Getting the Most Out of God’s Word

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Once while watching TV, I saw a preacher just completely MANHANDLE a particular piece of God’s Word. But what bothered me more than his gross mismanagement of the text was the response of the audience!

Hundreds of people in this large auditorium stood up rocking and swaying, weeping, wailing and shouting their approval back at the preacher as he moved them with his erroneous teaching. Some of them stood holding their closed Bibles and clutching them tightly to their chest.

My first thought was: “If they’d sit down and open it, they might realize that what they’re shouting about has no biblical relevance whatsoever.”

One of the biggest lies people tell on God’s Word is the “many interpretations” lie. Opponents of Scripture’s inerrancy – and even some Christians – will say, “There is more than one interpretation to God’s Word. Everybody has their own interpretation.”

And while this may be true – people do tend to interpret God’s Word with…ahem…. “variety”  — that doesn’t make it correct. When God moved through and inspired divinely called men to write Scripture, He didn’t have 1,000 different potential meanings in His mind. That would make our God confused, unstable and slightly bipolar. Only politicians can say one thing with 1,000 potential meanings. God just had ONE. And contrary to popular belief, there IS A WAY to prayerfully gain and understand that ONE correct interpretation to God’s Word.

And YES…the Bible WAS written by men. However, they were men who were INSPIRED or carried along in their writing by God. In other words, God told them how He wanted His story to be told. I often hear people say: “Well I’m not going to believe the Bible because I’m not going to believe something written by a bunch of men.” And my response to that is: “Don’t be a hypocrite.”

The men that wrote Scripture not only were carried along by God through the Holy Spirit, but they were EYEWITNESSES of what God did and who He was throughout time. Now, how is it that we read and believe every other man-made account or eyewitness report about everything else that happens in the world….even thousands of years ago, yet when it comes to God’s Word, all of our belief and normal rules of interpretation that we apply to everything else goes out the window?

We hear an “eyewitness” report on television and we run and tell somebody. Why? Because we believe it. We read something in a newspaper or a magazine or website and we copy and paste it, share the link, etc. without question because it came from our favorite news source and, by golly, it must be true.

We read books by our favorite authors and unquestionably believe in what they write because – well they’re an author and why wouldn’t they write what they intend for their reading audience to grasp?

And don’t even get me started on all of the stuff we see people post on Twitter and Facebook – urban legends about women getting eaten alive by snakes, tales about social media sites stealing our information and giving it to the government, or about Facebook charging for its services, etc. We don’t even check the facts before hurrying up to post it on our pages…only to find out later that your Facebook/Twitter friend got swindled by another hoax. (Let Snopes.com be your best friend on social media).

So what we’re saying is God can give men gifts and talents to write in order to titillate our senses and inform us civically and politically but He can’t give men gifts, ability and inspiration to sit down and write His own story? Does anybody other than me see the demonically influenced trickery and seduction involved in this?

I’ll say it again:

Scripture has just ONE ORIGINAL INTERPRETATION. But when we glean the proper interpretation, we CAN be safe to draw hundreds and even thousands of personal life APPLICATIONS from it that can bolster our spirituality by infusing us with power.

For the Word of God says: “The unfolding of Your Word gives light. It gives understanding to the simple.” Psalm 119:130 (NIV). I like how the Contemporary English Version articulates it: “Understanding Your Word brings light even to the minds of ordinary people.”

So what does this mean? It means that despite how we often moan and groan about the difficulty in understanding the Word of God, the truth is God made it and intended it to be SUPER SIMPLE. To where even a child, or the most uneducated among us could grasp it and run with its power! It’s the enemy that tricks us into believing that it’s too hard to read, too difficult to practice…or that you have to be a super saint or theologian and scholar to truly get God’s Word.

When I first became genuinely interested in God’s Word for myself – that is when my parents didn’t have to try and MAKE me read it lol – I would listen to ministers and teachers mine out Scripture’s nuggets of truth and I would sit in awe. “Wow. I wonder how they got that out of there?” It was fascinating to me, and as early as age 11 I resolved in my mind that I didn’t want to just sit in awe of people who knew their way around the Word. I wanted to BE one of those people who knew his way around God’s Word!

I came across a book by Kay Arthur when I was about 19 or 20 years old that shared what was called the “Inductive Bible Study Method.” And throughout that 200 page book, I dug out these key principles that have helped transform my understanding of God’s Word, and I believe it will help you too. I’ll share them here. Six simple steps…and later I’ll expound upon each.

Six Steps to Power Packed Personal Bible Study:

  1. Pray earnestly to God for understanding from the Holy Spirit.
  2. Select the passage or text that you want to study.

Now the next three steps will be summed up simply with one word. I’ll explain them each later, I promise:

3. OBSERVATION.

4. INTERPRETATION.

5. APPLICATION.

And, finally, always end your study just as you began:

6. Pray earnestly to God to speak further to you by His Spirit about His Word.

If you walk with me over the next few days and weeks, I’ll share with you by audio, video (if I can get my webcam to work) and by writing how these six steps will begin to transform your devotional and study time with God and His Word. Then as His Word becomes less daunting to you, you will find your desire for it increasing and the power of God that your life begins to exhibit may shock you! I promise!

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~ by gabrielcstovall on July 10, 2012.

One Response to “Getting the Most Out of God’s Word”

  1. I love this! I say this all the time….how do you receive what every other written word by man says, but discount the Bible. Those who seek the spirit of the true and living God will KNOW what God means. Period.

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