From the Head to the Heart: The Practice of Bible Study
An issue for many Christians, we come to Jesus, we come to the altar call, we raise our hands during worship yet we never go deep into study nor do we take time to deepen our relationship with God. We say Jesus know my heart and think that's enough. But do YOU know His heart? Do you make being pleasing in His eyesight a priority for you? Many Christians tend to suffer from immaturity their entire lives. Why? Because they never took the time to allow studying God's word to mature them and grow their faith, their relationship. To ignore the Word of God, is to practically ignore God. Why? Because it is the primary way God reveals Himself to us now. He may draw you in with a song, a sermon, a prayer. But the people behind that song, that sermon, that prayer dug deep in God's Word to produce that fruit.
So, this is where we land today. We are at a place of DEEPER. But how can you go deep without an anchor? You can't unless you want to drown. And that's not the purpose of deeper. When you go deeper, you are matured and your spiritual muscles (head back to Spiritually Strong to understand these muscles) have a chance to develop. Then eventually what was deep to you in one season is shallow in the next season.
So, in this chapter Philip Nation brings to a place of understanding (1) why we need to study the bible as well as (2) how to study the bible. These are VERY important to know. How can you know and be known by God if you don't take time to read and study Him? Because that's what the bible is, God revealing Himself and His heart and His intentions for His people. That's like saying you have a husband but you spend no time with him, eventually you will find yourself without a husband. That is why you study God's Word.
Yes, there is ways to study the bible and there ways NOT to study the bible. Exegesis and Esisgesis are vastly different and can lead you down different roads. Exegesis is when you study the Word of God without any bias. You allow the Word to speak for itself and to READ YOU. Esisgesis is when you are looking for the Word of God to agree with you, you are not reading it to understand God and to discover everything He has to say to you. But instead you are approaching the bible with an agenda or bias.
One of the best parts is that Philip shares with us six grounding questions to ask yourself when studying the bible. He also shares with us how to go about studying in a group setting and how it looks in service. I also love that Philip addresses the notion that truth is relative, that what is truth for one is not so for another. That's not quite God's Word. When He gave the law and the statutes, He did not say what applied to some versus others (outside of how the Levites were to approach and serve in the temple). Then when Jesus came back and taught us further, He did not have bias on what applied to Peter but not to John. That is not our God. He has no bias, no favouritism. Much of the bible is set in such a way that it is black and white. If God said it, that's it. That's truth and there is no compromise or negotiation. It is US as human beings who must come to terms with His truth and obedience to God rather than God asking too much (*note the sarcasm).
Now note there are exceptions, the things and circumstances that are not directly addressed in the Word of God and therefore requires us to proceed in a way that we hope honors God. Yet at the end of the day we judge NO ONE or the choices they make. We always pray for them and ask God to provide guidance and love.
Head to Heart. From head knowledge to heart transformation.
God is after surrendered, transformed hearts as that leads to surrender and transformation in everything other aspect of life.