Many Christians are like poor photographs - overexposed and underdeveloped. They've had plenty of input from the Word of God, but what difference has it made in their lives? Spiritual growth is a commitment to change. And yet, the human heart resists nothing as strongly as it resists change. I want to suggest a means over overcoming the bias toward spiritual inertia. Four principles reduced to four words that are a four-step process to apply Scripture in any circumstance. Not to oversimplify things, but to provide some handles to work with if you want to apply the Bible.
A Far Side cartoon once had a funny put pertinent exchange where the first panel showed a man lecturing his dog, saying "Ok, Ginger! I've had it! You stay out of the garbage! Understand, Ginger? Stay out of the garbage, or else!" The caption read, "What people say." The next panel showed the situation from the dog's point of view, captioned, "What dogs hear." And what did that dog hear? "Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah...!"
A seasoned old preacher was dining in a restaurant when in walked the local atheist, who thought he'd have a little sport with the preacher. So the skeptic sat down, pointed at the pastor's Bible and asked, "Rev, you still believe that book?" "Absolutely," the old gentlemen replied. "You mean you believe everything in it?!" "Every word." "Well," said the atheist, "Is there anything you can't explain?" "Oh there are lots of things I can't explain, " the preacher responded. Then he opened his Bible and showed the fellow all the question marks in the margins.
Have you ever gone to a doctor with a sore throat? The first thing he or she asks you to do is to stick out your tongue. Then they take a glance down your throat and say, “Aha.” Generally right away they know what’s wrong. I could look in your mouth from now to eternity, but it would do no good, because I don’t know what I’m looking for! The same principle applies to Bible study. You could spend hours paging through the Word, but it could be a waste of time if you don’t know what you’re looking for. So here are six clues to watch for in Scripture, ones that’ll help you hit pay dirt every time if you notice them. God has provided an excellent tool to help you remember them—your hand. There’s a clue for each of the fingers, and one for the palm of your hand.
Have you ever closed you Bible in frustration, wondering why you didn’t get more out of your study of the Scripture? You’ve heard others talk about mining the riches there, and you wanted to grab a few nuggets for yourself. But after pouring a lot of time and energy into the process, things just didn’t “pan out.” One of the reasons we fail to hit pay dirt is: we don’t know how to read. Our culture has made a radical shift from a word-based society – to an image-based society. As a result, unlike our ancestors a few generations ago we don’t know how to read and to a large extent last lost that art. Yet the Bible is a book, which means it must be read to be appreciated. Try these strategies to help you better understand God’s Word to you.
The study of God’s Word is kind of like learning to fly. It takes a lot more than just handing the controls to someone and shouting, “Have fun.” Rather it’s a process that can’t happen overnight. Yet that’s exactly what we do when we hand people a Bible, tell them to get into the Word, and expect them to take it from there. No wonder so many people give up in frustration? Instead, effective Bible study involves taking certain steps in a certain order to guarantee certain results. Not just any steps; not just any order; not just any result. The following is a three-step approach for life-change—three crucial steps to carry out in a particular order.
Would you like to start gaining more from your time in the Scriptures? Here are 3 habits to cultivate that will increase your productivity every time you open God’s Word.