Summary: The second of three sermons on the Bible and its importance

(Slide 1) John MacArthur tells the following true story.

A young couple from another church came to one of our assistant pastors for counseling about marital problems they started having soon after their wedding. After just a few minutes of interviewing the two, he could see they were miles apart in tastes, ideas, and opinions.

"What made the two of you get married?" he asked. "A sermon our pastor preached on Joshua conquering Jericho." "What did that have to do with getting married?" "Well," explained the husband, "Joshua and his army claimed Jericho, marched around it seven times, and the walls fell down. Our pastor told us that if we trusted God, claimed a certain young girl and marched around her seven times, the walls of her heart would collapse, and she would be willing to marry. So I did it, and we got married."

Our assistant pastor stared in disbelief. Was this man putting him on? No, indeed. In fact, several couples in that particular church had gotten married on the same basis after hearing the same sermon. This amazing story illustrates that, first of all, people can become extremely confused on what the Bible means and what to do about it. And second, the interpretation and application of Scripture is crucial to life decisions.” (source: © 2009)

Think that is mind-boggling? How about this story.

In 1995, a 21-year-old man was sentenced to two years’ probation in Kelowna, British Columbia, for hitting and choking his girlfriend into unconsciousness. The fight started in a car when the two disagreed over his interpretation of a certain passage from the Bible, and he reached over and smacked her in the face, blackening her eye. (source: © 2009)

Our main text for this morning is 2 Timothy 2:14-18 which says:

“Remind everyone of these things, and command them in God’s name to stop fighting over words. Such arguments are useless, and they can ruin those who hear them. Work hard so God can approve you. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth. Avoid godless, foolish discussions that lead to more and more ungodliness. This kind of talk spreads like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are examples of this. They have left the path of truth, preaching the lie that the resurrection of the dead has already occurred; and they have undermined the faith of some.” (NLT)

I want us to keep in mind the last sentence of verse 15 as go through this sermon (Slide 2):

Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.

Vital to understanding and applying the Bible is a correct reading and study of it. Without it, we can end up as the people just mentioned. It is very important to study the Bible correctly.

Now having just said that, I want to ease our minds and hearts this morning with the fact that we also have the Holy Spirit to help us do this correctly and that good Bible study goes better when it is done in a group. I think and believe there is a place for solo reading and study but done in a group, Bible study becomes a vital part of your spiritual growth.

And this morning, we are going to have some practice at it!

This is going to be a hands-on, or rather, a “minds-on” sermon. You are going to divide into groups and spend 15 minutes studying a passage of scripture together. You will pick one person to be your reporter who will share your group’s answers to the questions that will appear on the screen.

We will all be studying the same passage together and I will share that passage in a moment. But, I want to first share an outline that comes, as I have it, from the pen of Pastor David Durey who breaks Bible study down into a four step process:

(Slide 3)

Bible study starts with Observation: What does it say? Then we move on to step 2 with Interpretation: What does it mean? Then we move on to step 3 with Correlation: How does it fit with the Bible as a whole? Finally, we end with Application: How do I use it in my life? (Source: David Durey, Steps Toward Spiritual Maturity, Foundation of Hope, Portland, Oregon © 1996)

You have this four-step guide on a half-page insert in your bulletin so that you can use it in your group today and then at home as well.

Now I am going to give you advance warning that the passage I have picked to have you study is a challenging one. But, I picked it for a reason that I will share at the conclusion of this message.

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