Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Steps to the Study of Scripture Part VIII

We come now to the seventh step of Bible Study – spending time in reflection and prayer.

First and foremost, it must be kept in mind that the study of the Scriptures is not merely academic. Study is not simply “mind and study.” The study of the bible includes “heart and prayer.”

Second, it is true that it is extremely important to fill your mind with the text. Discover and truly own the meaning of the passage that you have studied. Determine the application of your text.

Then take the time to meditate and reflect on the text. Answer serious questions with deep thought –

·        How has this passage addressed issues in your own life?
·        What needs were met in your life by this passage?
·        What new attitudes or actions will you now adopt?
·        What new thing did you learn about God and His character?
·        How can this text, aided by the Holy Spirit:

                        *encourage you
                    *edify you
                   *instruct you
                   *reprove you
                   *correct you

You must take time to respond to what God has revealed to you by the illumination of the His Holy Spirit as you studied your text. Always keep in mind your needs and ask God to illuminate the text in such a way that you are truly edified by the text.

Constantly ask God for assistance in understanding and applying your text. I have said this before but let me say it again; to have biblical and appropriate application you must have truly discovered the original intent of the bible writer. Bad applications are a result of failing to discover the meaning of the original text within its context. You must turn often to the Holy Spirit and seek illumination as you work through a text.

In the life of a believer there are three types of approach to the Holy Scriptures. These approaches are entailed within our daily devotion or quiet time, our reading of Scripture for familiarization, and our bible study.

During our devotion or quiet time we are not studying nor merely reading the text. We are seeking to commune with God in quiet reflection and prayer. During your devotion or quiet time you are asking God to “reveal” Himself to you as both Father and Friend as you read a short passage meditatively asking God to help you focus on the passage at hand to discover how it affects you and your walk with God.

Bible reading plans are extremely valuable and necessary. This is a separate reading from your quiet time or devotion. This time of reading is “goal or accomplishment” oriented? Here you are reading to familiarize yourself with Scripture. You are not stopping to “smell the roses” along your way.

Bible Study is hard work. Here you wrestle with the text as Jacob wrestled with the angel. Bible study (which we have discussed the past seven (7) Wednesdays is in essence wrestling with God until God bless you from your passage with its original meaning and an application for your life today.

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