We are currently in a multi-week series called Real Faith. When we began this project almost a year ago, we sent out a topic survey to over 8,000 people, and, by far, the most requested topics were topics of faith and the Christian life. We are going to have a lot of fun together looking at different areas of Christianity and our Faith and we are so glad you're along for the ride with us!
Today's topic is "Studying the Bible" and we are excited to hear from the Father of our ministries, Dale Forehand, today! Dale has written a powerful and specific blog on the importance of diving deep into studying of The Word of God and we believe you are going to be impacted greatly by his words!
Dale and Jena Forehand are the founders of Stained Glass Ministries a non-profit 501 C3 ministry. They offer conferences and resources to build real relationships.
To find out more about their amazing grace story of marriage, divorce, and re-marriage to one another visit their website www.daleandjena.com.
You can also find them on Facebook and Instagram at @daleandjena
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Our grandson loves dinosaurs.
He knows them by name and loves to make the sounds they make.
He has plastic dinosaurs, stuffed dinosaurs, dinosaur books, and dinosaur clothes. It’s a real thing.
It’s not only him, his friends love them too! No wonder Jurassic Park and the various sequels are making a killing at the box office. The love of dinosaurs is everywhere. But you are probably thinking, “well, that’s great, but what does this have to do with studying the Bible?” Maybe this will help!
A few weeks ago, on our family vacation, much to our surprise and much to our enjoyment, there was a dinosaur exhibit located at the entrance to our condo facility. A huge white tent, filled with animatronic moving dinosaurs. There, in close to life-size proportion, were the T-Rex, Brachiosaurus, Triceratops, Stegosaurus, and others. (To be clear, only know these names because our grandson told us what each one of them was.) He was so excited!
As we toured the exhibit, we noticed this large sand-filled box. It was a hands-on, excavation pit where we could go digging for fossils and old bones of dinosaurs. As we watched our grandson with a small brush and shovel, dig for the hidden treasure under the surface, I was reminded that this is what God wants us to do with his Word.
He wants us to go digging, searching,
and discover the truth we need for our lives.
This is what Dinosaurs have to do with studying the Bible!
Studying the Bible has been a much requested topic for re(a)lationship.
Perhaps this is because many followers of Christ have never been taught how to study the Bible.
Maybe it’s because many Christians have simply had the Bible taught to them by Pastors and others but never really understood or enjoyed reading and studying for themselves.
Some don’t even know how to start
and typically, when someone doesn’t know what to do,
they simply do nothing.
And that is precisely why we are honored to offer you some helpful teaching on how to study the Bible.
The word “study” or “to study” means to devote time and attention to acquiring knowledge. If you really want to study God’s word, it’s going to take devoted time and attention. A “quiet” time with the Lord is great but intentional, devoted time will launch you into greater revelation. Interestingly enough, the Greek word for “knowledge” in scripture means to know through experience, to know through familiarity, to know through intimacy. This is what God longs for when you sit down with him and study his Word. He wants to connect with you, through his Word in a personal, experiential and intimate way. He wants to reveal himself to you, as you study His Word.
But, before we get to some practical ways to study God’s Word, it’s important to understand three foundational principles as you study the Bible (if you haven’t read our blog, Reading between the Lines make sure you read it, it will help). What follows is not exhaustive, but it is enlightening and will serve you well to remember every time you sit down to study God’s Word.
First, God’s Word is alive
You have to approach your study time as an alive journey of discovery. The original Greek word translated here means “to have life.” God’s word moves and breaths because it is alive. It is the very breath of God presented to you in written form, so that you may have life. Simply stated, scripture is alive and has been written so that God can be alive in you, as you discover how to be alive in him.
Second, God’s Word is inspired
(2 Timothy 3:16).
The Greek word for inspiration is rooted in the word “to breath”, “to blow”, or “of the wind”. Genesis 2 tells us that God “breathed” into man and man became a living being. The wind is often a reference to God’s presence in the third person of the Trinity, the promised Holy Spirit. Every time you sit down to study God’s Word, remember that just as God breathed into man, the Holy Spirit breathed upon the hearts of men like David, Mathew, Mark, Paul, Solomon, and others, inspiring them to pen on paper the very breath and voice of God.
Third, God’s Word is productive
(2 Timothy 3:16).
2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that God’s word is God-breathed “so that” the people of God can be “thoroughly furnished” unto all good works. This phrase “thoroughly furnished” comes from two Greek words that mean “out of” or “from” - “fitted for a special aptitude, purpose and given use.” Every time you sit before the Lord to study His word, remember it is here to produce in you and to fit you with everything you need to fulfill God’s purpose for your life. God’s word is alive, inspired, and productive so that you have everything you need to live as His child ( 2 Peter 1-4).
Now for 4 practical ways to help you study God’s Word.
Get Spiritually Aligned first. Invite the Holy Spirit to be your teacher, this is one of His purposes in your life (John 14:26). Before you ever open the scriptures, start with prayer and some worship music. Center yourself in the presence of God. After all, the things of God are spiritually discerned (Matt. 16:17; 1 Cor. 2:14). Slow down, don’t rush through it, enjoy God’s presence, and listen for His voice -He will lead you. Even ask Him, “Lord, what would you have me study today?” Sit still and listen. Sometimes He will give you a word, a thought, a verse. Stay in this posture, it's a great way to start your time in His word.
Get a Revelation Journal. A Revelation Journal is a journal specifically designed for you to write down what God reveals to you. Journaling revelations that you have discovered is an awesome way to remember what God’s Word showed you. You will need this later and because you have it written down, you can retrieve it. It may be revealed today, but it will equip you for your tomorrow.
Go after a topic. Perhaps you want to know more about prayer, patience, or the Fruit of the Spirit. Start with a main topic, dig for a foundational passage, then cross-reference through the concordance in the back of your Bible every place this topic is mentioned in Scripture. As the Holy Spirit Guides you, you will be taken along an amazing journey of discovery based on the topic you are studying.
Go after a book. Studying a book of the Bible is a great way to equip you in your walk with Christ. If you are new in the faith, we would suggest starting in the book of John. If you are trying to grow and mature in your faith as a follower of Christ, study the book of James. If you want to study how the early church handled the sufficiency of Christ, persecution, justification, calling, purpose, and more study the writings of the Apostle Paul. If you want to discover more about the Kingdom of Heaven and Christ's life, study the Gospels.
Regardless of where you start, remember, the purpose of getting into God’s Word is so that God’s Word can get into you.
Never forget that the word of God is a book of examples, not exceptions. It is still applicable today. Friends, the Holy Spirit is waiting to give you revelation as you study God’s Word. As he does, examine your life in light of the passage you are studying, apply the life-giving word to your situation, and make a decision on how you will personally live out what you discover.
Studying God’s Word is about intimacy, connecting with and experiencing your Heavenly Father as you dig and excavate truths for your life, just like our grandson dug for fossils of dinosaurs.