By Kevin Guigou – Associate Pastor
I first entered a bookstore 50 years ago. Since then, the world of reading and study has blown wide open!
Bible study is easier and more enjoyable than ever. Helpful resources can be easily accessed from a bookshelf or computer screen.
All the principles and methods of exploration with books can be applied online by today’s truth seekers.
The CFFM board of trustees has an ongoing desire to lead and encourage our faith community in the joys and resources of simple bible study. Jesus once shared that the most important commandment was to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
“The most important [commandment] is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:29 ESV (referring back to Deuteronomy 6:5)
That describes loving God with everything that we are. Yet, sometimes we overlook loving God with all of our mind.
The Lord doesn’t require us to be scholars, but loving God with our minds surely includes investing our intellect, logic, and focus in a desire to learn.
No matter our academic comfort zone, we Christ followers can think of ourselves as forever students of the Word.
Jesus not only walked by his Father’s spiritual voice, he was also a student of Scripture, as he showed when he was tempted by the devil (Luke 4:1-3) and walking with the disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:25-27).
A Scriptural Egg Hunt
To be like Jesus, we enjoy being pupils of the written Word – trainees in Truth. It was God’s idea to establish his will in writing, complementary with the direction of his Spirit.
“It is God’s privilege to conceal things and the king’s privilege to discover them.” Proverbs 25:3 NLT
It’s “the honor of kings to search out a matter” (KJV). The principle can be likened to a children’s Easter egg hunt.
It would be much easier to give each child a carton of eggs when they arrive and send them home! But the whole idea is to experience the search; to taste the joy of hunting with the anticipation of reward; to invest effort toward the celebration of joyful discovery.
As teacher Bill Johnson shares, God hides things for us, not from us.
Aren’t we entertained by detectives who solve crimes as they dig through evidence to seek out the truth? Stories draw us in about explorers searching for hidden treasure or lost cultures while overcoming obstacles and setbacks.
With a similar passion, followers of Jesus explore written revelation, blending Scriptural discoveries with the voice of the Lord in our hearts.
And that learning process of growth was meant to be done as a community of spiritual seekers. “Iron sharpening iron” should apply to Bible study, as we discuss, test, and confirm what we’re learning.
Reading God’s Breathing
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 KJV
Across history, God’s family could be described as “people of the Spirit” as well as “people of the Book.” A love for God ignites a love of reading.
In Luke 4, Jesus opened his public ministry by reading from Isaiah 61.
“And [Jesus] came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.” Luke 4:16
Also, as in Matthew 21:42, he often asked, “Have you never read in the Scriptures…?’”
In Acts 8, as the Ethiopian eunuch was reading the scroll of Isaiah, Philip asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
Paul also encouraged the believers in Ephesus to read and understand.
“As you read what I have written, you will understand my insight into this plan regarding Christ” Ephesians 3:4 NLT
To the Colossians he requested that they read several of his letters.
“And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea” Colossians 4:16 ESV
He also charged the Thessalonians, “… have this letter read to all the brothers” (1Thessalonians 5:27).
Paul asked the Romans, “What does the Scripture say?”
And he encouraged faithful Timothy, “devote yourself to the public reading of scripture.”
Lord, energize our love of reading!
Why Study Matters
The purpose and habit of exploring written revelation is for much more than getting questions answered. It cultivates a lifestyle of revelation.
It keeps us in an atmosphere where God’s presence tends to dominate and melt away many of our challenges before they gain a foothold.
We allow the content of the whole scope of Scripture to wash over us throughout our lives.
Next time, Pastor Kevin will dive into practical methods and tools to study the Bible. To be encouraged more about the joy of reading the Bible, check out Carol Furman’s “I GET to Study the Bible!”