RUNNING ON AN EMPTY TANK
Sometimes when I get busy running errands, I forget to put gas in my car. I have too much to do to stop so I’ll just do it ‘later.’ You know what can happen then. It’s like being too busy to eat, so you just skip meal after meal. That’ll catch up with you as well. The same is true spiritually as well. It’s easy to be so busy that we neglect regular time alone with the Lord. We deal with spiritual things all day. We plan Bible studies, pray with people and give Biblical counsel. But unless we have a daily intake of God’s Word and a time of close personal connection with God, we will soon be running on empty. We can be so focused on what we DO that we start to neglect who we ARE. Then we start to become discouraged, drained, impatient and frustrated. It’s because we are trying to operate without the proper fuel. Let God fill you with His presence. But that takes time, quality time – as does any worthwhile relationship. It takes time talking and listening. We don’t want to become like the religious rulers in Jesus’ day – so busy doing godly acts that they missed out on their personal connection with God. Remember, its all about relationship, and that means our own relationship with God.
How old were you when you started studying the Bible? When did you first learn how to study the Bible for yourself? Paul tells us that Timothy knew the Scriptures from the time he was an infant (2 Timothy 3:15). He affirms that the Word is profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. These four uses of Scripture form a good outline for personal Bible study. If your own method of learning the Bible is getting a bit stale, why not try something fresh for a bit of a change. Follow Paul’s outline to Timothy and perhaps you will discover some brand new insight into God’s Word.
TEACHING: Ask yourself what the passage you are studying says about God. What do I learn about His character, purpose or power? What does it say about others and the temptations or trials they face? What does it say about ME? Is there any insight into my own sins or struggles?
REBUKING: As you think about the truths you have read, is there any place where you are falling short? If so, where? Why is this happening? Is this sin a root problem, or a symptom of a deeper problem? For example, you may find yourself critical of others. Is criticalness the root problem, or could it be that someone has unfairly criticized you and you are having a hard time forgiving.
CORRECTING: If you see a sin in the passage you are studying, what should be done to correct it? In other words, what is the opposite of the sin? What action or plan will you be taking to correct the problem?
TRAINING IN RIGHTEOUSNESS: Now that you have seen where you fall short and what you need to do to correct that, what do you need to do to stay on track? How can you make this change a part of your life?
While not all passages will fall into this pattern (promises, for example will not work here), this can be a good way to study Proverbs, Paul’s epistles or even the statements made by Jesus. Howard Hendricks says the only wrong method is the one you use all the time. So if you’re looking for a fresh slant to your Bible study, why not try the Timothy method.
2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
Psalms 19:7-8 The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
John 5:39 You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me,
Think of some times when you had a great time of Bible study – what made those times so meaningful?
What are some of the strengths of your current personal Bible study method?
What are some of the weaknesses of your present way of studying the Bible? What can you do about them?
If you’ve discovered something that helps make your Bible time more meaningful please let us know. We’d love to share some of these in future blogs.
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)
Copyright © 2020