Seeds of Promise Series by Shenica Graham
Maximizing Ministry Part II
Amplifying The Word
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Naturally, an amplifier magnifies the sound that travels through it. We like to think of the Amplified Bible as a Word amplifier. In part 1 of Maximizing Ministry: Maximize Your Bible Study, we learned some tips for getting the most out of your study time. In this continuation, we will further examine the source scriptures used in part 1. In the first lesson, we used the King James version of the Holy Bible in our scripture quotes. In We also like to use the Amplified version to help broaden understanding of key concepts.
Let us take a look at II Timothy 2:15 in the King James Version. ,Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. We can plainly understand that Bible study is encouraged in order for a workman to avoid disgrace, and to be able to “rightly divide” the word of truth. What does it mean to rightly divide?
The Amplified Bible expands upon this verse: Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth. Now where we learned to “study,” we have, “study and be eager and do your utmost.” We learn that to be approved means to be “tested by trial.” It is not simply an arbitrary process. Finally, rightly dividing the truth is defined as “(rightly) correctly analyzing and accurately and (dividing) rightly handling and skillfully teaching the Word of truth.” Here we see that we should not only learn but also be apt enough in learning that we become skilled teachers. Our learning should be tempered with accurate analysis of the Word. Study tools such as Bible dictionaries and the Amplified Bible help us to gain an accurate analysis of the Word. These tools should be part of our regular study habit.
In Maximizing Your Bible Study part 1, the section entitled, “Make a plan to read the entire Bible” included six elements to help you understand the purpose of Bible study. Here they are revised and amplified.
Add context to “snippets” – good sayings derived from Biblical principles, and you need to know where to find them). Learn to recognize the Word of Truth, and understand the backstory that surrounds it – what events led to the circumstance that produced the teaching that surfaced the truth. This is important because the truth is used to yield sanctification. John 17:17 in the Amplified version reads, “Sanctify them [purify, consecrate…” Bible study is a means of learning this context.
Guard you from false interpretations (Matthew 7:15) – intentionally bad intel or direct quotes taken out of context to “prove” false concepts; Matthew 7:15 KJV reads, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” The Amplified version reads, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you dressed as sheep, but inside they are devouring wolves.” The wording here is similar. So, what is a sheep and what is a wolf in this context. It would be too easy if these wolves wore costumes. They usually do not. True sheep have that character and qualities of the original Lamb, that is Christ, so called a lamb because of His sacrifice for our sins. As a natural wolf seeks to devour the sheep, the inward wolves in this context mean to spiritually harm the sheep of God, to render them ineffective in ministry, since it is a proven fact that sheep follow sheep, thus true spiritual sheep do cause the kingdom of heaven to be enlarged by drawing other sheep to the fold.
Improve your skill in wielding the Word for harvest (Matthew 9:37-38) – If you are not hearing Him speak to you about ministry, study more. The Amplified version expands the 38th verse, “So pray to the Lord of the harvest to [a]force out and thrust laborers into His harvest.” We see that sending laborers into the harvest involves more than gentle nudging to lightly consider the possibility of laboring in God’s vineyard. Nay, but the laborers will be sent out with force or strength and thrust out or compelled into the harvest to work. Bible study is like a farming tool. To help you become a better farmer, you can learn to use the tools of the trade. Bible study helps to stock your mental coiffeurs for on demand use. John 14:26 from the Amplified version reads, “But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you.”
Edify the body of Christ (Romans 14:19) – think about how your knowledge of the Word may help others who need a better understanding. Romans 14:19 KJV reads Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. The Amplified version reads, “So let us then definitely aim for and eagerly pursue what makes for harmony and for mutual upbuilding (edification and development) of one another.” Here we learn that to “follow after should be more” commanding as with a definite aim in eagerness. We see that peace is “harmony and mutual upbuilding,” and that upbuilding is edification and development. We learn that edifying the body of Christ required concern for the other person more than the self. We must take others’ well-being into consideration when putting any plans into action, when making decisions that affect both the body and ourselves. Bible study helps to identify courses of action that have mutual benefit, partly by developing a humble mindset. A selfish mind will not be concerned with others’ well-being above itself.
Prove your “salt” (Matthew 5:13) in God’s service as a workman without need to be ashamed. Matthew 5:13 KJV reads, Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. So what is a salty person? We are not talking about natural body salts, or smelling salts, or foot soaks. Matthew 5:13 in the Amplified version reads, “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste (its strength, its quality), how can its saltness be restored? It is not good for anything any longer but to be thrown out and trodden underfoot by men.” The two versions are very similar with the exception of “strength and quality.” Well, we know that salt is used for both seasoning and preservation. If we are the salt of the earth then a salty person both seasons and preserves the earth – with strength and quality. “Seasons?” you ask. There is seasoning that adds flavor and there are seasons as in the nature of the changes that the earth goes through. Actually, a “salty” person provides an example of change, that is, how to conform to the mannerisms of Christ through various seasons of life, while exemplifying strength of character and quality of service to the will of God. Bible study helps to prove, or test and purify your salt or ability to exemplify the flavor or elements of Christian living.
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. John 1:12 KJV reads, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” The Amplified version reads, “But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the authority (power, privilege, right) to become the children of God, that is, to those who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) His name…” Here we learn that the power given is actually authority, privilege, and right. Thus, the children of God have an entitlement to Sonship if they are willing to receive it. There is a prerequisite, though, they must adhere to, trust in, and rely on His name. Finally, in “See yourself in communication with God,” Maximizing Your Bible Study part 1 referenced II Timothy 3:16. The King James Version reads, All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. Now, let us take a look at the Amplified text: Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action).” Here we learn that “inspiration of God” is “God breathed” and that reproof is furthermore conviction of sin. We see that righteousness is “holy living in conformity to God’s will in thought purpose and action.”
Going one verse further to II Timothy 3:17, the Amplified version reads, “So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.” And this is the true purpose of Bible Study, whose understanding is part of maximizing its power.