We will never get to the place where we have arrived and can say now I know everything
The Bible is a divine revelation; it is God’s Word. This truth is affirmed in a number of places in Scripture regarding both Old Testament and New Testament teachings (2 Tim. 3:16-17, 2 Pet. 1:20-21, 1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Pet. 3:16).
Since this is so, it is important for us to learn as much as we can from it. This will require some time and effort on our part. In the remainder of this article I will mention a number of things that can help you to get more out of God’s Word.
The first thing that a person needs is exposure to God’s Word. Many people get this by reading the Bible; others by listening to recordings of it. This is the bare minimum, the starting point. One must be exposed to the content of Scripture. However, as good as this first step is it is not enough. Merely reading the Bible, or listening to it, will not reveal all of the richness that can be found in Scripture. More needs to be done if one is going to mine the depths of God’s Word.
Meditation is taking time to dwell on a verse or passage of Scripture, giving extensive thought to it. Think about the text again and again and again; examine the various words or ideas in the text. Scripture itself speaks about this practice. You will find mention of it in Joshua 1:8 and Psalm 1:2.
We tend to remember important things that people say. We also remember things that people who love us say to us. How much more shall we remember what God has said? The Lord both loves us and has said important things.
Memorization is a discipline; it needs to be done regularly and repeatedly, in order to make progress. It comes easier for some people than for others. Whether it comes easily to you or not, it yields great rewards as you internalize God’s Word. Start small if you need to-but start!
Study involves digging deeper in order to get a better understanding of the Bible. This involves not only taking a careful look at the Bible itself, but also consulting other sources that can help the reader gain greater understanding of the biblical texts.
These other sources include Bible commentaries, cultural background resources, and other theological works. There are many books in each of these categories that can be helpful. If books are not readily available to you you can find many resources on line.
#5 Group Study
If you meditate on Scripture, memorize it, and study it you will come away with a far greater understanding of God’s Word than if you merely read or listen to the text. You can engage in all of the practices I mentioned above by yourself.
However, studying the Bible with others can also be very helpful in increasing your understanding of Scripture. When you study with a group you get to listen to the insights and understanding of others. Some of the things they say may be things that you have not even thought of. We can learn from each other!
The practices listed above will help you get more out of your Bible. However, be forewarned, you will not become a Bible expert if you employ these practices for a week, or month, or year. This is a lifetime project.
We will never get to the place where we have arrived and can say now I know everything! But we are to pursue a greater knowledge of the Scriptures and the God who gave them. The important thing is to get started, if you haven’t already. And once you have started continue on!
John P. Lathrop - United States
John P. Lathrop is a graduate of Western Connecticut State University, Zion Bible Institute, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary’s Center for Urban Ministerial Education (CUME). He is an ordained minister with the International Fellowship of Christian Assemblies and has twenty years of pastoral experience.