Keeping the Tools Sharp and Ready
Keep Your Bible Skills Sharp and Ready
By Bob Burridge ©2010
A Plan for Sharpening Your Bible Skills
The Bible is a big book filled with a lot of information. A hap-hazard approach where you dabble in Scripture now and then is of limited value.
God our Father has told us what we ought to know. What he put in his letters to us must be important, or it wouldn’t be there. If you’re only familiar with a few favorite portions of the Bible, then you live as if God gave a lot of unimportant material that can safely be ignored.
We know that genealogies aren’t as stirring to the troubled heart as are the Psalms, but they show us the line of God’s promise, and how God deals with families over time.
We now understand that God’s promises and assurances are more uplifting than reading about why we need salvation, but without knowing sin, we can’t possibly appreciate God’s grace.
Without understanding God’s moral law we can’t be sure about what is sin. The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 7:7 ” … I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, ‘You shall not covet.’ ”
God’s word gives good advice for building loving homes, responsible businesses, sound churches, strong personal character, and free nations. It helps us to be realistic yet confident in the midst of tragedy and disaster.
The Bible offers so much that is important — it’s truly sad how little people read it.
We are creatures of time.
It’s our duty to budget our 24 hours of every day so that we keep our priorities straight. Just as we saw in our last study about scheduling times to pray, we also need to schedule our reading and studying of God’s word.
What we do with our time reveals what we really think is important. If we regularly read the sports or comics pages, or keep up with the news, hunt for coupons, and watch movies or TV shows, but we have no regular times to study our Bibles — something is seriously wrong!
We can begin with the easiest and most obvious Bible learning time: We should listen attentively to the teaching of God’s word every Sunday in church. The primary way God tells us to hear and learn his word is through the teaching of his ministers during the Sabbath worship of the church
1 Corinthians 1:21 “God was well pleased through the foolishness of the message preached
to save those who believe”
In Jeremiah 3:15 God attached his blessing to the work of pastors in teaching his word:
“And I will give you pastors according to mine heart,
which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.”
It’s the duty of these trained, examined, and ordained as Elders to make sure the word is effectively taught to the people in the congregation. They need to plan so that their sermons cover all the topics in the Bible. They are obligated to be certain of the meanings of the texts they present. They are to show how they apply to our lives practically. And they should avoid the temptation of becoming entertainers or spiritual celebrities.
Regular and attentive attendance in worship is crucial for every Christian. To bypass God’s commanded first avenue for learning God’s word is a rebellious and irresponsible rejection of what we are told to do in the Bible. There can be no excuse for not being in worship regularly, except that in God’s providence we are unable to be there though we want to be.
When Israel returned to Jerusalem after her long captivity and exile, Ezra gathered the people to listen to the preaching of God’s word.
Nehemiah 8:5 “And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people for he was standing above
all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up.”
They showed great respect for what God had to say. But in the captivity few Jews had learned the Hebrew language, so Ezra and the other elders explained what it said:
Nehemiah 8:8 “And they read from the book, from the law of God,
translating to give the sense so that they understood the reading.”
The individual Christian’s duty in worship is to listen attentively. Larger Catechism question 160 asks, “What is required of those that hear the word preached?” The answer is, “It is required of those that hear the word preached, that they attend upon it with diligence, preparation, and prayer; examine: What they hear by the scriptures; receive the truth with faith, love, meekness, and readiness of mind, as the word of God; meditate, and confer of it; hide it in their hearts, and bring forth the fruit of it in their lives.” The catechism provides specific Scripture verses to support each of these duties.
To help us practically I strongly suggest a few methods that will help:
1. Prepare yourself for worship in prayer, and by being well rested.
2. Bring your own Bible to follow along so you both see and hear God’s word.
3. Don’t let your minds wander. Be attentive to everything that is said.
4. You might benefit by highlighting or underlining in your Bible to mark key phrases or words.
It helps you focus on the main points and to find the verses again when you need them.
5. Review the message by thinking about it, talking about it with others and applying it to your life.
The Berean believers were commended as good examples of how the preached word should be received. When Paul came to teach them it says in Acts 17:11 “they received the word with great eagerness …”