Quarter’s Theme: Discovering Spiritual Maturity
Unit 2 Theme: Practicing Spiritual Maturity Essentials (Lessons 4-9)
CONSECRATION & DEDICATION MONTHS
Sunday 11/1/ 2015
HOW TO GET A GRASP ON YOUR BIBLE
Suggested Hymns: G.H.B. 195, 197
Devotional Reading: PS. 119:1-16
Topic For Adults
LET THE WORD OF GOD DWELL RICHLY IN YOU
Topic For Youths
BE YE DOERS OF THE WORD
Topic For Intermediates
UNDERSTAND GOD’S WORD
JOB 23:12; 2 TIM. 4:13; DEUT. 17:14-20; ACTS 17:10-12; COL. 3:16;
PROV. 7:2-3; PS. 1:1-3; 119:105
“ Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart!” (Ps 119:2) NKJV.
DAILY DEVOTIONAL READING
Eyes Opened To Understand The Bible
We need the help of the Holy Spirit to come to a good understanding of the Bible when we read. Jesus was with the disciples for over three years, teaching them and instructing them. Yet, they could not grasp the true meaning of His mission. After His resurrection, He appeared to them and opened their understanding that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Without the help of the Holy Spirit, the Bible remains a closed book. Sermons can be preached from it, theological theses written about it, seminars and debates held on it but the eternal truths will still remain hidden without our understanding being opened by the Holy Spirit. It is therefore necessary and very important to start reading or studying the Bible with a prayer that God will open the truth to us. Seek the truth, do not twist it once you get it and do not allow yourself to be led away from it.
Point of Emphasis: Without the Holy Spirit, the Bible remains a closed book that is not understood.
Prayer Point: Open my eyes, oh God, to see the truth hidden in Your Word.
Reading is a discipline or a communication skill which means a lot of things to different kinds of readers. Generally there are various purposes of reading which will inform the seriousness one puts into it. They include: reading for examination, reading for information, reading for pleasure and so on. However, reading the Bible is for unique purposes which inform the keen seriousness we believers ought to put into it in order to grasp it effectively. Irving L. Jensen advised that, “When you read the Bible, always be sure you are really reading it. Alert your eyes to see (Reading); stir up your mind to consider (Reflection); write down your observations (Recording); and practise what you read (Response)”.
NOTES ON THIS TEXT
- THE DISCIPLINE OF DAILY BIBLE READING – JOB 23:12; 2 TIM. 4:13; DEUT. 17:14-20
The habit of daily Bible reading is really a discipline. You can engage in it by choosing a Bible version for reading. You should concentrate mostly on one version, letting its words become a part of you, as you meditate on them. For retaining verses by way of memorisation, KJV or NKJV and New American Standard Version are standard versions that are good for memory work.
Moreover, you should choose a specific time for Bible Reading. The time chosen should be when the body and mind are fresh and not weary, with no pressure or distractions from without. There is no substitute for being alone with God and His Word. Get a giant print edition without notes. Also use a Bible that is conducive for ink or pencil notations. You will never regret any investment you make in a good edition of the Bible. Choose a suitable place and posture. It is better to read aloud quietly in a comfortable posture.
Another important thing to do is to choose a reading plan and stick with it. “The Bible is a book to be read. It should be read wholly, not in part; purposefully, not haphazardly; intelligently, not amiss”. To be a profitable Christian, we must read all Scriptures II Tim. 3:16. It is always good to read from Genesis to Revelation to get the whole picture. Develop a suitable speed and rhythm. Start at slow speed and grow. Adjust your speed as occasion demands. Don’t be discouraged if you miss a schedule. You can make it up. Remember, you are not competing with anyone.
Write out Scriptures for memorisa-tion and meditation at your leisure time. From myriads of passages, one or two would stick to your spirit. Reflect purposefully, imaginatively, humbly and prayerfully on the passage(s) that stuck to your spirit. For better organisation, memorisation and recapitulation, write verses in Book and chapter format. Read the passage(s) from different translations to get better understanding. The produc-tion of Bible versions in the simple speech of everyday life has greatly encouraged reading of the Bible by the laity. Use Bible on tapes. Be flexible and sensitive to the Holy Spirit when He leads otherwise. Use a pencil to asterisk or tick any passage(s) for memorisation or further study. You could also underline or color code key verses that strike fire in your soul.
- THE DISCIPLINE OF PERIODIC PERSONAL BIBLE STUDY: ACTS 17:10-12; COL. 3:16
Personal Bible Study is a deliberate, systematic and periodic search into the Scriptures to have a personal revelation of the truth. It is one thing to be taught it is another thing to discover the truth by and for you. What you know by personal discovery and revelation can never be taken away from you. Torrey R.A. said, “There are persons who have studied little else, who have studied the Scriptures, by the hour, daily and their congruent wisdom is the astonishment and sometimes the dismay of scholars and theologians”. An anonymous writer also said, “The Bible contains gold and almost anyone is willing to dig for gold, especially if it is certain that he will find it. It is certain that one will find gold in the Bible, if he digs. The Bible is much read but comparatively studied”.
In order to imbibe the habit of effective Bible study, schedule a specific time(s) a week for Bible Study. Effective study is progressive and not necessarily exhaustive at a time. You can pace your study. Find a suitable place for study, preferably, a place with a chair and a table. Select a topic and complete it before you go into another one. Have Bible Study Books written by other authors to learn and develop your own style.
Utilise web aids e.g. google.com and biblegateway.com among others. You must be very careful in utilising this web aids as you would be exposed to different schools of thought which might be heretic in content. Learn the art and act of effective note-taking. “Our heads lose fast what goes through them and if we trust to retaining by our memories what we do in our Bible Study, we shall lose most of it”.
Wean yourself gradually from dependence on commentaries to begin to expand your revelation base by asking probing questions on the text and by comparing Scripture with Scripture. The secret of effective Bible Study is to know how to ask the right questions – Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? Beware of reading meaning into the text but study the text in context and be sensitive to the Holy Spirit as He unfolds the truth to you (II Peter 1:20-21). Develop the act of cross-referencing by using reference Bible.
III. THE DISCIPLINE OF MEMORISING THE SCRIPTURE – PRO. 7:2-3; PS. 119:105
Memorising the Scriptures has the following advantages: 1.It helps us resist temptation (Ps. 119:11). 2. It helps us make wise decisions (Ps. 119:105). 3. It strengthens us under stress (Ps. 119:49). 4. It comforts us when we are sad (Jer. 15:16). 5. It helps us witness to unbelievers (I Pet. 3:15).
When can you memorise the Scriptures? You can memorise the Scriptures during your Daily Devotions; while exercising; while waiting (spare moments); at bedtime (Ps. 63:6) etc.
Another question to be answered here is how to memorise a verse. This can be done by taking the following steps: (1) Pick a verse that speaks to you. (2) Say the reference before and after the verse. (3) Read the verse aloud many times. Record it! (4) Break the verse into natural phrases. (5) Emphasise key words when quoting the verse. (6) Write out the verse on a flash card or index cards. (7) Carry some cards with you at all times for review. (8) Display your verses in prominent places. (9) Always memorise the verses. (10) Put the verse to music. Write a song! (11) Get a partner so you can check each other.
- THE DISCIPLINE OF MEDITATING THE SCRIPTURES – PSALM 1:1-3
Meditation is focused thinking about a Bible verse in order to discover how you can apply its truth to your own life. Meditating the scriptures is a discipline to be imbibed by every child of God. It can be done by the following procedures: 1. Picture it: Visualise the scene in your mind. 2. Pronounce it: Say the verse aloud, each time emphasising a different word. 3. Paraphrase it: Rewrite the verse in your own words. 4. Personalise it: Replace the pronouns or people in the verse with your own name. 5. Pray it: Turn the verse into a prayer and say it back to God. 6. Probe it: Ask the following nine questions:
S.P.A.C.E.P.E.T.S. Questions: S – Is there a Sin to confess? P – Is there a Promise to claim? A – Is there an Attitude to change? C – Is there a Command to obey? E – Is there an Example to follow? P– Is there a Prayer to pray? E – Is there an Error to Avoid? T – Is there a Truth to believe? S – Is there Something to thank God for?
“Now that you know these things, do them. That is the path of blessing” – John 13:17(LB). As you begin to read God’s Word you begin to contact immeasurable flow of godly wisdom (Deut. 4:5-6; Ps. 119:97-100) and to replace the earthly, sensual and devilish wisdom with the wisdom that is from above (James 3:14-17). Wisdom is “the law of God applied to every situation of life”. The day you contact and embrace the revelation from God’s word that relates with the issues you are confronted with, is the day your full deliverance begins.
- What is Scriptural meditation?
- What are the advantages of Scriptural meditation?
- What are the steps involved in memorising Scriptures?
- What benefits can we derive in memorising Scriptures?
- What practical steps will you take to start or improve on your daily devotion?