I sought to answer that question in my latest column, titled, “Thinking Biblically about Pujols and Millionaire Athletes.” You can read it HERE.
Archive for February, 2011
Singing is a great way to get God’s Word into our hearts. Seeds Family Worship is a great resource for helping us sing God’s Word. I frequently hear our children singing God’s Word as as they play because they have heard songs like this so often:
The title suggests we should memorize the entire Bible. Not a reasonable goal for most of us. But how much of the Bible do we have hidden in our hearts? Few practices in your life will yield as much fruit as memorizing portions of God’s Word. Here are a few ideas for helping you integrate this difficult but vital spiritual discipline:
1. Have a Scripture memory accountability partner. It’s helpful if you are both on the same Scripture memory plan, but even if you are not, it’s beneficial to have someone else spurring you on to success.
2. Find a plan. Don’t put more work on yourself by having to figure out which Scripture you are going to memorize and when your goal will be to get it memorized. Here are two of the most popular plans:
(a) Topical Memory System – The Navigators developed this system several years ago and it has benefitted numerous Christians, especially those new to Scripture memory. The iPhone app for this tool is $2.99
(b) Fighter Verses – This system grew out of the children’s ministry of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It’s also the plan I recently started. The iPhone app for this tool is $1.99
3. Memorize in your primary translation. For example, since the ESV is the primary translation I use, I memorize from the ESV.
4. Write out the verse(s) you are trying to memorize…multiple times. I don’t know if they still do it in school, but back when I was growing up, one of the ways students were punished for bad behavior was to write multiple times on the chalkboard (remember those?) the behavior they would not continue. Example: write 50 times on the chalkboard, “I will not talk in class.” Well, the principle applies to memorizing God’s Word. Just keep writing it out until you have it memorized. It works.
5. Keep good records of what you have memorized and go back regularly and review. If you do not review regularly, you will forget what you have memorized. Back when I was in college I memorized the first chapter of James. I still can remember parts of the chapter, but can no longer recite it from memory verbatim.
What are some ideas you have when it comes to Scripture memory? What has worked for you? How has Scripture memory impacted your life?
So much could be said about studying the Bible. But here are a few pointers that will go a long way in helping a person study the Bible:
1. Study God’s Word humbly. Approaching the Word with reverence and awe and humility will grant you favor in understanding the text. Isaiah 66:2b (ESV):
But this is the one to whom I will look:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit
and trembles at my word.”
2. Study God’s Word contextually. Always read the Bible with the immediate and larger context in mind. Immediate context refers to what is close by the text you are reading. In other words, when studying a book like Colossians, keep reminding yourself of what is before the verses you are reading and what is right after the verses you are reading. Larger context refers to the basic overall theme of the Bible, which is that God through Christ saves His people from their sins for His glory.
3. Study God’s Word inductively. Perhaps no other organization has done more to promote personal inductive Bible study than Precept Ministries. But their method is not new. Inductive Bible study means starting with what the text says (observation), moving next to what it means (interpretation), and then, finally, seeking to discover how to apply it to your life (application). Getting these three out of order usually leads to bad doctrine, bad thinking, and ultimately, bad behavior.
4. Study God’s Word dependently. Depend on God’s Spirit to give you wisdom. Also, and this is very important, depend on good teachers to help you. God’s Spirit has given saints through the centuries much wisdom in studying God’s Word. Avail yourself of resources from others to help you: Bible dictionaries, Study Bibles, commentaries, sermons, etc. But a word of caution is warranted: be careful not to place these resources as more important than spending quality time at the source itself, God’s Word.
Nothing has done more to accelerate spiritual growth in my life than discovering Professor Horner’s Bible Reading System. I tweaked it by combining two of the Old Testament lists and then creating a new list of Romans, Galatians and Ephesians. Below is Professor Horner’s plan, followed by Pastor Brett’s plan. The most important thing of all is that you are in God’s Word regularly. Also, here is a page that mentions several different plans for reading God’s Word.
Yesterday I preached on Colossians 3:16, which says…
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
My posts at http://www.pastorbrett.com this week will focus on advice and resources for applying this verse. Some of the material will be new, but most of the material I will be pulling out of the archives.
Here is the topics I plan to cover:
- Reading the Bible
- Studying the Bible
- Memorizing the Bible
- Singing the Bible
To start, here are some links to resources I mentioned during the message yesterday:
I lifted all the following from Justin Taylor’s blog and I pass it along to you:
An Afghan physiotherapist will be executed within three days for converting to Christianity.
Said Musa, 45, has been held for eight months in a Kabul prison were he claims he has been tortured and sexually abused by inmates and guards.
Mr Musa, who lost his left leg in a landmine explosion in the 1990s, has worked for the Red Cross for 15 years and helps to treat fellow amputees.
He was arrested in May last year as he attempted to seek asylum at the German embassy following a crackdown on Christians within Afghanistan.
He claims he was visited by a judge who told him he would be hanged within days unless he converted back to Islam.
But he remains defiant and said he would be willing to die for his faith.
He told the Sunday Times: ‘My body is theirs to do what they want with.’
You can also read the Compass Direct News report, which begins:
An Afghani amputee in prison for his Christian faith since May will face a judge this Sunday (Nov. 21) without legal representation or knowledge of the charges against him, according to local sources.
Denny Burk suggests that if you have Twitter, you post one of the following:
Mr. President, speak wisely and boldly, in private if necessary, for Said Musa, imprisoned in Kabul. http://dsr.gd/ezR3jW @BarackObama
Update: A valid point by Paul Marshall:
If the actions of a Florida pastor who threatened to destroy a book holy to Muslims deserved public and presidential attention, then the actions of the Afghan government, ostensibly a ‘democratic’ ally, to destroy something holy to Christians, a human being made in the image of God, also deserve public and presidential attention.
Powerful story about a freshman in college who overcame his fears and shared the Gospel on the beach in Daytona:
I was a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania.
If it had been one year earlier I would have been at Daytona Beach to join in the partying. As it was, God had intervened mercifully in my life before going to college, and I was there for a beach evangelism project. Christians sure know how to almost have fun.
A bunch of us had driven down from Philadelphia in an old van. The first night I ended up staying alone in an isolated motel room surrounded by drunk bikers partying outside my door. One night a homeless man who seemed to be high on drugs approached our group while we were out walking and said, “I know who you are! You’re here to tell us about Jesus!”
Read the rest HERE.