Holy Spirit

10 Easy Steps to Studying Scripture

pexels-photo-24165But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 3:18

Your growth as a Christian is key to your spiritual livelihood. There is grace to be enjoyed and wisdom to be gained that will make you aware of all of the many different graces that are lavished on the believer by our heavenly Father. If you are spiritually immature then, like newborn babies, [you are to] crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. When you taste something delicious, the natural response is to eat more or to desire more. Similarly, since you have tasted the goodness of God, allow that encounter to produce a constant craving for His word. It is a fact that you will not grow spiritually without spending time in God’s word, because God’s word is a seed that when planted in your heart, produces fruit that matures (Luke 8:11). Any urge to avoid such a crucial part to the development of your new life, or any distraction that keeps you too busy to spend quality time with the Lord threatens your ability to be spiritually productive. It is through the word that we are taught, reproofed, corrected, trained, and made complete, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:17).

No matter your level of understanding, God will give you the portion of grace that you need in order to understand how to walk in his ways and to do His will for your life. While it is true that you can learn from preachers and teachers, from books written by wise men and women, what you are learning is the result of those individuals’ personal study and time spent with God. God gave them what they are sharing with you, God inspired them to write what is in the pages of their books, but He desires time spent directly with you in order to share with you knowledge of Himself and His ways, in order to directly feed you pure spiritual milk. God’s word is God-breathed, meaning He said it all, He just used Holy Spirit inspired men to write it down (2 Timothy 3:16). The contents of biblically sound books you read with your awareness of God’s word firsthand, makes these secondary sources of godly information a useful tool to supplement, not to replace your primary Bible study. So, since you should study for yourself so that you can properly and accurately handle the word of God, how do you study Scripture in a way that is not intimidating or overwhelming? Well, it’s simple, pray first asking the Holy Spirit to guide you into the deep things of God and to open your eyes so that revelation knowledge is yours. Apply these 10 Easy Steps to make the most of your regular, quality time with God:

  1. Limit distractions (Bible reading via technology is convenient because our devices are at our fingertips, but be mindful of alerts and the temptation to rush your quality time in order to surf the internet, return a call, post that picture or status update to social media, etc.)
  2. Think about what you know about the book of the Bible itself (its author, audience, purpose, issues, themes)
  3. Context: do not settle on a Scripture’s meaning by one verse alone
  4. Think about how the Scripture was relevant at the time it was written and how it is relevant today; consider how the Scripture can be applied right now
  5. Use a good study Bible (one that I use is Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible); study Bible annotations are the author’s revealed knowledge of Scripture, that being clear, a good study Bible like the one written by Finis Dake is the compilation of a lifetime of work which resulted in some of the best study notes you will find
  6. Use a concordance to find Scriptures related to a matter of personal importance to you, perhaps something you need God to help you with or a topic you would like more understanding of (i.e. Forgiveness), if you use Dake’s reference Bible, impressive components of a concordance are included. I use Strong’s Concordance which I have recently discovered to be very useful, I will revise this post as I become more familiar with this amazing tool.
  7. Your study of Scripture is not a sprint, it is a marathon, a thorough study is more beneficial than a quick read through; so take the time to thoroughly digest what you are reading
  8. Take notes while reading to record the revelation that God is giving you while you are reading
  9. Read and meditate on God’s word daily; our spirit needs daily nourishment in order to thrive
  10. Always remember that you personally know the Author, pray and ask the Holy Spirit to teach you the deep truths of God…God does not reveal His deep truths to outsiders

Happy Bible Reading!

 

 

 

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Ending the Culture of Comparison and Competition

pexels-photo-110440If the body was all eye, how could it hear? If all ear, how could it smell? As it is, we see that God has carefully placed each part of the body right where he wanted it. 1 Corinthians 12:17-18

There is too much at stake to waste time making worthless comparisons and competing against gifts and for gifts we were not given by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:8). While comparisons and competitions are happening, a world is dying without Christ. For this reason, it is important to end a culture of comparisons and competitions in the body of Christ. Everyone in the body of Christ was graciously given a spiritual talent, a gift of the Holy Spirit, that He felt you should be divinely endowed with for ministry. How then do you reject something so purposefully given? How do you interrupt God’s work by not using the talent that suits you, your setting, and the season? Understand that we cripple the body when we as members of the church, the body of Christ, refuse to be the part of the body we were assigned and when we seek to exchange our part for an unintended one. It is like putting on a dress that is too small and hoping that despite the fact that it does not fit, that it will be flattering. Similarly, a talent not intended for you will not fit you no matter how hard you try to make it work. When we refuse to use our assigned gift, we undermine God’s work because the body part we represent is lacking fulfillment. Since the outcome of both making comparisons and competition in the kingdom is the weakening of God’s mission for the church, both ideas serve one master well—the enemy. The enemy’s divisive schemes disrupt unity and progress. As women, we can intercept the enemy’s plan by embracing how fearfully and wonderfully we have been made and by ending the culture of comparison and competition through stewarding the gift we have been given to serve others (1 Peter 4:10). Instead of making comparisons and competing, celebrate variety in the use of similar gifts and God’s work being fulfilled through diverse gifts. When we get back to our purpose for existing, to bring glory to God with our lives, we will then receive our gift, stir it up, and use it willingly, offering it up as an act of worship as opposed to questioning what we have been assigned and desiring what someone else has been given. How will you steward your gift and encourage others to do the same?

 

 

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