Steve Farrar in his book “Point Man” says that reading the Bible is the equivalent of a soldier eating his rations. The Bible is our spiritual food, and without it we become weak and easy prey for the enemy.
This month’s Briefing magazine (www.Matthiasmedia.com/Briefing) contains a series of questions to use when reading the Bible. These come from the Cornerstone church in Kingston, south-west London. Their church uses these questions when reading large slabs of the Bible, and they can be used individually as well. They’re great questions and I hope they can be of use to you in your Bible reading. Not all questions will apply to every passage.
- What strikes you? What questions does this passage raise?
- What dangers/ warnings/ sins are there? (1 Corinthians 10:11)
- What do you learn about God – Father/ Son/ Holy Spirit?
- How is Jesus previewed/ revealed? (Luke 24:27)
- How are you corrected and rebuked? (2 Timothy 3:16)
- How are you encouraged to endure? (Romans 15:4)
- What do you learn about doing works of service and building up the church? (Ephesians 4:11-13)
- What do you learn about loving God?
- What do you learn about loving your neighbour as yourself?
- How do you feel you need to change to live as a man/ woman of God?
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Sometimes little decisions are much bigger than they may appear at first glance. Let’s say that my boss at work wants me to stay back late, but it’s Bible study night. Should I go to Bible study? Or should I stay at work?
It seems to be rare that someone would fall away from the faith by making a one time decision that Christianity is not true. Usually people drift away from the faith, slowly.
A friend of mine works in ministry to the medical profession. He told me once that a survey showed that 70% of medical students who were Christian fell away from the faith. That’s an enormous percentage. The reason why this is the case is probably due to the fact that medicine is a career that is all consuming. Enormous hours at all sorts of times are required. Medicos can start to miss church and Bible study. They can find it difficult to find the time to keep reading the Bible. After several months they may find that they haven’t read the Bible or been to church, and it no longer seems to matter. Slowly they drift off.
Of course this is not true of all medicos (there’s the 30%!). And it’s not just doctors who are in such spiritual danger. There are some law and accounting firms that seem to demand similar hours from their workers. No doubt there Continue reading
In Acts chapter 6, a dispute arose between the Hellenist and Hebrew Christians regarding the daily distribution to widows. The apostles handed over the responsibility for this task to seven chosen men. Why? So that they could devote themselves to prayer and the ministry of the word (Acts 6:4). This is a key verse, I think, about ministry. Ministry is made up particularly and especially of two things: the word and prayer.
This has long struck me as being very significant, particularly when it comes to prayer. I spend many hours a week preparing my sermon, as I should. I study the passage of Scripture, usually in the original language, and pour over it with commentaries, making notes and thinking about meaning and application. There’s no easy way around sermon preparation – it takes hours. It probably takes me about 10 hours or so these days. Immediately after Bible College it was double that. So do I spend 20 hours, even 10, in prayer? If my ministry as a pastor is prayer and the word of God, should I not be giving a lot of time to prayer as well?
In James last post, he wrote about Holiday Guilt.
His post addressed his sense of guilt arising from a slip in discipline. His reaction to a failure to maintain a Bible reading and prayer schedule was that he was displeasing God and that in so doing he would somehow earn God’s disfavour.
Well, James post points out the folly of this logic, so I won’t repeat what he has writes there.
Prior to James post and without collaboration on the subject of spiritual discipline, I independently decided to commence a new through-the-Bible reading schedule as it’s been a few years since I systematically read the Bible right through. I started this just before Christmas.
I’ve looked at many Bible reading schedules and each has its own merits, but I’ve been impressed with the new electronic through-the-Bible programs from YouVersion™. It’s a feature-rich website that offers over 50 reading plans, many Bible versions, and a 30/90/365 or 730 day pace, so you Continue reading