If you spend any time at all cooking in the kitchen, you know that it is not always the big things that keep you from preparing a meal. Often, it is the little things that you need, and don’t have, that wreak havoc on your plans. You bought the steak, but realize that you don’t have seasoning. When you decide to make that romantic pasta dinner for your wife, you are right in the middle of it all when you realize there is no garlic in the house. It is the seemingly small things that derail us.
It is the same in your walk with the Lord. I will make a bold statement here: You cannot walk with the Lord faithfully without spending time in the Word of God. For many, studying the Bible is intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. I’d like to share with you a few things that, I believe, will help you fall in love with the Word of God.
You must approach your pursuit of God in faith. As you read your Bible, it is a demonstration of your faith. In faith, you know God is with you at that moment. In faith, you know He will reveal Himself to you as you read. See your Bible study as exercising your faith. Why? “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6, NIV1984)
Remember, the Bible is unlike any other book. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:13-14) Your understanding and application of God’s Word is a work of the Holy Spirit, who is in you. (1 Cor. 6:19) So, the pressure is off. Do your part and watch for God to do His.
Here are the steps to a fruitful Bible study:
- Pray. Ask God to open the scripture to you.
- Start with a short book. (I recommend Philippians)
- Read the entire book. It is OK if it takes you several days.
- Start at the beginning and read 10-12 verses.
- In a notebook, write the date and the passage you are reading. Then, make some notes about what the passage means. Not what it means to you…what it means.
- Take a moment and write how you are going to apply the truth.
- Write a short prayer asking God to help you live out the truth.
Finally, don’t be a Pharisee! It is not about the checkbox. It is about a relationship. Stop saying, “I need to read my Bible and pray more so that I can be who God wants me to be”. Bible study and prayer are about the relationship, not just information or knowledge. Those will come when you get to know the Savior in the context of a deeper relationship.