I remember so clearly being a young boy asking my mother that dreadful question parents must hate hearing… Why, or for us… How come? At least as a child, I thought it must be an extremely difficult question because I hardly ever got the answer I wanted. What I usually got was, you guessed it… BECAUSE I SAID SO! Not quite what I asked but, I was just a child. As kids, we learned that was the voice of authority, and we also had to learn how to pick our battles, at least I did.
Our Heavenly Father doesn’t deal with His kids in quite the same manner. In fact, He’s already given us clear cut instructions on any challenge this life has to offer, even on what to do about sin, the world, and the devil; Sin- Rom 6:1 “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” The world- Mat 5:14 “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.”; Mat 13:22 “He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.”; Rom 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” And admit it, everybody’s favorite; 1Jn 5:4 “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” Finally, the devil- Eph 4:27 “Neither give place to the devil.”; Eph 6:11 “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”; Jas 4:7 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”; 1Pe 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” And the most misunderstood; 1Jn 3:8 “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” But our Heavenly Father didn’t stop there. If we’re still troubled about anything, He said in Matt 21: 22 “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive”.
But prayer isn’t the focus of this study, Study is the focus. However, not so much on how to study but the need. There must be some strange inbred reason why most men feel the need to bypass written instructions and just start putting things together on their own, like bookshelves, or coffee tables. When I get a new phone, the first thing I do is open the box, take out the phone and set the box aside… instructions still in the box, turn on the phone and start pushing buttons. Hey, maybe I’m the only man like that but statistics say I am not alone. When I started reading the Bible my approach was pretty much the same. I just opened it up and underlined or highlighted whatever looked good to me. In other words, I just started pushing buttons. So often, we would rather read books about the Bible, or just believe whatever our favorite preacher said, rather than actually study it for ourselves. Way too many instructions.
But Kingdom living is not as easy as putting together bookshelves and coffee tables, or using a smart-phone. It’s spiritual, Kingdom living is related first of all, to The Spirit of The Living God and how He wants to deal with our human souls, spirits, and eventually our bodies. Secondly, it’s about how we respond to what He wants, or His will for our lives. And thirdly, (and I know the order might seem backward but it’s not) it’s about Christ Jesus, and whether we’re willing to bend the knee to the One who has has been made both LORD and Christ (Acts 2:36). Let me explain the order, 1… John 4:24 “God (The Father) is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” Parentheses added by me. The Spirit of God dealt with mankind from the very beginning. The plan of Redemption was set in motion before the foundation of the world:
Eph 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:” I know we’re in the habit of putting Jesus first in everything. We have probably heard and said it thousand times “it’s all about Jesus”, and in many ways it is. But we tend to forget that our LORD Jesus wants to us reveal His Father, who is now our Father, and The Holy Spirit the respect they are both due. We never pray to Jesus, we come to our Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus. In other words, there is a chain of command as we often forget, or we have not been taught these principles.
Now, this is what The Spirit of God has placed on my heart. This happens to be the core of my ministry, i.e., HOW TO STUDY YOUR BIBLE. I know that some tend to think “the ministry” is reserved for the elite. Just briefly look at these verses so that there is no conflict or confusion:
Eph 4:11 “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:”
“We’re all in this thing together. 2nd Timothy 2: 1. “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 3 You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. 5 And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. 7 Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.8 Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, 9 for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 11 This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. 12 If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. 13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself. 14 Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. 17 And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, 18 who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some. 19 Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of [g]Christ depart from iniquity.” 20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. 21 Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. 22 Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. 24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will. ” (NKJV)
2nd Timothy is believed to be the last letter Paul wrote to his beloved son in Christ. 2nd Tim. 1:2 “To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” His concerns for the ministry were great. There were so-called Christians perverting The Gospel he taught to Timothy. So his advice to him was sound and well-grounded. Remember, whenever you see the word ‘therefore’, stop… backup a few verses and figure out what it’s there for. Originally there were no chapters nor verse numbers. There were not any punctuations we use to clarify meaning, they were all added at the discretion of the translators. This is a fact you should never forget as you study The Word. We should always look to The Holy Spirit for clarification, not the translators. I went back to 2nd Tim. 1:13-18, which says:
13 “ Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 14 That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. 15 This you know, that all those in Asia have turned away from me, among whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. 16 The Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain; 17 but when he arrived in Rome, he sought me out very zealously and found me. 18 The Lord grant to him that he may find mercy from the Lord in that Day—and you know very well how many ways he ministered to me at Ephesus.” (NKJV) This surely will be continued…