As we start on a fresh page this new year, I believe many of us have wrapped up our #365 journey in 2021. It’s been a joy reading the personal insights, and seeing the notes made by various church members. What an encouragement to see an increasing hunger for the Word of God!
Wolves thrive because there’s biblical illiteracy in the Church. We’re not called to be experts in what’s wrong, but we need to be very certain of what’s true. When the New Testament Church was born, the believers gave substantial focus to the apostles’ doctrine and teachings. They met often and the apostles taught from Scripture.
This was such a vital aspect of the Church that, as they grew, the apostles found it necessary to dedicate more time to prayer and the study of Scripture. This not only laid a foundation for the Early Church, but also for us today.
The study and love of the Bible should be foundational in every believer’s life. This goes beyond the casual quoting of verses or knowledge of familiar Bible stories.
We had a great Training and Equipping (T&E) run this year. Classes were not meant to be just a seasonal encounter with the Word but a lifestyle where God’s Word permeates all that we do. This is also the primary purpose of the #365 journey through the Word of God.
After the T&E semester, I received quite a few emails from church members asking how to go deeper in their personal Bible study.
Here’s a simple key I’d like to share with you – Do not avoid the ‘I don’t know’ segments.
‘I don’t know’ is not a wrong place to be in.
Sometimes, arriving with the right answers may not be the most important part of Bible study – the process is. So don’t be in a hurry to have an answer to your questions.
I remember when I first became a cell leader, whenever my members asked me questions from the Bible, I’d spend an hour or so studying and researching it, then give the answer.
I felt quite proud of myself but realised that I wasn’t really helping them with their journey.
Also, avoid consulting commentaries until you’ve attempted observing and asking questions on your own.
Many times, when we hit a difficult passage, what do we do? Most would choose to (1) Ignore that passage; or (2) Immediately Google a commentary.
Instead of taking the easy way out, I encourage you to seek an understanding before consulting different study aids.
When we don’t labour through the difficult portions of Scripture, even feeling a sense of tension in not knowing, the learning process gets short-circuited.
Generally, we don’t like to feel lost – especially when reading the Bible. But, until we realise the extent of what we do not know, we will not push ourselves to pursue knowledge.
Have you ever gotten lost?
It’s an uncomfortable feeling of dissonance but, after making a few mistakes and perhaps going around in circles, you’ll eventually find your destination.
Chances are you’ll not forget how to get there next time, because the learning process has been honoured. You’ve felt the extent of what you did not know, and the path is now etched in your mind forever.
We need to have the same attitude when approaching Scripture.
One last thing: Pray before, during, and after your Bible study. Ask God to give you eyes to see. Like the Psalmist prayed in Psalm 119:18, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.”
Acknowledge your limitations, and humbly ask God to grant you wisdom and insight as you study His Word. The Author will not refuse you.
Do remember the Bible is not a cadaver. We don’t just read a historical account and old stories of dead people for principles. You’re studying a living Word.
As you start 2022, I pray that you’ll have daily face-to-face encounters with the Word made flesh.