How is your grip on the Bible?
This past Sunday I preached from Proverbs 4:20-27 on the need for us to attend to and guard God’s Word in our life.
After walking through why we must attend to and guard God’s Word in our life, I concluded with how we attend to and guard God’s Word in our life. First, we must take God at His Word (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16-17). Kevin DeYoung has written an excellent book that I highly recommend on this very point. Second, I said that we must spend time in God’s Word daily.
My hope with this post is that you prayerfully consider how you can grow in spending time alone with God in His Word - daily. And to encourage you in this process I want to remind you of six ways we can spend time in God’s Word.
Pastor Mitch Maher in his Clarifying The Bible workshop (which SOMA has hosted and will host again) uses the image of ones hand to exhort us to “get a grip on the Bible… for a lifetime.”
Which of these areas do you need to be stretched in and to grow in?
These are Maher’s comments and explanations on each of the six ways.
Hear the Word
Every Christian needs to cultivate the discipline of hearing the word of God, whether it is being read or being taught. There are great resources available like the Bible on CD and of course online, which allow a person to hear the word of God over and over. Also, all Christians need to avail themselves of good Bible teaching—through audio resources, but most importantly in their own local churches.
Read the Word
It is not enough for a Christian simply to hear the word of God read or taught. Each Christian must also cultivate the personal discipline of Reading the Word. Reading the Word refers to working through books of the Bible at a decent pace. It is sitting down and reading Genesis over the course of a week or two. It is setting aside 30 minutes to read through Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. It is simply Reading the Bible.
Study the Word
It is not enough to hear and read the word of God. The Christian must also study God’s word. If reading is working through books of the Bible at a decent pace, then Studying the Word is working through passages of the Bible slowly but surely. It involves a pen and paper in hand, making note of key words, pondering relationships between paragraphs, doing word studies, etc. Reading the Word is like flying over a city to get the “lay of the land.” Studying the Word is like getting out of the plane and walking the streets to become much more familiar with the surroundings.
Memorize the Word
It is not enough to hear, read, and study the word of God. The Christian must also cultivate the discipline of Memorizing the Word. The psalmist said, “Your Word I have treasured in my heart that I may not sin against You” (Psalm 119:11 NASB). This involves taking favorite verses, pertinent passages, and even whole books of the Bible, and working diligently to store them up in your mind. In spiritual warfare with Satan, Jesus quoted Scripture that He had memorized (Matthew 4:1-11).
Meditate on the Word
It is not enough to hear, read, study, and memorize the word of God. The Christian must also meditate on God’s word. Meditating on the Word is totally distinct from new-age-type meditation that encourages the emptying of the mind. Biblical meditation rather encourages believers to fill their minds with God’s truth, running the thoughts of God’s word through their minds over and over. The psalmist said of the godly person, “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:2 NASB).
Apply the Word
Finally, it’s not even enough to hear, read, study, memorize, and meditate on the word of God. The Christian must move on to applying the word of God. Is there a sin to avoid? Is there a promise to claim? Is there an example to follow? Is there a command to obey? Is there a prayer to express? What does this passage teach about God, ourselves, what God has done, and how we should respond?
Which one area can you grow in today? Maybe it is memorizing the Bible - this weeks Fighter Verse is a great place to start (Psalm 20:6-8). Maybe it is studying the Bible - and if you are a man at SOMA then the upcoming Deeper Study is a great place to start.
May God help all of us “get a grip on the Bible by HEARING, READING, STUDYING, MEMORIZING, MEDITATING ON, and APPLYING the Bible for a lifetime.”