Summary: God has given us the Bible to know how to love, follow, trust, and obey God.
Just before I moved here a friend of mine took me up in a single engine aircraft that he jointly owned with several other persons. It was a clear and warm August day in 2000 and we flew over downtown Grand Rapids and made several circles around our home in NE Grand Rapids as I took pictures of it from around 5,000 feet high.
Then we headed over our church property and the school where we were meeting at the time and then into NE Kent County when Phil said, “You fly.” So, I took the stick and while I love airplanes and still do after all that has happened, I was scared to death. I was very much aware at that point of what it takes to fly an airplane.
I did not do a very good job of flying. In fact, I did not notice that I was pushing the nose down as I took control of the stick. But, Phil did. He kept saying, “Pull the nose up.”
Phil has flown for many years. He knew by watching the instruments and by his experience and training that the nose of the aircraft was pointed down, not a lot, but just enough to cause the airplane to descend. Phil had a point of reference that I did not and that is why he understood what was happening and I did not.
This morning, we are continuing to study ways of sustaining and establishing our relationship with God. And this morning our topic of study is about a very important way that God has given to us that helps us know how to live the Christian life.
Here are some clues:
1. It has been called the “Word of God.”
What is the Bible?
2. A verse in this book says, “It is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true.”
What is the Bible?
3. Without it I really can’t preach on Sunday morning.
What is the Bible?
Last Sunday, we used our right hand in regard to prayer as follows: (Overhead) Praise, Cooperation, Petition, Forgiveness, and Victory.
And I suggested that prayer: establishes, deepens, and sustains our relationship with God.
Today, we are going to use our left hand to help us understand how to study our Bible because God has given us the Bible to know how to love, follow, trust, and obey God. (Overhead)
Now, before we hear how to study there are two things that are very important about the Bible:
1. The Bible is the central and only true guide to the Christian Faith. Yes, there are books about the Bible and even books about books of the Bible. People who seek to help us understand what the Bible says write many of these books. But, when it comes to the basics of Christianity the Bible stands alone.
2. God wants us to understand the Bible. As I have said before, God has not given us the Bible and then stood back with arms folded and said, “Go ahead and figure it out.” He has given us the Bible to help us live the Christian faith. And He wants us to understand what it says.
One of the neat things about Bible study is when you ask kids to repeat back a Bible story they have heard.
Like the little boy who exclaimed when a pressed tree leaf fell out between the pages of an old Family Bible, “Hey, this must be where Adam and Eve left their clothes!”
Or the following written responses to various statements made in response to questions asked in the classroom:
“Jacob, son of Isaac, stole his brother’s birth mark.” Or “Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the Ten Commandments.”
If we are going to faithfully and wholeheartedly follow God in every area of our lives, then we must do five things with the Bible and David Durey has us use our left hand to help us remember those five things. (Overhead)
For us to love, follow, trust, and obey God we must hear, read, study, memorize, and meditate on the Bible.
In Romans 10:17 we read, “Yet faith comes from listening to this message of good news – the Good News about Christ.” Listening is another name for hearing. In fact, it is a very good description of hearing because for us to apply the Bible to our lives we must hear what the Bible says.
One of the ways we express our love for someone is by what, listening to him or her, right? And when we are listened to, we feel love and respected, right? Now, I have to confess, that I don’t do this perfectly. I need to work on this. But, when I take the time to listen, good things happen: My relationships with others improve, they feel loved and respected, and I understand the needs and thoughts of another person.