Friday, June 27, 2008

How to Read the Bible pt. 1 of 5

One of my favorite teachers and speakers frequently says, "If you want to have an opinion about the Bible, it helps to read it." I think he's right, and I find that the more I read the Bible, the fewer opinions I have. As I read the Bible, opinions give way to quiet confidence (trust, faith) in the goodness and mercy of God.

But how do we read the Bible so that we grown in faith (confidence), rather can become swept up in our own opinions. Here's how.

Jesus said,
"My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. If anyone's will is to do God's will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority." (John 7:16-17, ESV)

We read with the intent to obey. We don't read, evaluate, and then decide if we want to obey. We begin with the intent to obey and then read. For, the only way we can know if Jesus' teaching is true is to submit to it. We can't evaluate it critically from a safe distance. We must commit. And only then can we know.

Another writers says, "And
without faith it is impossible to please [God], for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him" (Heb. 11:6, ESV).

I would think that's another way of saying the same thing. If we would know if Jesus' teaching is true, we must submit our will to God's will. Then, and only then, can we begin to know.

In parts two through four of this series, I will briefly introduce the inductive method for Bible study. It's a four-part method with these four parts: context, observation, meaning, application.

However, prior these for steps is a heart asking for the grace to be humble--to seek, to hear, and then to do the teaching of Jesus.