Tuesday, May 8, 2012

How to read the Bible!

This will be the last post on Sola Scriptura. We've affirmed the authority and the sufficiency of the Scriptures (2 Tim.3:16), we've established that the Scriptures are to be the only authority in the life of the believer and in the life of the church.

But here is the question that all evangelical Christians must ask: Am I being transformed by the power of God's word? is God's word impacting my life with God and with those that God has brought into my life? Is there real change taking place in my life ( spiritual growth)?

While we must start with the belief that the Scriptures are God's words, infallible and free from error, authoritative and powerful, but now we must go to the next step and allow God's word to change us from the inside out (Phil.3:14; Rom. 8:28-29).

The Book Sola Scriptura lists 8 ways that the Bible should be read so that that God's Word can transform our lives. "...men sin not only when they neglect to read the Scriptures, but also in reading amiss..." (Joel R. Beeke and Ray B. Lanning in Sola Scriptura).

Here is a list of the eight reverent and faithful ways to read the Scriptures with a short  thought of my own:

Diligence must be employed: If we really believe that we are reading the very Words of God, we then should read with more diligence than one would use searching for the winning lottery ticket he unknowingly threw away.

Wisdom must be used: The basic rules of Biblical hermeneutics should be known and employed. The believer should know how the Bible is divided into different epochs of redemptive history.

Proper preparation is critical: We must prepare our hearts before God asking for His Holy Spirit to give us understanding of His Word, remembering the words of Jesus, "the flesh profits nothing, but the words that I speak are spirit and life."

Meditation after reading Scripture: We must allow for the Word of God to take root in our inner landscapes---we must allow for depth after we read God's word.

Speaking with other believers about God's Word: This will allow the principle of "iron sharpening iron" to take place---this will also allow for the wisdom of others to come into your life and also allow you to help others in their understanding of God's Word.

Read the Scriptures with faith: We must read the Scriptures with faith (Heb.11:6); without faith it is impossible to please God.

The fruit of faith must be practice: After we receive instruction from God's Word we then need to put that instruction to work--- in other words we need to be "doers of the word and not just hearers," now didn't we hear that somewhere before?

Prayer is indispensable throughout our reading of Scripture: Prayer keeps us humble before God and assures us that our Bible reading doesn't become just academic, or a mere exercise to increase our knowledge---which can lead to prideful boasting.

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