Seeds of Promise Series by Shenica Graham
Maximizing Ministry Part I
Maximize Your Bible Study
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The Bible (Word of God) is an authoritative source. Have you said to yourself a thousand times that you would read the entire Bible? Witness to your friends or family? Maybe even work in ministry? Do you ever think to yourself that someone else is so knowledgeable because they can quote scriptures as if they were song lyrics from your favorite radio station or CD?
Biblical knowledge does not take genius. It takes initiative. Thereafter, God is available to provide understanding. In 2 Timothy 2:15 we read, Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (KJV) From the Word, we derive examples provoking thoughtful meditation and tools for practical Christian living.
Begin with prayer. Ask God for understanding. He is the author. Ask for His wisdom. Make a plan to read the entire Bible. Some say only the New Testament is relevant. Others believe in Old Testament exhortations (like tithing) but do not accept the statute of liberty established by Christ.
Read the entire Bible if you have not already done so (and if you have, read it again). Your goal of reading the Bible in its entirety is not to “finish the book” like a novel. When you understand the purpose of studying, you may recognize the importance of getting the whole truth. The purpose is to:
- Add context to “snippets” – good sayings derived from Biblical principles, and you need to know where to find them);
- Guard you from false interpretations (Matthew 7:15) – intentionally bad intel or direct quotes taken out of context to “prove” false concepts;
- Improve your skill in weilding the Word for harvest (Matthew 9:37-38) – If you’ve ever thought witnessing was difficult… keep studying. Labourers in the harvest are often the result of much communication with God. If you are not hearing Him speak to you about ministry, read more;
- Edify the body of Christ (Romans 14:19 (http://bible.cc/romans/14-19.htm) ) – think about how your knowledge of the Word may help others who need a better understanding.
- Prove your “salt” (Matthew 5:13 (http://bible.cc/matthew/5- ) in God’s service as a workman without need to be ashamed. What good is all the “smarts” if you can not pass the test? If God asked you today, why you believe what you believe, what would you say? Would you even have an answer?”
- Prepare you for “sonship” (John 1:12). Spiritual Sonship is a special relationship with God – it is not about being a male child. Sonship is the ability to manifest the promises of God. If you are going to manifest the promises, shouldn’t you know what they are?
Join a Bible-based study in a group. Groups are particularly effective to maximize Bible study when you are beginning this chapter in your spiritual growth. You have the opportunity to ask questions and get feeback from others. You may find others with the same or similar questions you seek answers for. Remember that being part of a group does not limit you to group study. While your group may meet on set days at a specific time, God is always available when you are! Open a dialogue with Him throughout the week, even when you are not in class.
See yourself in communication with God. When you understand that God is not a dictator, you can open your mind to receive the relationship that God wants to have with you, rather than waiting for what He will do “about you” because you are not in communication with Him.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: II Timothy 3:16 KJV
When you read the Bible, you are reading the conversation of God. You become part of the conversation by seeking understanding of what is communicated, through prayer. Change the way you think about Bible study. While you may research a specific topic (i.e. the Trinity, or salvation or tribulation, etc.)- if you view this academia as strictly fact reporting, your responsibility is to be objective. When you study the Bible as an infallible source of authority, it follows that when other sources contradict the Word, you will accept the Bible. If you still think you are objective, it may be the source of difficulty in applying the Word to your life. It will be understandably difficult to use principles you only see as a “good idea” and not as “necessity.” Therefore, do not approach your Bible study as mere fact-gathering. Think of it as mentorship. You are a student of the apostles. You are a student of the world’s greatest humanitarian: Christ.
You are a student of the Most High God. True Bible study is apprenticeship.
View the Bible as relevant and relatable. If you regard the Bible as an ancient source of one-way dictation to your present-day interpretation, you block various levels of application by dismissing the Word as out-of-date. (After all, it was written long before you read it.) Not accepting the Scriptures as currently relevant will lead you to seek other sources first, in your search for practical life-tools. A simple self-test is to honestly think about the last time you shared the Word with someone. Did you find yourself apologizing for words that only applied to “Bible days?” When are Bible days? If you take up your cross, today is your Bible day.