Spending time in the Bible
And still more from my lesson from the book The Pursuit of Holiness:
Not only do we need planned time in the Bible, we need a planned method. Usually the method falls into 4 categories and we need to be doing all of them.
1. Hear the word. Through pastors or teachers.
2. Read the Bible ourselves
3. Study the passages intently
4. Memorize key passages
So one thing we can do is take a pastor’s sermon and listen. Maybe take notes. Then each day of the following week, read the passages mentioned in the Bible, look up cross references and finally pick some of the verses to memorize.
But then we go further. We meditate on it. God told Joshua as he was assuming leadership over Israel: Joshua 1:8Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
Few of us take the time to do this. We rush through our reading to “get it done”. We find it odd to just “sit and think”. It takes discipline.
And the objective of our meditation is application. Obedience to what Scripture says. Again this takes discipline because it takes discipline to break habits.
We’ve talked in other lessons about questions we should ask ourselves while reading the Bible:
1. What does this passage teach me concerning God’s will for my holy life?
2. How does my life measure up to this scripture – specifically where do I fall short?
3. What definite steps of action do I need to take to obey? And be specific.
Here’s an example the author gave about the love chapter: 1 Corinthians 13. He said as you read and think about it you realize the importance of love and you also see the practical outworkings of love: love is patient and kind and does not envy. You ask yourself, “Am I impatient or unkind or envious toward anyone? As you think about this, say you realize you are envious toward someone. So you confess this sin to God, specifically stating the person’s name and you ask God to bless the person and to also give you a spirit of contentment so that you won’t continue to envy this person, but will instead love him or her. You even start looking for ways to help this person. And you do it everyday until it sticks and you really do have a spirit of love toward the person.
This is discipline toward holiness. It’s a structured plan. And that’s why it’s a life long process.