Faithlife Sermons

How to Study the Bible- Part I

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How to Study the Bible, Part I
Introduction:
* I would like to start a small, very simple, series of sermons to take us back to the basics of living as a believer in Jesus Christ this morning.
* Now in this series of messages I will be assuming that all of us here are truly saved, and have not deceived ourselves.
* We will continue with the assumption that you are a Christian and that you know the Lord Jesus Christ, and you have received Him as your savior by faith.
* You’ve opened your heart and invited Christ to come in, take over your life to rule your life to be the Lord of your life.
* You’ve repented of your sinful, fallen nature, and confessed to God that you are a sinner.
* You’ve acknowledged that on your own, you can’t make it to heaven, and the only reason that you will ever go to heaven is because you’ve received the Lord Jesus Christ.
* And now after you have come to Jesus for salvation, what does the Bible teach that a new Christian does?
* I want to try to condense the Christian life down to its simplest form in the next 3 or 4 weeks of sermons.
* I want to remove all of the complexity of being a Christian, and boil the Christian life down to it’s simplest form, so all of us will be reminded of exactly what Jesus expects us to do in order to be followers of Himself.
* My goal is to just share the most practical things of being a follower of Jesus, and the first one we will deal with this morning is how to study the Bible.
* This being said, you may ask yourself, Pastor Woody, why are you always having Bible studies on Sunday and Wednesday nights?
* Why is there so much emphasis on Bible Study in this church? Isn’t going to church on Sunday morning enough?
* Why over the last almost 5 years as your pastor, have I led you in study after study on Sunday nights, and Wednesday nights for the last five years?
* Here is the reason- “There is no other authority equal to the Bible.”
* Here is how our outline will go this morning, and maybe next Sunday, according to the way we progress:
I. Five reasons why it is necessary to study the Bible.
1). First of all it is necessary to study the Bible in order to grow.
2). The second reason that it is necessary to study the Bible is to defeat sin.
3). It is necessarily thirdly to study Scripture in order to prepare yourself for service.
4). It is necessary to study the Scripture in order to be blessed.
5). It is necessary also to study Scripture to help others.
II. Four simple steps to learn how to study the Bible.
1). There needs to be some preparation.
2). The most important step in Bible study is that you read.
3). After reading the Bible, move on to other ways to study the Bible.
4). After you have read the Bible, Studied the Bible, then obligate yourself to teach the Bible.
* Now first of all you’ll notice in the outline that I just gave to you, that the focus this first message on the Basics of the Christian life, is the emphasis on the absolute necessity of Bible study.
* We want to spend the next few minute on the necessity of Bible Study for every Christian in the church.
* Why is Bible study so important that every Christian, no matter what age you are, or how long you have been following Jesus, is commanded for each one of us?
* The reason that studying the Bible is so important this morning is that the Bible is the revelation of God.
* God, the creator of the universe, has written down in a book we call the Holy Bible, a revelation of Himself!
* The Bible is God’s very word to us.
* Because of this, the Bible is the only rule we have for life.
* The Bible is the only standard we have for human behavior.
* The Bible is the highest authority, and the Bible is the only authority this morning.
* There may be other things that you learn in life that help you through life, but they don’t have the authority that Bible does.
* When the Bible speaks on any matter, it is the voice of God, concerning that matter.
* The Bible is authoritative and it becomes, then, for us, the standard of the Christian life.
* Now if that’s the case, then it is very important for us to learn what the Bible says.
* Our most basic priority in life then, is to be able systematically study the Bible and find out what it says.
* It is of utmost importance not only to “know what the Bible says,” but what the Bible means when it says something.
* There are a lot of people who read what the Bible says, but they don’t know what it means by what it says.
* They know what the Bible says, but they do not understand the Bible.
* So the thought I want you to remember is that the number one priority of every Christian is to acknowledge that the Bible is the authority by which every Christian lives.
* There is no other authority equal to the Bible.
* There are some Christians who read all kinds of books rather than the Bible.
* They study about the Bible but they don’t study the Bible.
*The primary and most basic principle for living the Christian life is to to study the word of God.
* Through the Bible God speaks to men.
* Now there are other good books that other men speak through, with emphasis on Scripture and application and interpretation but there is no substitute for the Authority of the Bible.
* So in the life of every Christian there must be that daily nourishing and feeding of the soul by the word of God, this is basic and it is critical.
* I want to share, as simple as I can, five simple reasons every Christian must study the Bible:
1). First of all it is necessary to study the Bible in order to grow.
* I Peter chapter two, verse two says, “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow by it.”
* Throughout the New Testament, Christians are spoken of as having been born again.
* You become a child of God. Repeatedly you’re called a child of God, repeatedly you are-called a child or a son of God.
* The Bible says that you have been born into the family of God, you have been adopted as a son of God, you sometimes we are even called babes.
* Now that implies that there is the capacity of life and growth within a new Christian and that, of course, brings us to an obvious conclusion...
* We are to be growing.
* Here Peter says, in I Peter chapter two, that we are to grow by the pure milk of the word, like babies grow.
* If you don’t feed a baby the baby dies.
* The same thing is true with a Christian, we are babies we are to grow, and in order to grow we must always be taking in the milk of the Word of God.
* The word of God, the Bible, is our milk that brings us growth, the word of God is our food, and the word of God is our sustenance.
* In I Corinthians chapter three and verse one, we read in regard to the same thing, “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with solid food; for to this time you were not able to bear it, neither yet now are you able.”
* Now, just pulling one thought out of this passage, The apostle Paul says, “I feed you.”
* Paul says “I Wish I could feed you meat but I can’t so I have to feed you milk, but nevertheless I feed you.
* This just shows us that Paul understood the priority of feeding Christians, and we know what he used to feed the Corinthians, he used the Scripture, the Bible.
* Like the apostle Paul, over the last five years as your pastor, I have attempted to take you from milk baby Christians to mature, meat eating, strong, adult Christians.
* Sometimes the Scripture can be milk and sometimes it can be meat.
* Now that doesn’t mean that some parts of the Bible are milk and some parts are meat.
* Really, the entire Bible is either milk or meat it depends on how deep you go into the words of the Bible.
* For example I can say to you God so loved the world and if you are a brand new Christian you say yea, I understand that.
* Now the thought that God loves you is only the milk of the Word, not the meat.
* But if you will remember, over the past few years I have developed for this congregation the character of God, and explained, the character of God, showing God’s love, by the attributes of His divine personality.
* We have learned together, in detail, how God’s love works. We have defined how God loves in the Scripture, and explained the depths of all that that the “love of God means.”
* and we have seen together that the love of God gets deeper and deeper and deeper and deeper and this is when the milk of John 3.16 begins to become no longer milk, but meat.
* We say for example, God knows everything and that’s a milk statement, but we could develop that to the place where it becomes very complex and that would bring out the “meat” of a simple statement.
* So the apostle Paul recognized the need to feed the congregation, sometimes milk, sometimes meat, depending upon the situation involved.
* Depending upon the aptitude and the ability of the people to receive God’s Word.
* In Colossians Chapter two it says in verse six, “As you have, therefore, received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk you in Him, rooted and built up in Him, and established in the faith.”
* And here again is the idea that Christians are to grow. Rooted and built up- and the way that Christians grow is through the systematic and determined study of the Bible.
* The more we understand the Bible ‘the more established we are, the more built up we are.
* In Jeremiah in an Old Testament passage, Jeremiah fifteen sixteen, Jeremiah said, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them, and the word became within me the joy and rejoicing of my heart.”
* Jeremiah consumed the word of God as it was food to him.
* In Acts Chapter twenty in verse thirty two where Paul is saying good-by to the Ephesians elders, he says, “I commend you to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up.”
* So studying the Bible is necessary if we are to grow. And growth is basic to usefulness.
* Babies aren’t really that useful, I mean they are nice to have around, they are kind of cuddly and you pet them a lot and kiss them and do that kind of stuff, but you can’t really do much with them.
* You can’t say all right baby go and clean out the diaper pail, and by the way, clean up the spaghetti you through all over the kitchen! Make yourself useful!”
* You know they are not really very helpful.
* And there are a lot of Christians just like that.
* They are just in the way- you know you trip over them they are always crawling around the floor like babies, messing with stuff and causing problems.
* Baby Christians that refuse to grow by studying the Bible, are really not a whole lot of use to anybody.
* And the longer they stay that way, the more tragic their Christian life becomes.
* And so we assume that every Christian should desire to grow.
* And we also assume that the only way for a Christian to grow, is to study the Bible.
* And so we see, First of all it is necessary for every single Christian to study the Bible in order to grow.
2). The second reason that it is necessary to study the Bible is to defeat sin.
* We will never be able to defeat sin this morning, unless we defeat it with the word of God.
* In Ephesians Chapter six, what is the item of our armor that is used to fight Satan? What is the one weapon the Christian has?
* The sword of the Spirit which is what? The word of God.
* The thing that defeats Satan’s temptation is the word of God. There are a lot of Scriptures that relate to that.
* It says in Psalm one nineteen, eleven, “Thy word have I hidden in mine heart that I might not sin against Thee.”
* How did Jesus counter the attacks of Satan when He was temped in the wilderness? By quoting the Scriptures, the Word of God.
* When a Christian takes daily doses of the Bible like a medicine, it becomes a preventative to sin.
* The more Scripture we learn, the more difficult it is for us to sin.
* You know, when we were kids, we used to be able to sin, and just kind of enjoy it.
* Before we grew up, we could enjoy a good sin. We could just live it up and have a great old time!
* Now, after studying the Bible, we can’t even get into one little sin, without thinking of fifteen Bible verses screaming to us “Warning! Warning! Warning!
* When we have studied the Bible, we build up an immunity toward sin.
* If you don’t know the truth of God, by systematically, and regularly, studying the Bible, then the Holy Spirit has nothing to bring to your mind to defeat sin with.
* And so the defeating of Satan, the sword of the Spirit, is the studying of the Bible.
* The knowledge of the principles of the word of God become your defense against temptation.
* The Bible asks the question in verse nine of Psalm 119, “Wherewithal or how shall a young man cleanse his way?”
* How do you clean your life up?
* People come to the pastor of the church, and they say my life is a mess! Pastor, how do I clean it up?
* And every time he will reply “By taking heed according to the Word of God, the Bible.
* You see the way to clean your life up is to learn and study the Bible.
* So that the Bible, the Word of God, becomes the dominating factor in your mind.
* You are like a computer. You know what they say about computers, GIGO, garbage in garbage out-, what every you put into your mind is what’s going to come out in your life!
* And if you put in to your mind the word of God, that’s what’s going to come out in your life, righteousness and godliness, and holiness.
* That kind of behavior results from the truth of God being planted within you and allowed to grow by the study of the Bible.
* The Bible says in I John 2:14, “I have written unto you, fathers, because you have known Him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one.”
* The only way to overcome the wicked one is to have the word of God abiding in you.
* So, the first reason to study the Bible is that we might grow and become useful, and the second reason that it is necessary to study the Bible is to defeat sin in our lives.
3). It is necessarily thirdly to study Scripture in order to prepare yourself for service.
* You will find that when you get into the service of the Lord, the knowledge of the word of God becomes your support and strength.
* When you get into a tuff situation, if you have studied the Bible, you will have confidence in it, the Bible becomes your source of strength and confidence.
* When you get into a situation, you will know the principles to solve the situation.
* When you have studied the Bible, you will know how to rightly serve God, and you know the direction of God’s will for your life.
* It’s critical that if you are going to serve the Lord. that you know, and have studied the Bible, otherwise you will go blindly into some activity thinking you are serving God while violating His principles.
* So above all else, you must know the principles of God found in the Bible in order to serve God.
* It’s kind of like applying for a job that you are not trained for.
* If you go into the job interview, and the guy says we have a very complex job we are looking to fill.
* The interviewer says “well, have you had any experience” and you say “no I never did this before!”
* The potential employer does not say, “well go on in and take a whack at it and see what you can do!”
* That’s the way a lot of Christians try to serve the Lord.
* They haven’t studied the Bible, but they try to get up in front of a Sunday school class and make an idiot out of themselves week after week!
* Before you try to be a deacon, or a Sunday school teacher, or a preacher, or a youth minister, or any other thing in the church, You need to have studied the Bible and know and understand the Bible.
* The only way to know and understand the Bible is to study the Bible for yourself!
* Studying the Bible prepares you for service.
* Joshua one eight gives us insight into this, “The book of the law (God’s word) shall not depart out of they mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day and night.”
* That’s a good way to go to sleep you know, go to sleep reciting Bible verses. Go to sleep reciting the word of God because it tends to hang in your mind.
* The Lord commanded Joshuah before he sent him out to lead the children of Israel into the promised land “Meditate day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein; for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
* Success in your Christian life is dependent upon the amount of time you spend studying the Bible.
* Occupation with the word of God, this brings success.
* In this same passage God told Joshua “Have not I commanded thee?” “Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee wherever you go.”
* Study the World of God, meditate continually on the Bible, and you will have confidence that God is with you to make you a success in your service to Him.
* Now here, Joshua is a young man in this particular book who is going to go out and do a tremendous job for God.
* He’s got a tremendous task before him, and the Lord says to him, look Joshua, if you’ll meditate in my word you can handle the job.
* When you have studied the Bible, It will give you the direction you need in your life, it will show you how to operate.
* When you have studied the Bible, it will give you comfort in times of discouragement- dig into the Bible deep and you will have good success.
* So it’s necessary to know the word in order to be useful in Christian service.
* Also added to that would be I Timothy 4:6, “If you put the brethren in remembrance of these things, you shall be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine.”
* What makes a good minister of Christ? Bible study!
* The word minister which means servant, what makes a good servant of Christ?- Somebody who is nourished up in the words of faith and good doctrine.
* When you know the word of God you make a good servant of God.
* You see so many people who want to go around serving the Lord, but they don’t know enough about the Bible to do it right.
* So they do it wrong, and then they get into problems, and end in failure and disillusioned.
* So, the first reason to study the Bible is that we might grow and become useful.
* And the second reason to study the Bible, is that it is necessary to study the Bible is to defeat sin in our lives.
* And the third that studying the Bible must be a priority in the life of every Christian is to prepare ourselves for service.
4). It is necessary to study the Scripture in order to be blessed.
* I don’t know about you but I like to be happy rather than sad.
* I’d much rather be happy than miserable.
* And I know that life is made up of miserable times and happy times.
* I also know this that the more I study the Bible, the happier I am no matter what the circumstances are.
* The word of God makes me happy. That’s really practical.
* When you see a miserable person, the first question to ask him is; have you studied the Bible today?
* Simple question. You say where does the Bible say that?
* Verse one of Psalm one, “Happy is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law does he meditate day and night.”
* That’s a happy man. A happy man is somebody who studies the Bible.
* People run to the pastor and share their miseries, and their problems, and their unhappiness with him expecting him to give them an answer to all of their sadness! And a pastor’s reply will be…
“Happy is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law does he meditate day and night.”
* The way most of our lives have gone is for years we just kind of floundered and flopped around as Christians, and one day, all of a sudden, we start studying the Bible and our whole life changes!
* That’s exactly what Psalm one teaches. And Joshua 1:8-9 that we mentioned earlier says the same thing-
* You will be happy if you study the Bible and meditate day and night in the word of God!
* So, the first reason to study the Bible is that we might grow and become useful.
* And the second reason to study the Bible, is that it is necessary to study the Bible is to defeat sin in our lives.
* And the third reason that studying the Bible must be a priority in the life of every Christian is to prepare ourselves for service.
* And the fourth reason that studying the Bible must be the number one priority in every Christian’s life, is that God blesses the person who studies the Bible!
5). It is necessary also to study Scripture to help others.
* You really can’t help anybody else unless you know something.
* God never put a premium on ignorance.
* Your ignorance of the Bible not only makes you unable to help yourself, but it makes you unable to help anybody else, and Christianity is all about helping other people, isn’t it?
* How best can you help a person in trouble?
* By showing them God’s solution to their trouble.
* How best can you solve a person’s problem?- by knowing-what the Bible says about their problem, and how to handle it.
* This only comes from studying the Bible! There are no shortcuts!
* You and powerless to help others when you don’t know the word of God.
* For example II Timothy 2:2 says. “We are to teach faithful men in order that they may teach others also.”
* The only way we can teach other people the principles that will help them, is to study and learn the principles the Bible teaches for ourselves.
* In I Peter three fifteen the Bible says, “Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you the reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.”
* You need to know some answers this morning, and the only way your are going to know the answers to life, is by studying the “Book of Life” the Bible.
* You can’t help anybody if you don’t know any answers to their problems.
* Have you ever had this experience- Someone comes to you for answers because they know that you go to church.
* They come to you expecting you to have the answers to life that they need.
* You try to answer their questions and all you can come up with is, “well this is the way I feel about it”, or you say “let me talk to my preacher about it, and I will get back to you.”
* People don’t want or need your opinion, they need the Word of God!
* Have you ever had some come to you for answers and when you think of the answers, you cant think of the verses of Scripture to support your answers?
* Well, that is an indication that you need to make studying the Bible a priority in your life.
* This should do more to convict you that you over your lack of Bible study than anything else that I can say this morning.
* God has commanded that every Christian have the answers ready for all those who ask:
I Peter three fifteen the Bible says, “Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you the reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.”
* So, the fifth reason for studying the Bible, is to be able to help others.
* Conclusion:
* So, the first reason to study the Bible is that we might grow and become useful.
* And the second reason to study the Bible, is that it is necessary to study the Bible is to defeat sin in our lives.
* And the third reason that studying the Bible must be a priority in the life of every Christian is to prepare ourselves for service.
* And the fourth reason that studying the Bible must be the number one priority in every Christian’s life, is that God blesses the person who studies the Bible!
* And finally, the fifth reason for studying the Bible, is to be able to help others.
* Our habits we have today, both good and bad, determine what manner of person we will be in the future.
* What does this say about your future as a student of God’s Word?
* What habits do you have in place concerning studying the Bible?
* What measures have you taken to assure that you will study your Bible?
* Let me suggest a few habits concerning Bible study that will change your life:
1). whenever possible, attend the Sunday Night and Wednesday night Bible studies at this church.
2). Never end a day without learning something from the Bible.
3). Earnestly pray every day for the Lord to give you a hunger for studying the Bible.
* Unless you make up your mind, and determine in your heart, that you will make studying the Bible a habit in your life, you will never do it, and you guaranteed to fail in the Christian life.
* Will you do that with me right now?
* Lord, I earnestly pray that you will give me the power to make the study of your Bible, God’s Holy Word, the number one priority in my life, that like Joshua, I might be confident, and prepared to serve you.
Amen.
* The Lord willing, next Sunday, we will look at the second half of the outline that I gave you at the beginning of today’s message:
II. Four simple steps to learn how to study the Bible.
1). There needs to be some preparation.
2). The most important step in Bible study is that you read.
3). After reading the Bible, move on to other ways to study the Bible.
4). After you have read the Bible, Studied the Bible, then obligate yourself to teach the Bible.
II. Four simple steps to learn how to study the Bible.
How is it done? How do we study the Bible? Well first of all there has to be some preparation. If you are going to read the Bible, study the Bible there are some basic things you have to do to prepare.
Again we would look at I Peter two verse one. Verse two says we are to study the word to grow, verse one says, “Laying aside all evil, all evil, and all guile, that’s deceit, all hypocrisies, or phoniness, all envy and all evil speaking, that’s talking about somebody behind their back, put all that aside, then desire the milk.” Now what does that tell us? Before you can ever study the Bible with any affect, you gotta get rid of what? Sin. You gotta deal with it. So before you approach the Scripture what’s a good way to start? With confession, a time of prayer. When you lay those things before the Lord and you confess your sin to the Lord, you purify your mind before God and you become a willing and capable pupil of the word of God. As long as your mind and heart and life is cluttered up with sin you are never going to be able to grow.
So preparation involves purification and that is a good place to start. In James one, twenty one, “Put away all filthiness and overflowing of wickedness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your life.” There is a general principle there. Sin being set aside you become able to receive the word of God and so this is important. So that’s the preparation. Before you study each day you spend a little time in prayer and confession. And you just acknowledge to the Lord whatever the sin might be and set it right and then you go into the word of God.
1). Well first of all there has to be some preparation.
If you are going to read the Bible, study the Bible there are some basic things you have to do to prepare.
Again we would look at I Peter two verse one. Verse two says we are to study the word to grow, verse one says, “Laying aside all evil, all evil, and all guile, that’s deceit, all hypocrisies, or phoniness, all envy and all evil speaking, that’s talking about somebody behind their back, put all that aside, then desire the milk.” Now what does that tell us? Before you can ever study the Bible with any affect, you gotta get rid of what? Sin. You gotta deal with it. So before you approach the Scripture what’s a good way to start? With confession, a time of prayer. When you lay those things before the Lord and you confess your sin to the Lord, you purify your mind before God and you become a willing and capable pupil of the word of God. As long as your mind and heart and life is cluttered up with sin you are never going to be able to grow.
So preparation involves purification and that is a good place to start. In James one, twenty one, “Put away all filthiness and overflowing of wickedness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your life.” There is a general principle there. Sin being set aside you become able to receive the word of God and so this is important. So that’s the preparation. Before you study each day you spend a little time in prayer and confession. And you just acknowledge to the Lord whatever the sin might be and set it right and then you go into the word of God.
2). The most important step in Bible study is that you read.
If you don’t know how to read you need to get the New Testament on tape. But if you know how to read you read and you know you have to believe that just reading the Bible is an exciting thing because God promises to bless somebody who reads the Bible. I have had people say this to me in different school and say well, a, some parts of the Bible I don’t understand.
One guy said to me I always avoid the Book of Revelation, I never read that because that’s just too weird. I don’t understand it. So I quoted him Revelation one, three, “Happy is he that reads and they that here the words of this prophecy.” You want to be happy? Read Revelation. That’s a happy thing to read Revelation. You say happy? Who could be happy reading about all that horrible stuff. You got to read all the way to the end then you get happy. You get happy that you weren’t in the other part. Revelation can be a very happy experience. John says when I tasted all of this it was sweetness in my mouth even though it was bitterness in my stomach.
And so we are blessed, we are happy if we read, so it is important to read. When Paul was giving instruction to Timothy about how to preach, he says first of all read the Bible, read it. We need to do that, set aside a time every day to read the Bible. Now I’ll tell you how to do it and I suggested this in the little book God’s Will Is Not Lost.
This is a plan that really helped me. I used to struggle with the reading of the Bible. I’d read it and I’d forget what I read the day before. Every time! And I’d read through a book and I’d get done and would know anything about the book. And then I’d read another book and then I didn’t know anything about that one either. And I was just piling up tremendous ignorance and spending a lot of time doing it. You know. I was working real hard to be stupid and I couldn’t retain anything. So I thought this isn’t the way to go and then I picked up a little book on “How to master the english Bible” by James M. Gray and I heard a speech by a particular guy who was telling how he studied the Bible and I just started putting some pieces together and I decided that the way I learn is by repetition and I found that that’s what Isaiah said when he said we learn line upon line, line upon line, precept upon precept, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. So I realized the only way to learn was repetition Every time I had a test in seminary, I didn’t just read it over once and leave it I had to go over it and over it and over it. You know how you study for a test.
You know how you should study for a test. By repetition and you work out little formulas to remember things and you got all these little keys and signals in your brain and everything because you have to remember things and repetition helps you remember. Well I realized that and so I began to think, well probably the best way to read the Bible is to read it repetitiously. So I decided to start with I John and that? what I would do. Now I’ll tell you how it worked. You start with I John, it’s a good place for you to start. I John is not an easy book, it’s a simple book in many ways but it has some great complexities and you’ll find the more you read it the more meat you will be able to receive. You take I John you sit down you read it straight through at one sitting. Now it’ll only take you about twenty, twenty five minutes because it’s five chapters, and it’s not that tuff. You just sit down and read it through.
Maybe you need to pick the translation you like, I would suggest to you the New American Standard or the King James or the New International Version would be the three best. But any way you read it through, that’s it. Just read it through, close your Bible, have a little time with the Lord and then leave. And later on in the day you might want to do it again, but just once a day.
Now the second day do the same thing, third day, fourth day, fifth day, sixth day, seventh day, you do the same thing. Do the same thing for thirty days. Every day for thirty days you’ve read through I John one time. At the end of those thirty days you will know what? in I John.
Somebody will say to you where does it say if we confess our sins, You say I John l right hand column half way down. You know that will be in your mind. You know if I were to say to you right now quote me Romans twelve one, what’s the first thing you see in your mind? You see a page, you see a column and you see a chapter heading, right, because your mind creates a picture. You cannot learn without a mental picture and so what’s hard about Bible memory is that all the pages look alike. That’s why I draw in my Bible a lot. Because then every page has it’s own little quirks and I see that page in my mind and I remember it. People ask me how I remember Scripture, that’s one way. I have little squiggles in different places in the Bible, little sweat marks or tears or rips or something and I remember those see. Whatever works right? And so at the end of thirty days you know what’s in I John.
Somebody says where does it say Love not the world neither the things that are in it,. I John two fifteen, right hand page, right hand column. You begin to know what’s in first John, now you haven’t defined everything, you haven’t studied everything out but at least you know what the book is about. Now about the tenth day you are going to feel like you got it all licked, I don’t need to keep doing this I know this thing, but you keep doing it and keep doing it and the thirtieth day you’ll realize that you really don’t know much at all because the more you read it the deeper ii becomes. I remember when I did this, I went through ninety days, because I began to get excited about I John.
Now you finish I John then you go to the Gospel of John, now you say well wait a minute John that’s twenty one chapters. I don’t have time, well that’s good, you just divide it into three sections of seven chapters and you read seven chapters every day for thirty days then the second seven chapters from chapter eight through fourteen then chapter fifteen to twenty one. So the first thirty days you are reading one through seven over and over and over. The second thirty days you are reading eight through fourteen, the third fifteen to twenty one. At the end of ninety days you’ve knocked out the gospel of John. If somebody asks you where’s the woman at the well, you know where the woman at the well is, that’s in chapter four. If somebody asks you where Nicodemus is that’s chapter three. Somebody asks you about the Bread of Life, that’s chapter six. Somebody asks you about the shepherd, that’s chapter ten, if they ask you about I am the vine, that’s fifteen, the intercessory prayer, that’s seventeen. The capture in the garden is eighteen, twenty one is the restoration of Peter. Chapter twenty is the resurrection and so forth and so forth.
I’m no scholar you know, I read it ninety times what do you expect. That’s the point. At the end of two and a half years you’ve knocked off the whole New Testament. In two and a half you will be the only one on your block to do it believe me. You are going to study the Bible the rest of your life any way so you might as well do it so you learn it. And then the thing that’s going to happen is you are going to be able to cross reference.
You’ll be going through, Oh yea, that’s over there in Philippians two, oh I know that’s over there … and pretty soon you’ll cease to be a concordance cripple. Somebody ask … well I don’t know where it is but I’ll look up the word in the back here see, and you can’t ever find any thing. Pretty soon, by repetition you will begin to know where things are and then you will be able to go to those things and then when somebody wants an answer to a question you have that answer. So just imagine if you had started two and a half years ago. Isn’t that an exciting thought, it’s a depressing thought, I’ll buy that. Let me suggest to you as I said earlier that if you want the best translations of the Scripture would be New American Standard, The New International Version,. or the King James, King James though is not the most up to date one, it is true to the original text, in most all cases it’s a beautiful edition, I think it has a dignity that some of the others lose.
Now beyond reading it is important that you study. You’ve read it, you’ve been reading it for two and a half years, and really if you didn’t do anything but just read it and come to church and listen and come to Bible studies and listen, that’s fine, that’s a great way to start, but once you’ve gotten it all read you’re going to find out that you already are pretty well able to interpret it because the Bible is interpreted best by itself. Some of you who come here know that this is how I do interpret the Scripture. If I want to explain a passage I’ll go to another passage or several other passages to explain that passage. So by just reading through the New Testament again and again and again, you’ll begin to be able to do that. Now when you get to the Old Testament don’t do it that way just read it through once. and go back and read it through again and go back and read it through again through your life. Don’t try to read it repetitiously, it’s not that kind of thing that needs to be done that way, it’s just history and narrative and you can get it pretty well by just reading straight through it.
3). After reading the Bible, move on to other ways to study the Bible.
Some examples of how to study the Bible. example let me give you an idea.
For example let me give you an idea. What about if you just decided I!m going to study all the prayers of the Bible. That would be a great study, it would take you a long time to do it, you start out in Genesis, find every time there was a prayer there and study about it. What did they say, who prayed, what was he praying for, what was the answer? Terrific!
Then maybe you want to say, I think I’ll study all the prayers of the Apostle Paul what a tremendous study that would be. You can make any topic you want. I would like to study the subject of forgiveness. So you could go to the book store and’ you could buy a little book that’s called a topical index and you could look up the word forgiveness and it would tell you every passage in the Bible where forgiveness is discussed, and you could take that, look them all up, do a little study on that. And that would be exciting. I would suggest, and I’ll suggest some things in a minute, that you take some notes on some books that I suggest for you in a minute because they can really be a great help to you. You could say for example, I want to know about God’s judgment so I’m going to go through the Book of Isaiah and find everything I can find in there about judgment and then I’ll know something of why God judges and how He judges and what the response is.
Another great way to study the Bible is biographically. Take somebody like Elijah and do a study on Elijah. Or take somebody like David and study the life of David, that absolutely is fascinating, or Joseph, or find somebody really kind of offbeat like Ahithophel or something like that. Somebody who is just kind of a little bit of a strange character or somebody that’s not talked about too much in the New Testament and try to dig a little bit and find out all that the New Testament says about him.
Maybe somebody like Andrew who isn’t quite as predominant as others. Now also in your study, read good books. Whatever your study is going to be on find some good material on that or get some tapes on that and get some outside input. We have a library here to provide that and you aught to find a good library wherever your area is. A good Christian library where you can check books out or where you can go and just sit and do some reading in reference books.
There are good tapes available that supplement and you aught to purchase good books. Don’t spend a lot of your money buying popular kind of Christian books, you know what I mean? The kind of Christian book you read once because it’s the testimony of somebody and that’s it you put it away. That’s fine if you want to check it out of the library or maybe once in a while if somebody gives!you one or you really want to buy one once and a while, but build your library on the books that are going to become reference books that you will use again and again and again. For example it’s good to have a concordance, not the one in the back of your Bible, but one that has much more information than that, because that one is very limited.
There are three major ones, they are easy to remember, Strong, Young and Cruden’s. Strong for the strong, Young for the young and Cruden’s for the crudes. I have Cruden’s myself, I also have Strong, but get a good concordance where you can look up words, that’s very important. And then it’s important also to have a topical index, there are many of them. There was a paperback one that I used by R.A. Torrey that was given away by Billy Graham Organization sometime back. There is Monser’s Topical Index, there is Naives Topical Bible, there’s all types of topical index books and all that means is you can go to that book and it will tell you every Scripture on any subject you want so you can study it, find out all there is about it. Really a helpful thing to have.
One other thing that I would suggest is that you have a commentary. Commentary is a book that explains the meaning of the Bible. There are many good ones. I’ll suggest probably the simplest one for a new Christian to use would be Wycliff. Wycliff Bible Commentary. One volume, you can look up any passage in the Bible and it gives you a basic explanation of what it means, very, very helpful. 0k, in studying the Bible then you want to study subjects, you want to study outside books so that you are studying in the Bible and you are studying those who have commented on the Scriptures as well.
One other thing in studying the Bible, very, very important. While you are studying find somebody else that you can share your information with. If you are a parent it may be one of your kids, it may be your spouse, if you don’t have a family situation it may be another Christian it may be another person you’ve lead to Christ, but find somebody that you can share your information with. Otherwise you’re not nearly as motivated to learn.
People say to me, well how can you possibly study as much as you do?And I say well, I come out here every Sunday and there’s three thousand people sitting there saying say something MacArthur. What do you expect? I have to say something. The greatest motive that I have to study the Scripture is the responsibility of the ministry.
I have to be faithful to God to teach the people He’s given me, if you don’t have anybody. that you are teaching then you really don’t have any motive beyond yourself and sometimes it’s hard to drum that up, but if you’ve got some little bird in the nest that keeps opening it’s mouth and hollering for food then you are going to have to be responsible to give it something.
You say yea but I’m a new Christian, yew but there’s a newer Christian than you, or maybe there’s somebody who isn’t even one yet and you need to teach them. So find somebody that you can share the information you are leaving with. Maybe it’s even somebody who knows mere than you do believe me there are people who know less than I do about the totality of Scripture who can minister to me because they have fresh insight, or they see new things that I have never seen, or they see new applications in their life. Find somebody that you can share it with.
One other thing in studying, and that is find a pattern that you can follow. Find a human pattern that you can follow, very important. Maybe somebody like me if you know me well enough to be able to see the pattern in my life, it may be somebody like your teacher in a Bible study, it may be a very godly person that you know very well, another Christian brother or sister, it may be one of the other pastors at the church, it could be any number of people but find a pattern that you can follow and you aught to some how try to establish enough of a relationship with that individual to be able to speak with and to concern yourself with the things in their life that would apply to you.
All right one other area in terms of how it is to be done. Preparation, reading, studying, fourthly teaching or ‘D’. Teaching.
4). After you have read the Bible, Studied the Bible, then obligate yourself to teach the Bible.
Now what we mean by this is submit yourself to teaching, good Bible teaching. May I add that this is never a substitute for your own study, don’t every think that because you came to church and heard the sermon on Sunday morning and Sunday night and you went to the Bible study on Friday that you don’t need to study on your own. If that’s the case you know what you have just forfeited, all those things we gave you in point number one in their fullest possible capacity.
You are being benefited by teaching but you are most benefited when you are being taught and when you are studying on your own. And you say well, I have not been a Christian long enough to study on my own, if you’ve been a Christian ten minutes that’s long enough, get at it. Start.
So you want to be sure you submit yourself to a teacher, be in a Bible class, be in a church service where somebody is teaching the word of God. I see so many new Christians whose only orientation to Christianity is they sort of follow around the Christian stars, you know, tonight we are having da da ta da and his orchestra, wonderful saved Christian something or other. And so they gravitate over there and they hear Christian music, or over here they are showing the latest Christian movie and over here they have got the greatest Christian ex-convict and over here is the.… you know and they just go they are sort of like vagabonds, they just travel around to what’s ever happening. Submit yourself to systematic teaching of the word of God someplace, that’s very, very important. You know one of the things that we see so much in Christianity is when somebody gets saved if they have anything that is marketable the Christianity community will suck them up and make a commodity out of them.
I talked to a guy on his death bed who told me his life was destroyed as a Christian because he was a celebrity, he got saved, the Christian community marketed him as a saved celebrity and he spent the rest of his Christian life going around telling how wonderful it was to be a saved celebrity and never learned a single thing about the Christian life consequently his whole life was defeated and he had terrible, terrible guilt because of all the sin in his life, he was trying to get up and tell everybody what a wonderful thing it is to be a saved celebrity and the truth of the matter was that he was eating his heart out because he wasn’t growing. That’s a problem in Christianity. I don’t care if you are a celebrity you still have to submit yourself to some teaching and some solid feeding by men who are gifted of God and given to the church to teach you, very important. All right that covers what I wanted to say about how to study the Scripture, and it’s a little bit more lengthily maybe than some of the others but that’s because it’s so very important.
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