Notes on “The Big Issue” 28 June 2011
How Can I get more out of the Bible?
Often speakers are urging people to spend more time in the word of God, rightly telling them of all the benefits that will happen in their lives if they do. But how? Tonight’s session is geared at helping us practically to get into the Bible. We will answer three questions:
1. Why Bother?
2. How Can I intake the Word?
3. How Can the word make a difference in my life?
1. Why Bother?
Do the following exercise from Psalm 19.
The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever.
The decrees of the LORD are firm, and all of them are righteous.
They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.
By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
a. What Does God say here about His Word?
b. What Benefits will the word bring to your life?
2. How Can I intake the word
Note the following ways of getting the word into your life
Hearing: week by week we have the opportunity to hear God’s word preached. In addition there are countless opportunities to hear tapes, dvds and now there are thousands of sermons available on the internet. We are not short of opportunities to hear God’s word.
Reading: we have 66 books of the Bible that most of us could easily read cover to cover in less than a year. It is perfectly true that we won’t understand all of it. We are separated from it by distance, by time, by culture and by language. But there are so many helps to enable us to understand what we read. David Pawson’s “Unlocking the Bible” is highly recommended – enabling us to understand the culture behind each book before we read it
Studying: This is the means by which we consider a specific topic that we want to get to grips with. For example, if I am getting married, I want to understand what the Bible says about marriage. There are helps to enable me to do this, concordances, lexicons etc Bible dictionaries. But most Christian books are written so that we can have this done for us without too much pain.
Memorising: an invaluable way of making the word of God real every moment of the day. This is an exacting and demanding exercise, to memorise portions of the word of God. But the rewards are boundless.
Meditating: This is the practice that enables us to get a firm grip of the word. Without meditating upon it, it is hard to retain what God has put in our hearts. But meditation gives us the firm grip on the word that will change our lives. Hence our third question…
3. How Can the Word make a difference in my life?
Meditation upon the word – spiritually “chewing the cud” – enables the word of God to go deep into our lives.
If we are to be serious about this here are a number of things to consider:
Quiet – meditating on the word is not something that can be done sitting in front of the tv listening to music and having a phone conversation
Time – if I am serious about meditating on the word I must give time to it. Putting the teo together, it means that there must be a time that I set aside to be with God, to pray, worship and to spend time meditating on the word. The quiet time is a non-neogtiable ina believers life
Routine – continuing on the same theme, we need to have the routine of a time each day that we go to the same place to meditate
Program – a great help to systematic meditating on the word is to have a program whereby, for instance, we go through a book. Bible reading notes, Explore, Daily Bread etc are excellent for this. They are a help I giving structure to our intake of the word. They can not do ti for us, but they are able to help.
Below are two exercises to help us learn how to meditate on God’s word:
Take a verse from the Bible:
Eg “The Lord is my shepherd”
Spend time on it emphasising each word in turn
Write down what God says to you
Try it with Psalm 23 v.2:
“He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside quiet waters”
What does this passage say in my own words?
Is there something I can learn about God?
Is there a promise or a warning here for me?
Is there a command here for me to obey?
Now try the exercise on these verses from Psalm One:
Psalm 1 – v 1-3
1 Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the LORD,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
Finally note what the Lord said to Joshua as he stood on the verge of the Promised Land:
8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
28 June 2011