by Stewart Topping
Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth 2 Ti 2:15
We all know that you have to study something to know how it works. Whether it’s a car, plumbing or God you have to study. If you only listen to someone tell you what to believe, you could be in trouble. I started reading a new book. Making Sense of the Bible and found it to be fantastic. It was free on Amazon and was marked down from $14.99. Well it’s not because it was free that I recommend it but it is a great book to understand that it not what you read in the Bible but that you get to know and interact with the God of the Bible.
Here are some highlights of this book…..
Making Sense of the Bible: How to Connect With God Through His Word
By David Whitehead
The goal in reading the Bible is not to simply read the Bible. The goal in reading the Bible is to get to know and interact with the God of the Bible
The goal in reading the Bible is to get to know and interact with the God of the Bible. In other words, the Scriptures were given to us as a way to know God. Knowing Scripture should not be an end in itself. This is important, because we can know a lot of Scripture and still not know Jesus!
The apostle John brings this to our attention in vivid detail as Jesus addresses the religious leaders of His day: You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you’ll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me! And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren’t willing to receive from me the life you say you want.
You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you’ll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me! And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren’t willing to receive from me the life you say you want. John 5:39–40 THE MESSAGE
There is an account in the twenty-fourth chapter of Luke of two men walking on a road to Emmaus after the death of Jesus. They encounter a stranger who can see that they are clearly upset. He asks them about their distress as he joins them on their journey. “How could you be in Jerusalem and not know what happened?” asks one of the men. They recount to him the story of Jesus. They speak of the miracles and the teachings, and then they tell of the tragedy of His death. As Luke’s account unfolds, we find that there is more to this stranger than appears. At the end of their encounter, the two travelers’ eyes are supernaturally opened and they realize the stranger is Jesus. There is much to be said for how Jesus reveals himself to them by breaking bread at the dinner table, but the men identify another trait that is a giveaway of His true identity.
Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us? Luke 24:32 NIV
The condition of our heart is very important, because our heart is the filter through which we perceive all of the Scriptures. If our heart is cold and hard toward God, we can read Scripture all day and not get much from it. If our heart has a desire to know God, then just one verse can come alive to us and satisfy our soul. So a logical question may be: “What is the heart?” The Scripture mentions the heart more than nine hundred times, but it rarely refers to the actual organ.
It defines the heart as the seat of our emotions,
- our intellect,
- And our will.
- It is that part of our innermost being that propels us through the seasons of life.
- The heart is a description of the inner person or the true nature of a person.
Let’s say that we are getting dressed for work and we realize that our clothes are feeling tight. Our intellect tells us that we are gaining weight, a number of emotions flow through us when we realize how our clothes are fitting us, and our will either resigns itself to this new reality or determines to change our eating habits and exercise more. All of these thoughts and actions flow together so seamlessly that we are hardly aware of the process. Similarly, when we don’t guard our heart we can approach
Scripture with our intellect fixed on how little time we have to read, and we rush through the passage in front of us. Our emotions can be frazzled from the demands of the day; therefore, our will sees no reason to focus our attention on what we are reading. Many times this results in a Bible reading experience that seems lifeless and sometimes frustrating. The heart is a vital part of reading the Bible.
I have known people who have gone to seminaries to study the Bible and have left the seminary with their hearts further from God than when they arrived. This is not a statement about seminaries so much as a statement about our reasons for studying the Word of God.