Usually we read the Bible with our first eye out for how it/God can help us. “In what way will my life be better as a result of what I read” is foremost in our mind. Granted, there are things in Scripture that do help us… but that is NOT the primary reason we were given God’s Word.
The number one reason God inspired His Word to be written was to reveal Himself. Everything else is secondary. If we miss that as the reason for Scripture, we will miss it on everything else. We are not to use the Bible as the ultimate “self help” book. That is NOT the reason it was given to us!
Two Questions To Ask When Reading Scripture:
What does this text/passage reveal about God?
How am I to trust God as a result of this truth?
If we will approach The Word with these two thoughts in our mind, our time will be much more profitable! Try it…
Ron I am teaching a Spiritual Formations class for NOBTS this fall, along with Survey of the Old Testament. The Formations class is using Donald Whitney’s book, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. Last Monday we discussed chapters 2 & 3, Bible Intake. Whitney says there are six things we should do with the word of God–hear, read, study, memorize, meditate and apply it. I like that.
At the end of class we were talking about making journal entries (they are required to keep a journal this semester) regarding God’s Word. I gave them this simple tool, which is similar to yours. First, we should ask, “What did God’s Word say to me?” THen, we should record, “What I said to God in response to His word?”
Great blog. Keep them coming.
Very interesting Ron. And while I agree with your observations, what following your model will actually do is the ultimate in self helps. For everything in our lives emanate from our spirit which is where we meet, fellowship and communicate with our Creator. As we develop our relationship with him and mature in our understanding of him we mature our spirit and that brings peace and maturity to the balance of our lives. Good stuff!
Thank you for your comment! Yet I would disagree that this is the ultimate in “self help.” What happens when this “model” is followed is to worship God NO MATTER WHAT. If we lose everything (Habakkuk 3), our child dies (David), we’re thrown into the fire (Daniel, “But if not”), Paul and Silas singing in prison, etc… etc… etc.
The point of Scripture is to know God for who He is and worship Him on that basis alone. God is worthy of worship whether we gain any benefit or not… and the way to know God is primarily through His Word.
Hope that helps!
I agree with you Ron. My point is that as we ‘know’ God better and begin to worship him we become the best we can be and that is the ultimate self help. The ‘self’ part of self help is actually setting self aside and allowing God to occupy the throne in our lives and acknowledging his sovereignty, and in so doing become more of what he wants us to be which is our best. I do enjoy your responses!