Scripture is "God-breathed"
Have you ever tried to read the Bible in a year? A lot of people set that goal, but few actually do it, usually dropping out somewhere in Leviticus. Why is reading and studying God’s Word so important? What difference will it make in our lives? Take a look at what the Apostle Paul pens about Scripture…
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Have you ever considered that Scripture is “God-breathed”? Do you know what that phrase means? It means that God Himself inspired the words that were written. One scholar I read says, “So identified is God with His Word that when Scripture speaks, God speaks.” If that is true, and I believe it is, then reading Scripture, meditating on it, being transformed by it, is time very well spent!
Jesus taught that there is one thing that matters most in life when he commanded us…
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33. Righteousness can be defined as God’s own perfection in every attribute, every attitude, every behavior, and every word. If I’m serious about seeking His kingdom and His righteousness in every aspect of life, then it is imperative for me to immerse myself in God’s Word daily! Do you know what happens when I do that?
1) I will experience life change! (Romans 12:2).
2) I will be equipped for every good work! (2 Timothy 3:17).
If you are committed to immersing yourself in God’s Word on a daily basis, here are five tips for effectively studying Scripture.
Tip 1 - Pray for God to reveal Himself to you in Scripture. Before you open the pages of the Bible, take a moment to be still and pray. Ask God to reveal Himself to you as you read the Scriptures; ask Him to open your heart to His truth; ask Him to teach you something new; to remind you of a forgotten promise; to encourage you with a hopeful word; to challenge you and convict you where you have failed.
Tip 2 - Read Scripture with a repentant heart. Jesus preached repentance. John the Baptist, before Him, preached repentance. The prophets of the Old Testament and the Apostles of the New Testament preached repentance. Why? Our sins erect a wall between us and God. They create a barrier that will keep us from hearing from Him. When we read His Word with a repentant heart, we will hear Him more clearly.
Tip 3 - Read Scripture with the goal not of gaining information, but of experiencing transformation. A lot of people who decide they are going to start reading the Bible daily, try to make up for lost time by trying to get through it as fast as they can. While the effort may be noble, the impact will be minimal. Success is not measured by the number of pages of the Bible you read. It is measured by the impact those pages have on you!
Tip 4 - Meditate on Scripture in small doses for maximum impact every day! You don’t have to cover the entire Bible in a year. Covering a lot of ground is not really the goal. Meditating on Scripture is key and you can’t meditate quickly! The Psalmist tells us we will be blessed when we mediate on the law day and night. (Psalm 1:2). So pick one thought from Scripture to mediate on daily. Let God speak to you through that one thought as you consider its implication and impact in your life! To help you do that, write the text, read it out loud, recite it throughout the day and talk about it with others.
Tip 5 - Memorize Scripture for guidance, encouragement and inspiration! One of my favorite verses in Scripture is: 11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11. Scripture will keep us on the path to purity. (Psalm 119:9) The best way to stay on the path God has for us is to hide His Word in our hearts. This means taking it to heart and committing it to memory so that we can recall it when it is most needed in life. We want to be able to do that, not to share information, but to inspire transformation in ourselves and in others!
Will you commit to the best practice of studying God’s Word on a daily basis? For much more, click here to listen to Best Practices - Part 5 - The Practice of Studying.