Summary: To get the most out of Bible study you need to accept God’s word, analyze it and apply it.
GROWING THROUGH GOD’S WORD
A family was driving to Tampa, Florida. As far as the eye could see, orange trees were loaded with fruit. When we stopped for breakfast, I ordered orange juice with my eggs. "I’m sorry," the waitress said. "I can’t bring you orange juice. Our machine is broken." We were surrounded by millions of oranges, and I knew they had oranges in the kitchen -- orange slices garnished our plates. What was the problem? No juice? Hardly. We were surrounded by thousands of gallons of juice. The problem was they had become dependent on a machine to get it. Christians are sometimes like that. They may be surrounded by Bibles in their homes, but if something should happen to the Sunday morning preaching service, they would have no nourishment for their souls. The problem is not a lack of spiritual food -- but that many Christians haven’t grown enough to know how to get it for themselves.
As a human being, one of the marks of maturity is you learn how to feed yourself. This is true in spiritual growth too.
Heb 5:11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
The Bible is the best selling book in the world. Most of us probably have several Bibles in our homes yet still there are many Christians who are biblically illiterate. A few years ago George Barna wrote The State of the Church. He conducted a survey of self-pronounced Christians and here’s what he found about their knowledge of the Bible. Now, remember these are Christians.. 48% could not name the four Gospels. 52% cannot identify more than two or three of Jesus’ disciples. 60% can’t name even five of the 10 Commandments. When asking graduating high school “born again Christians” over 50% of them thought Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife. 61% of them think the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham. 71% of them think the expression “God helps those who help themselves” (Ben Franklin) is a Bible verse. No wonder George Barna summed up his book by saying that “Americans revere the Bible but, by and large they don’t know what it says. And because they don’t know it, they have become a nation of Biblical illiterates.”
We have to learn to feed ourselves on the word of God. Growing up I heard that it was important to study the Bible. The problem is that nobody ever taught me how.
1. I must ACCEPT it – acknowledge its authority
How you approach the Bible will determine how much you get out of it. If you approach the Bible as a skeptic it is going to be a closed book to you. If you approach the Bible with reverence and humility and you say “God, I want to learn from Your word,” you will find it opening up like a flower and it’s got enormous truth in it. You will never reach the bottom of the truth in the word of God if you’re open and you’re willing to let God teach you.
I heard about a high school teacher who was saying to his class, “I read the Bible and I just don’t get anything out of it.” One girl in the class raised her hand and she said, “Sir, the Bible is God’s love letter to His children. That’s what you get for reading somebody else’s mail.” If you don’t “get it” it’s because you’re not in tune with the Author.
This is the only book ever written that you can actually talk to the author, the Holy Spirit, while you’re reading it. When you do that you’re going to get a lot more out of it.
1 Thess 2:13 And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.
John Stott wrote: "We need to repent of the haughty way in which we sometimes stand in judgment upon Scripture and must learn to sit humbly under its judgments instead. If we come to Scripture with our minds made up, expecting to hear from it only an echo of our own thoughts and never the thunderclap of God’s, then indeed he will not speak to us and we shall only be confirmed in our own prejudices. We must allow the Word of God to confront us, to disturb our security, to undermine our complacency and to overthrow our patterns of thought and behavior."