One of the classes that I have taken this quarter has been Homiletics. It has been an extremely helpful and practical class to say the least. It has also been a good refresher on Biblical Interpretation and truthfully the majority of the class has been in essence a hermeneutics class. Dr. Ryan Pack is the pastor of FBC Hendersonville and has been a great professor with his passion for the Bible and its faithful exposition.
The last thing he shared to our class was something that he said was rather kindergarten. He had us to trace our hands on a piece of paper. That’s as kindergarten as it got that day. Next he proceeded to give us an illustration about proper Bible Study. I think its worth sharing, and so I’m sharing it with the world.
Dr. Pack held up his Bible and proceeded to show us how one cannot balance the book with just one finger, and as he gradually started holding it with four fingers he had a better balance and even better with a thumb. But even with all five fingers gripping his Bible it can still be pulled from his hand easily. It wasn’t until he had all five fingers and was gripping his bible with his palm that he had a firm grip on the Bible.
He then began to have us to write one principle for Bible study in each of the fingers we had traced. They were as follows:
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” – Romans 10:17
We learn more about the scriptures from hearing them proclaimed. This is one of the most influential things on our Bible study. We learn from those who teaches. (This should be a reminder to those of us that teach/preach that how we handle the text of scripture is emulated by those who are under our teaching/preaching.)
“Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.” – Revelation 1:3
To know the Bible you must read the Bible. Many of us claim to believe the Bible is the beneficial inerrant word of God but we don’t devote much time to it. But God calls for us to read his word. Psalm 119 is a great example of the primacy of the word of God in the life of a believer. Dr. Pack quoted the text from Revelation and I would add Paul’s words to Timothy, “Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.” – 1 Timothy 4:13 This isn’t a liturgical option we are called to the public reading of Scripture and the private reading of Scripture.
“Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.”
The Bereans were diligent students of the Scriptures. They daily studies the Scriptures and they weighed the teaching of the Apostles against the Scriptures to see if what they said was consistent with them. This is the spirit of worship and of study we ought to have if we truly desire to know the word of God. We need to always be in the Scriptures if we desire to have a proper understanding of them. We also need to have a spirit of discernment when it comes to the Bible teachers we read and listen to. We need always compare what they are saying with what the entirety of Scripture really says.
“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you’ let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that i might not sin against you.” – Psalm 119:9-11
Memorizing scripture is invaluable. It helps when reading other parts of the Bible. Its of tremendous benefit in the battle of the mortification of sin. Its great to know what God says when trying to share his story with others. Memorize Bible verses, I can’t say it enough.
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” – Joshua 1:8 and “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of waterthat yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.” – Psalm 1:1-3
Spending time thinking about the Bible is certainly a great way to get to know it better. Meditation keeps the things of God upon our minds throughout the day and night as Joshua is commanded. If you’re not accustomed to meditation, try to think upon a verse of Scripture throughout the day. I believe you’ll find it of great benefit.
Those were the five ‘fingers’ so to speak that Dr. Pack gave us, but lastly he gave us the palm of a hand to really get a grip on the Scriptures. In the palm he had us to write:
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” – James 1:22
We must apply what we hear, read, study, memorize, and meditate upon. The Word of God is living and active and is useful for teaching, correction, reproof, and training in righteousness so that we can be equipped for every good work that God has prepared for us beforehand. The Bible isn’t for just mere intellect or a sense of piety. James’ imperative is quite plain, we’re to do what the Word of God written and properly proclaimed says. If we spend time hearing, reading, studying, memorizing, meditating upon, and applying the Word of God we’ll have a better grip on its content and our lives as Christians.
soli deo gloria