose of writing." This actually gives me an idea of what I am about to read, but for starters I am going to look at the first four verses. To begin I will write in my notebook: Luke 1:1-4.
Remember, your goal is not to finish this book in the Bible as quickly as you possibly can. The goal is...here it comes...I don't think I've spelled it out yet...so don't miss this...the goal is...to know God better. Period. That's it. I want your basic Bible study to be all about Jesus. The better you know Him, the easier it will be to please Him, to imitate Him, to understand Him, to love Him - basically, the better you know Him, the closer you will be to Him.
So, we're scouring His Word, looking for God. We want to know what He's like - what makes Him happy, what ticks Him off, what He wants us to know about life - it's all in there. So when you read your first section of verses, simply answer this question - what did this portion of scripture tell me about God? And then write it in your notebook next to the reference.
Let's stay with my Luke example. If you turn in your Bible and read Luke 1:1-4, it is an introduction to the book. Luke explains that he is writing this to a man named Theophilus so that he may know the truth of what had happened during the life of Jesus. He does say he carefully investigated, speaking to witnesses so that his account would be accurate.
Okay. What does this teach me about God? This is actually a bit harder than the rest of the book because after all, it's only an introduction. Well, here's what I would write in my notebook: God chose a man who was interested in accuracy and truth, and would carefully investigate all the details, so that a thorough account of the life of Jesus would be written for me to read, two thousand years after Jesus walked this earth. The character of the man was important because the subject matter is so precious. God used a man who would be reliable, would check the facts and be accurate in his writing, so I can have confidence in the words of this book. Thank you, Lord.
Now, move on.
As you work your way through Luke, you are going to see God use angels as messengers and sinful, flawed men for His glory. You are going to see Jesus fulfill scripture to the letter, as miracles flow from His finger and wisdom falls from His lips. Capture it all. Write down every time Jesus quietly moves away from the crowd to pray. See His dependence and His willingness to be led by the Spirit. Write down His tone with the disciples and with the Pharisees - why is He tender with one and frustrated with the other? Make observations, but keep your focus on Jesus.
Okay...this is long enough. I'll continue later, but this is enough for you to get started. For those of you actually reading this (Julie and Jill), if you have any questions, throw them in the comment section and I'll get to them...