A few weeks ago we spent our midweek service discussing practical ideas on how to have an inspirational walk with God . Foundational to an inspired walk is the need to continually probe, mine and go deeper into His word.
When Paul says all Scripture is inspired by God and that it is profitable so that you will be equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16), I believe he means that even the parts that are hard to read, or even sometimes confusing, will in the long run have an effect on our minds and our soul that will shape us into the kind of Christians who can stand strong our entire lives for Jesus, sniff out the errors of the world, and love all that is truly good and beautiful.
Here are a few ideas for going deeper.
I think it is good to always be reading through the Bible as a whole. There are many options you can choose from. This year I am reading through the Bible with a three-year plan. Other plans take you through the Bible in a year or less. Still other reading plans take you on a chronological journey through the scriptures. If you haven’t yet read the entire Bible, choosing this type of plan would yield tremendously worthwhile and rewarding benefits.
In addition, it is good to focus on some unit of Scripture for going deeper, like a book of the Bible or the Sermon on the Mount, or Romans 8. To go deeper, one way is to memorize it. I have done this with different chapters of Paul’s letter in the New Testament (Although truth be told, this was easier when I was younger!) Few things take you deeper into God's word then memorizing portions of it.
I would also invest in a very good study Bible. My current favorite is the ESV Study Bible. Read the introduction to the part of Scripture that you are studying. And read the notes. Don’t assume they are always right. Only the Bible itself is always right. But let the notes stir up thoughts that you can trace out for yourself.
And lastly, but probably not nearly as often thought about in regard to Bible study, is the importance of prayer. This is absolutely crucial. God hears our prayers and helps us be humble enough and alert enough and in-tune enough to grasp what he says.
In this regard, I have recently begun using the acrostic I.O.U.S. as I come to the Bible.
- I. Incline my heart to your testimonies. Psalm 119:36
(Since my heart is inclined to worry & work & lots of things other than the Bible)
- O. Open my eyes to see wonders in your word. Psalm 119:18
(Since my heart is so often dull and blind to the wonders of the word)
- U. Unite my heart to fear your name. Psalm 86:11
(Since my heart is often divided and distracted in many directions)
- S. Satisfy me with your steadfast love. Psalm 90:14
(Since my heart is so tempted to be satisfied in other things)
I pray God will grant us all the desire for and profit of going deeper into His word.