[CF Devotionals] 2010-01-29 - Spas of the Scripture

Part 5

  • Process

    Process the word of God or, in other words, don't just think on the Word and meditate on it but dig deeper into it and really analyze it. It is not how many times you have been through the Bible but how many times the Bible has been through you (and how thoroughly). Understand what truth is really revealed in each passage and even in many cases by words used.

    One cool example of this word usage is in John 1:14. In English it says "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us". That's good to know that Jesus put on flesh to dwell among us. Well by examining the words used. We see in Greek this word "dwelt" is actually skenoo which means to set up tent or to tabernacle. It means also to reside (as God did in the Tabernacle of old, a symbol of protection and communion). Just as the Jews approached God's throne (the ark) through the Tabernacle we can approach God's heavenly throne through our tabernacle, Jesus Christ.

    "Rightly dividing" means we are to figure out the who, what, when, why, and where of the scripture. Who is the passage for? Who is it about? What is it about? Is it symbolic or literal? And there are so many other questions to ask. Coverdale wrote his plan of study in the preface of the 1535 translation of the Bible: "It shall greatly help ye to understand the scripture, if thou mark no only what is spoken or written, but of whom, and to whom, with what words, at what time, where, to what intent, with what circumstances, considering what goeth before and what followeth."

    A friend of mine uses what he calls the 3 three's to study scripture:

    type - doctrinal historical inspirational

    time frame - past present future

    audience - Jew Christian all mankind

    To fully understand any scripture the reader must decide if it is doctrinal, historical, or inspirational for each audience and time period. For example - the laws of sacrifice are historical for the present Christian but for Jews of the Old Testament past they were doctrine.

    Psalm 119:48 says, "My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes." We are to meditate on the word of God and he has promised to teach us from it. Psalm 32:8 says "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye."

    Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
    "We should be careful not to give all our time just to reading the Word, to see how much we can cover, but, after reading a portion, we should carefully, prayerfully turn it over in our minds, and appropriate in our hearts" - Wilber M Smith (from Profitable Bible Study)

    Meditation is good - it's medication for the soul. Really think about the scripture passage as you read it over and over again. We should picture ourselves in the Word. See our selves as a sheep in the green pastures by a gentle stream. Put your self in the "all" of Romans 3:23 and in the "whosoever" of John 3:16. We should walk a mental mile in the shoes of the Apostles.

    James wrote "But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed." (James 1:25) Let's look at the law of liberty, the freedom we have in Christ recorded in the Bible, and continue in looking but don't just study and process it but also be doers.

  • Apply

    Being doers means we apply it or act on it. Once you really understand by the study and processing of scriptures apply it to your life. Live by the word of God. Understanding the truth but never acting on it does no good. Understanding the gift of salvation but never accepting it does no good. Understanding the plan of salvation but never following it does no good. Understanding the Word of God but never believing it does no good.

    Apply it to your life and act on the revealed truths of it. Study and memorization is great. Processing them to get the ideas behind it and knowing where to look for the answers is even better. But they are useless if we don't use those answers.

    Like the wise old sea captain who stood on the bridge of his ship day in, day out that opened a small box and peeked inside before giving any order. He never let anyone else see the contents. Finally the day he retired, all the men of the ship rushed to the bridge and cut the lock off the little box to see what was there. What had been his guide in so many orders? Hidden inside was a piece of paper that read "left - port, right - starboard". We too need simple guiding words written on our hearts.

    Why do we study and process? The psalmist gives us the answer in Psalm 119:11 "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." We learn the Word to avoid breaking it. We have to really know it to apply it. Even Satan knows the scriptures. He even used scriptures to tempt Jesus and used Gods spoken word in order to deceive Eve. If Satan knows the Bible you better know it better. DL Moody said, "God did not give us the scriptures to increase our knowledge but to change our lives." Knowledge is useless until it has been applied.

    Psalm 119:105 states, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." Illuminating a path is not necessary if we sit comfortably on our hindquarters all day long. We need to see where we are going only when we are going. "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult, and left untried." (G.K. Chesterton in What's Wrong with the World. Christianity Today, Vol. 39, no. 1)

In order to apply you must go to the final SPA.

We'll cover that in the final installment next week. Until then...


[email adam] acdum@hotmail.com

All scripture references from KJV unless otherwise noted