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The Sword of The Spirit
“Find your own Calcutta.” – Mother Theresa AMP
The Bible is called, the bread of life and the Sword of the Spirit . Jesus said that man (and woman) will not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God . Since the Bible is God-breathed , it follows that we shall live by it’s words also. Learn how to maximize your Bible study to get the most nourishment from this staple to your spiritual health and wellness.
A physical sword consists of a blade and a handle. If a sword blade is allowed to dull, this powerful tool could be rendered useless in the realm of its purpose. The same is true with you. You must keep the Word of God afresh in your mind. This is the tool that is able to divide betwixt and between the very soul and spirit, to circumcise the heart from iniquity. In order to grow closer with God you must be willing to shed whatever is not like him. The Word of God is sharp enough to make that needed cutting away of sin from the heart. A sword handle in trained hands allows the wielder to perform a specific task. How you handle the Word will largely determine its effectiveness in your life. If you see it as just a book, you may not handle it with care; you may not practice your skills in using it; you might not recognize it as both an ointment of healing and a weapon of spiritual warfare.
When you understand and appreciate the tools that are available to you, you become a more effective warrior. Though the battle is the Lord’s , God often manifests His power in your situations through people. He may use other trained “Swordsmen” to fight for you. He may also want to use you in someone else’s situation. Becoming a woman of purpose means that you will not only be open to victory in your own life; you will also be prepared to work on God’s behalf in the lives of others.
Biblical knowledge does not take genius. It takes initiative. 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.
To help you chart a course through the scriptures, use the suggested daily reading plan in this book. Following are a few tips to help you maximize your Bible study. Begin with prayer. Ask God for understanding. He is the author. Ask for His wisdom. 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 all, read it again – and keep re-reading it). Your goal of reading the Bible in its entirety is not to “finish the book” like a novel you may only read once before moving on to something else and forgetting the former text. When you understand the purpose of studying, you may recognize the importance of getting the whole truth.
The following is not an exhaustive list of benefits of Bible Study. However, these should give you an idea of how this womanhood course can maximize your Word experience. They will help you put the Sword of the Spirit into the context of tools for your purpose.
The goals of reading the Bible in its entirety are:
- To Add context to “snippets” – to expound good sayings derived from Biblical principles for which you need to know their Biblical reference, or to know that they are not exactly Biblical as some of the good sayings adopted in the world are not scriptures, though morally accepted. If a snippet is Biblical, you want to know where is it found (can it be verified?). Verses taken out of context can lead you to draw conclusions that may harm your faith and or spiritual growth. Research terms and concepts that you do not understand. Help yourself to take in those concepts and definitions in the right perspective. You do not want to allow a misunderstanding to stall your journey to purpose;
- To Guard you from false interpretations (Matthew 7:15) – intentionally bad intel or direct quotes taken out of context to “prove” false concepts. Your personal study is key to maintaining a right division of the truth [II Timothy 2:15]. A good word interpreted incorrectly could cause it to be received as something other than what it is. It could cost a victorious a victorious testimony.
- To Improve your skill in weilding the Word for harvest (Matthew 9:37-38) – If you have 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. You want to become familiar with various scriptures that apply to specific situations you may encounter. You might need them to encourage yourself in a tough time. Someone else might also need them and you could be the one to share a comforting word.
- To Edify the body of Christ (Romans 14:19) – think about how your knowledge of the Word may help others who need a better understanding. All of the scriptures in the Bible without a good understanding is not an ideal situation. In all your learning, you should strive for understanding . Without understanding, it is difficult to apply Biblical principles and concepts to your life. Application of truth is important if you are to learn and grow. Applying the Word to your life is how you relate to the scriptures. Without relatability, there is typically a problem of establishing relevance. If you cannot see the Bible as a relevant tool for today, it will end up collecting dust on a shelf. There, it will not sever you well. The Bible will serve you in this life when you understand and apply it to your daily living.
- To Prove your “salt” (Matthew 5:13) 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?” You are to be able to give an answer to anyone ask you about why you hold hope in salvation and what you believe . The Word says that you are the salt of the earth. Salt is both a seasoning and a preservative. The enemy comes to destroy mankind. However, the salt of the earth adds the flavor of holiness and helps to keep mankind from destruction. Studying the word will strengthen your ability to help preserve the good in others and the Spirit of God within you.
- To 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? Sonship is a privilege that comes with a commission. You do not become a Son of God to flaunt your position in the kingdom. Becoming a son means that you now have the privilege of contributing to the family. Sons have a job to do.
Join a Bible-based study group. Groups are particularly effective to maximize Bible study when you are beginning this chapter in your spiritual growth. In a group, your knowledge may be tested. You can take this opportunity to test your scripture memory and develop confidence in speaking openly about the word and Biblical concepts. Groups allow you to hear the perspectives of others. In a Bible study group, you have the opportunity to ask questions and get feedback from other members. You may find others with the same or similar questions you seek answers for. Endeavor to make healthy comparisons without being judgmental or critical. If you do not understand someone’s interpretation of a scripture, ask for clarification. However, do not use study groups as an excuse to argue about verses. Healthy conversation is good. Starting a fight over the Bible is not the work of a woman of purpose.
Do Not Judge Your Brother
As for the man who is a weak believer, welcome him [into your fellowship], but not to criticize his opinions or pass judgment on his scruples or perplex him with discussions.
2 One [man’s faith permits him to] believe he may eat anything, while a weaker one [limits his] eating to vegetables.
3 Let not him who eats look down on or despise him who abstains, and let not him who abstains criticize and pass judgment on him who eats; for God has accepted and welcomed him.
4 Who are you to pass judgment on and censure another’s household servant? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he shall stand and be upheld, for the Master (the Lord) is mighty to support him and make him stand.
5 One man esteems one day as better than another, while another man esteems all days alike [sacred]. Let everyone be fully convinced (satisfied) in his own mind.
6 He who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. He also who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God; while he who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.
7 None of us lives to himself [but to the Lord], and none of us dies to himself [but to the Lord, for]
8 If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or we die, we belong to the Lord.
9 For Christ died and lived again for this very purpose, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
10 Why do you criticize and pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you look down upon or despise your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God.
11 For it is written, As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God [acknowledge Him to His honor and to His praise].
12 And so each of us shall give an account of himself [give an answer in reference to judgment] to God.
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 and through prayer. 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 day, even when you are not in class or with other people.
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. Remember that 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
You may need to 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, that may be a source of difficulty in applying the Word to your life.
It will be understandably difficult to use principles you only see as “good ideas” and not as “necessities.” Therefore, do not approach your Bible study as mere fact-gathering. Think of it as mentoring. 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 something related to your personal experience. 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.