To study the Bible is not a choice that a Christian can decide to do or not to do, but it is the duty of all Christians to study the word of God. When studying the word of God Christians must be careful in their approach in order to get the most of of their time spent in the Bible. Here are three simple tips that are crucial for studying the Bible.
1. The first Tip is to approach Bible study through prayer. Do not simply jump into reading a passage of scripture without first going to the Lord in prayer. The way to approach your Bible study is to ask the Holy Spirit to be your guide, to open up the word of God for you and to assist you in understanding.
2. Do not skip around in the Bible. Pick one book and read all the way through that book before moving on to other areas in the Bible. I would suggest if you are a new Christian to read all four Gospel accounts before moving on to any other area of scripture. When we read books we do not simply open a book and read a paragraph here and there and then the next time we open the book and randomly start reading some other portion. The Bible should be approach the same way in order to understand what we are reading we must allow the Bible to present its content fully.
3. The third tip for Bible study is to highlight or take notes of what you’re reading. By highlighting or taking notes it will help you absorb and memorize more of the Bible then you would otherwise if you was just reading through it.
The word of God is our means as Christians to understanding God. Frequent Bible study is crucial for growing our faith. By approaching Bible study in prayer and by reading the Bible in proper order and highlighting or taking notes are three simple tips that allows a Christian to grasp the word of God more fully.
In Luke 18 we are taught the importance of humble repentance. We are given an example of a Pharisee who is praying a prayer that is exalting his obedience to the law and giving thanks that he is not like other sinners. The other individual praying is a tax collector who has recognized his sin and has come to God in prayer to simply ask for mercy and forgiveness. The prayer of the Pharisee is prideful and receives no response, but the humble prayer of the tax collector receives an answer, he walks away with mercy. Let us approach the throne of grace humbly. Let us dig deep in our hearts and ask God to forgive our sins. If we do, our relationship with God will grow and we will become transformed.
Luke 17 gives an account of 10 people with leprosy who asked Christ for healing. They were told to present themselves to the priest and they were cleansed. However, only 1 of the 10 returned to give glory and praise to God. We are told that the one individual who did return to give thanks was a foreigner and because of his faith was saved. The other 9 received healing but scripture does not state they received salvation. The man who came back bowed down to Christ and recognized he owed his restoration to Christ. He accepted Christ as the source of his salvation. While the others were cleansed and witnessed the power of Christ firsthand their hearts remained hardened. Today, things are not so different. People are confronted by Jesus Christ, and they witness his power firsthand. Unfortunately, they leave their encounter with Christ to never return to him, they will never hear the words, your faith has saved you.
In Luke 14 we are given a warning, following Christ comes with a cost. A person must be willing to place Christ first in their life, even above their own family and above themselves. A person who wants to follow Christ should be willing to pick up their cross and follow Jesus. To pick up their cross is a symbolic statement that to follow Christ is a life of sacrifice. We sacrifice our own self interest for the cause of the Kingdom.The person who wants to follow Christ should look inward and decide if they are willing to truly commit themselves fully to the cause of Christ. The cost is not cheap.
In Luke 14, we are taught, a person who humbles themselves will be exalted but one who exalts themselves will be humbled. We have no righteousness apart from Jesus Christ. Therefore, we should remain humble. Being humble as a Christian is recognizing there is nothing special about us apart from Christ. God did not provide salvation to any Christian because they did good works. Salvation comes through the atoning work of Jesus Christ. We are to be humble because we understand that apart from a Jesus Christ we have nothing. We owe everything to Jesus Christ!
In Luke 13 we read about a tiny mustard seed growing into a tree that provides rest for the birds. We read of a little leaven mixing with flour and making the whole batch of flour leaven. The theme of these parables are clear a little can become a lot. A little faith can change you completely. A little faith can change those around you. A little faith can change the world because a little faith becomes a complete faith.
In Luke 13, Jesus tells a parable about a vineyard owner who gives an order to cut down a fig tree that failed to produce any fruit for 3 years. However, a vineyard worker pleads with the owner of the vineyard to give the tree 1 more year and he will do everything within his power to see if the tree will bare fruit. In this parable the vineyard owner is God. The fig tree is symbolic for Israel, and the 3 years represents that Israel has had ample time to produce fruit. Therefore, the vineyard worker who extends the fig tree chances by another year is the ministry of Jesus Christ. This parable is a good analytical tool for Christians. Are we the type of fig tree that is of value to the vineyard owner or are we producing no fruit. The scripture is clear if we know Christ we will produce good fruit. This is evidence of our faith walk.
The definition of stewardship according to Merriam Webster is “the conducting, supervising, or managing of something: especially the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care”. As a Christian we are to be good stewards of the responsibilities that God has entrusted to us. We are to represent Christ in our day to day actions and manage ourselves in a manner that is consistent with scripture. As Christians we have been entrusted with the gospel, and I pray we are good stewards, looking and praying for opportunities to share the good news with the world.
Make today count. In Luke chapter 12 we read of a wealthy man and his plan to tear down his old barns and build new barns to hold his abundant harvest. The wealthy man thinks he will be able to live easy the rest of his days from these storehouses. However, the man perished that very night and all his plans never come to fruition. There is not one day promised to anyone and therefore, we need to prioritize our days to ensure we are putting first things first. As Christians we have a duty to spread the gospel and to participate in kingdom building. Today is a opportunity to do just this, and we have no way of knowing how many opportunities we have.
In Luke chapter 11, a clear warning is presented to those who were dining with Jesus. The heart response determines the worth of our actions. It is not enough to do good deeds or obey commands of scripture because we think this will grant us the favor of a God. We must have a true love of God in us, if our hearts are right with God then the motivation of our actions will be pure and no part of us will be in darkness. I pray today we all grow in our faith and our light shines bright as a testimony of a Jesus Christ.