From the Pastors Desk
Approach Your Bible StudiouslyJuly 12, 2019 Pastor Byron Hand
We have been looking at Matt Smethurst’s book “Before you open your Bible: Nine Heart Postures for Approaching God’s Word.”
Week one we looked at the need to Approach your Bible Prayerfully
Week two we looked at the need to Approach your Bible Humbly
Week three we looked at the need to Approach your Bible Desperately.
This week we will be discussing the need to Approach your Bible Studiously. Two words we should miss when we don’t hear them in church. We may not hear them because they tend to frighten some. The two words are “doctrine” and the second word is “theology.” Don’t be afraid. Doctrine simply means a belief or a set of beliefs. Theology means the study of God. Two words which should be heard often among God’s people. Theology can actually be understood in a much broader sense. According to R.C. Sproul it “refers not only to God but to all that God has revealed to us in Sacred Scripture.”
How should we approach what God has revealed to us in the sacred scripture? We
should our Approach our Bible Studiously. With a sense of diligence and academic rigor. It is worthy of our great effort is it not? The Psalmist declares:
Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them. (Psalm 111:2)
Studied? It sounds like finals week! In a sense that is the meaning of the word. The verb carries
the idea of “seeking something out with care” and to “learn information not previously known.”
That sounds like study to me. The great puritan pastor A.W. Pink once stated that:
The Bible is no lazy man's book! Much of its treasure, like the valuable minerals stored in the bowels of the earth, only yield up themselves to the diligent seeker.
If this is finals week and the bible is our text … Class is always in session.
Think about this for a moment: We study what we love. We take time to read the sports page of the paper or check the baseball standings and stats online because we love baseball. We read that handwritten note from our wife or husband because we love them. We long to learn and hear from the one we love. When we study the words of our love or our favourite team we accurately represent who they really are.
“If we’re so careful to study and accurately represent our heroes and lovers, why are we lackadaisical in how we talk about (and represent) our Creator?”
The Bible is clear that as we approach God’s word we are to do so as careful students. This is so that we will accurately understand what He is saying and accurately represent Him.
One of my favourite passages in the gospels is in Matthew 22 where we read:
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
Look at the last four words “with all your mind.” Studiously!
How are you doing here? Do you approach your Bible with an alert and engaged mind? Are you prepared to read slowly, to ponder carefully, and to study seriously?
Paul and Silas came to Berea, a city in northern Greece. Paul preached. How did the audience respond? Have a look: (Acts 17:11)
11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
The word translated “examine” means to examine accurately or carefully (Acts 17:11); to inquire, ask questions in general (1 Cor. 10:25, 27). They checked it out … They studied their Bibles and checked out Paul’s theology. They didn’t just listen mindlessly … they loved God with their mind’s engaged and studied … studiously.
Look at Romans 11:33, 36
33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
What was it that arrested Paul’s heart and caused Him to erupt in worship? The answer is DOCTRINE. Doctrine, studied and embraced drove him to delight in His God. We study God to Praise God. And we cannot praise what we do not know. The purpose of theology and the study of God’s word is to stoke the fire of your worship of the living and true God accurately understood. Study of God’s word is intended to deepen our love for God, fuel my mission, and sustain my life. Remember from last week:
These instructions are not empty words—they are your life! (Deuteronomy 32:47)
Smethurst concludes this chapter with these words “submerge yourself in it (The Bible) and let it master you.”
I love the King James translation of 2 Timothy 2:15:
15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
That takes no explaining … Approach your Bible Studiously
See You Sunday,