The discipline I most hope to pass on to my kids, the one that has changed my life more than anything else is…
Before I explain, let me tell you about a place called Qumran in Israel.
Qumran is where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947. Arguably the greatest archeological discovery of all time. Here is why it was a big, big deal. Prior to that time, the earliest copies of the Old Testament that we had were from AD 900. These scrolls found in 1947 were dated back to 200 BC 1100 years earlier. When compared, they were 99.9% accurate. The only differences were from word spellings like the Old English word Saviour versus Savior. In the days when the only copies were handwritten… do you know HOW they stayed so accurate? Those copying the Scriptures would:
If they made a mistake they broke the pen, buried the paper (like a funeral because it was “the Word of God” therefore they didn’t destroy it!), went to the mikvah (ritual cleansing bath), and started over. Every time they wrote the word “God” they would break the pen and go to the mikvah. It was tedious, time-consuming work. They honored the Bible! Why? Because they believed with their whole heart that the Bible was (and is) THE VERY WORDS OF GOD!
When I visited Israel with the Forge, every time after we read the Bible out loud, we all said together “the very words of God.” Such a great reminder for us all. Try it for yourself!
The Bible is easily accessible to us today. Many of you probably have five to ten Bibles in your home right now. But our familiarity with the book doesn’t translate into our knowing of the Author. Nor does it mean we respect and love it like we should. Don’t ever, ever, ever forget… the Bible is “the very words of God!”
So what is my one spiritual discipline that has changed me more than all others? Reading my Bible. Because it is the very words of God. I made a decision to take it more seriously and really commit to reading it.
So how do we start taking it more seriously?
Take a look at Psalm 119:1-11.
“Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord! Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways! You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently. Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes! Then I shall not be put to shame, having my eyes fixed on all your commandments. I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous rules. I will keep your statutes; do not utterly forsake me! 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.”
David wrote this psalm. And all he had was the Old Testament! This is the longest chapter in the Bible, the middle chapter in the Bible, and it mentions God’s Word in all but two of the 176 verses!
Think about your own time in God’s Word. Do you get a text message in the middle of studying? Kids need you? Spouse interrupts? Time to head to class? These are the types of distractions you will have to deal with if you are committing to be in God’s Word. God wants to speak to us. He has given us His very words. Are you willing to remove the distractions?
If you really believe the Bible is “the very words of God” it changes how you read it!
James 1:19-25 says:
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”
“Hearers” versus “Doers.” Let us be doers of the Word as we listen to what God says in it!
So, here are the 3 P’s of Bible study…
PRIORITIZE – You will have to make some hard decisions to prioritize reading His Word. Maybe it’s going to sleep earlier. Or even staying up later. You may have to say no to some things.
PLAN – Go through a SOAP (Scripture. Observation. Application. Prayer.) or REAP (Read. Examine. Apply. Pray.) journal or something similar. There is also a free download if you want to try it out first! Reading plans are also helpful (here are some great options).
PLACE – Determine a location that minimizes distractions and ideally puts you in a place to easily connect with God.
How I do it
I choose the early morning, but it used to be late night and for several years it was after lunch. I look at the next day’s schedule early so that I know what time I need to go to bed so that I am fresh and ready to get up. This requires me saying no to certain late night things. I get a cup of coffee and my Nebraska Snuggie.
How I got started—“No Bible, No Breakfast” commitment
Something that helped me prioritize time in the Word was to make a commitment to myself to not eat my breakfast until I’ve spent time in my Bible. If I wake up late and don’t make the time for the Word, then I commit to skipping breakfast for the day.
Do you want to commit to reading God’s word more regularly? Think about your priorities, plan, and place and nail those down.
Posted Sep 8, 2020