Summary: You can’t master the Bible, but the Bible can master you. This sermon encourages people to join the Bible Reading Revolution and describes how to spend 10,000 hours with the Bible in your lifetime.
[This sermon is contributed by Hal Seed of New Song Church in Oceanside, California and of www.PastorMentor.com. Hal is the author of numerous books including The God Questions and The Bible Questions. If you are interested in The Bible Questions Church-wide Campaign, please visit and watch Hal’s video at www.PastorMentor.com.]
How Do I Live What I’ve Learned?
The Bible Questions, Part 6
Good morning everybody!
We are winding down our series on The Bible Questions today. At the end of this service, you’ll be part of the first wave of Bible Questions alumnae. Right now there are churches in Minnesota, Pennsylvania and California doing the series with us. In January, there will be more churches from those states, along with Washington, Florida and hopefully others as well.
By the end of this service, you will know enough to be Bible-dangerous. Because today I’m going to tell you the secret to mastering the Bible.
• So far in our series, we’ve learned that the Bible is God’s gift to us. Lincoln said that.
• We’ve learned that it’s a book like no other. God said that.
• We’ve learned that the Bible can make us better. Psalm 119 said that.
• And last week we learned that one great way to get the Bible into you is to practice a three step process called, Inductive Bible Study.
Do you remember what the three steps are?
Observation: What does it say?
Interpretation: What does it mean?
Application: What am I going to do about it?
To give you a chance to practice these learnings, we are going to dive into the simple, four-chapter book of Malachi next weekend, so we’ve included a booklet in your Program called, “Understanding the Prophets is as Easy as Tying Your Shoe.” I hope you’ll read this today and then this evening or tomorrow morning, go to our website and access the simple guides that are there for helping you study Malachi. I’ve prepared one study per day so you can master the O/I/A method over the next four weeks.
If you’re just joining us today, you can catch up with us by picking up a copy of
The Bible Questions
And joining a small group this week. Just go to the small groups table in the lobby and they’ll sign you up. We have groups that meet every night of the week.
Alright, if you’re ready for one more set of learnings today, make like Sponge Bob and turn to a neighbor and say, “I am ready!”
Great! Now pray this prayer after me:
Speak to me.
Throughout this series, we’ve dipped our toes into Psalm 119. I want to get ankle deep in it this morning, so…
Find a Bible and open it to Psalm 119:97. It’s on p. 438 in the black Bibles under your chairs. If you have your own copy of the Scriptures, the middle chapter of the entire Bible is Psalm 118, so open close to the middle and you’ll find Psalm 119.
While you’re turning there, listen to these words from the Apostle Paul written to his best friend, a man named Timothy:
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:5
As far as we know, 2 Timothy is the last letter the Apostle Paul ever wrote. Paul, who knew the benefits of the Bible as well as anyone short of Jesus, told Timothy that if he wanted to maximize his life, he should do his best to study the Bible.
Well that’s what Psalm 119 will tell us.
Before we read it together, let me tell you a little about Psalm 119.
Psalm 119 is an alphabetic psalm. (Say, “alphabetic psalm.”)
What that means is, it’s a psalm that’s laid out alphabetically, so that in the first stanza, every sentence starts with the letter “A.” In the second stanza every sentence starts with the letter “B.” The third, “C,” etc. – Except that Psalm 119 was written in Hebrew, so instead of ABCD, it goes Aleph, Beth, Gimel, Daleth. If you want to learn the Hebrew alphabet, all you have to do is look at the stanza headings for Psalm 119.
There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet, and whoever wrote this psalm decided to include eight verses in under every letter. 8 x 22 = 176. So Psalm 119 has 176 verses to it. It’s the longest chapter in the Bible.
Every one of the 176 verses mentions God, and 173 of the verses mention “the law,” or “the commands” or the “statues,” or some synonym for the Bible. Psalm 119 is a song, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to tell us how incredible the Bible is.