“Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the Lord!”
We finished up our bible-in-a-year plan at church, and we’re looking for our next thing. I say “thing” because we’re not sure what it should be. There is something to be said about annual plans. They certainly get you familiar with the bible. Personally, I like the chronological plans because it’s easier to keep track of the similarities and differences between books, like Kings and Chronicles, for example.
The downside is that you don’t get to stop and dig into anything. When you read through Ephesians in one day and then hit Timothy the next, you really are skipping over the top. So, it would be nice to slow way down for parts and really savor the word of God.
Perhaps a study would make for a nice change. There are more of these than one might think. Many really aren’t very good. Others are. To make things more complicated, some teachers start off strong but then stray. Rick Warren and Andy Stanley come to mind. It takes some effort to sort through these.
Studies work good for some things that you might not know such as end-times prophecy, for example. It certainly is beneficial to have guidance. On the other hand, I can find myself spending days simply diving deep into a section of scripture and letting the Holy Spirit show me what he desires for me. I actually like these the best. The last one I did like that was on Romans 5.
There’s something to be said about that:
John 6:45 It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me –
It’s amazing how the Spirit will reveal what he wishes, when he wishes. Two people can study a passage, yet it hits them differently. For example, let’s look at this:
Matthew 13:45-46 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
For me, I was greatly encouraged by this because that’s how I felt about Jesus. I abandoned my previous life, gladly, for him. He was worth far more than anything else I had. On the other hand, the Spirit spoke much differently to my mother. Her message was that Jesus was the one who sold everything to buy….her. In this instance, both of us are properly interpreting scripture. Neither contradict the other. It’s not an either/or issue; it’s both.
I guess that brings up a valuable consideration. What we learn from the bible takes on a whole new level of meaning when we talk about it with others. Study is good; but unless it’s shared, its value is limited. By interacting with others, we understand better what we have learned AND from what others have learned. Everyone benefits. Besides, what glory we bring to God when we share our amazement in God’s word! Two people in awe of the bible are probably just as enjoyable to God as a thousand-person choir. You know what I mean?
Here’s one study I’m really excited to get going on, one that I have been thinking about for some time. It hinges on this verse:
Isaiah 42:9 Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.”
One of the most encouraging aspects of our faith is that it is quite reasonable. Certainly, faith is required to be saved, but our faith isn’t blind faith. On the contrary, we have very good reason to believe what we do. Prophecy is one of them. The bible is plumb full of God telling us what will happen before it does. How does he know that? It’s simple. He is God, and we are not. He knows all things at all times.
Much of biblical prophecy concerned the coming Messiah, Jesus. Look at how Jesus address two groups:
John 5:44-47 How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”
Luke 24:25-27, 32 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself….They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”
I want to be part of the last group!
Father, there simply is SO much to learn and share. Guide me and guide our little church. We want our hearts to burn within while you open the scriptures to us! Amen.
Copyright © 2020 Scott Powers