Purpose of this Session
To learn simple but effective keys to engage with and enjoy satisfying times of study in the Scriptures.
It is important that we provide purposeful direction to our studies. It is not only our spirit that feeds, but our mind must also derive satisfaction from our times of fellowship with God and His Word. One way to encourage this is to create a mental framework through which we consider what we are reading. These can include:
i. Specific topical studies along a certain line
ii. Asking definite questions of what we are reading
iii. Look for common themes, things that are similarities and contrasts, repetitions, specific promises and commands
iv. Focusing our studies in areas that are relevant to our present situation, or in areas that God is specifically talking to us about at a given time.
v. Create an environment conducive to learning
Specific Topical Focus
We will take the book of Proverbs as our example. Let’s say that you have determined to read through the entire book of Proverbs. To maximise your reading however, try something like this;
· Read through Proverbs underlining every scripture that applies to wisdom and understanding.
· Read through Proverbs underlining everything that speaks about the words of our mouth.
· Read through the book of Proverbs underlining every Proverb which talks about the righteous (keeping in mind that we are now the ‘righteousness of God in Christ Jesus’, so they apply to us).
Already you will have read the whole book of Proverbs 3 times. Each time your mind is anchored on the subject you have chosen, so remains concentrated on what is being read. Without focus our mind wanders. Our best intentions can be hindered by a short attention span. In this way, we merely help our mind along the road by providing touchstones that it can look for. Without a goal, we often cast off restraint. With a goal set before us, we give our best shot to reach it.
This principle can be applied to entire books, single chapters or any portion of scripture you are considering. Here are some ideas:
• The subject of ‘believing’ or ‘belief’ through the book of John.
• The reaction of different people to Jesus through the book of Mark.
• The action of the Holy Spirit, or the use of the name of Jesus through the
book of Acts.
• Characteristics of good kings and bad kings through the books of Kings and
Ask questions of Scripture
Children ask questions all the time. As we approach scripture, we should come with this heart of childlike simplicity and inquisition.
Who is speaking? Who are they speaking to? Who are they speaking about? Who is this promise made to? Who is expected to obey this command? Etc...
What is being said here in simple terms? What does this mean to me? What is he/she doing/saying/meaning? What kind of reaction did this action provoke? Etc...
Where did they come from? Where is he/she going to? Where is this city/town? Where is this event occurring? Etc...
When did this happen? When are they intending to come/go? When am I in a similar position to this character? When can I apply this truth in my life? Etc...
Why did he/she say or do that? Why do they react this way? Why did God record this story in scripture? Why is this Truth not working in my life and how can I change so it does? Etc...
How does this apply to my life? How does he/she do what he/she does? How can I be more like this character in scripture? How can I avoid the pitfalls that this person fell into? Etc
Look for common themes, things that are similarities and contrasts, repetitions, specific promises and commands
As you comb the scriptures in this way, also look out for common themes and ideas, similarities and differences, repetition, promises made by God (and the conditions for those promises to be fulfilled) and commands made by God.
A great example of repetition, similarities and differences is found in the book of Colossians. Here’s a quick exercise for you. Read through Colossians and list the following things:
A. The things we are urged to ‘put on’ and ‘put off’.
B. The things we are to ‘to let’ happen in our lives.
C. The things we are ‘to do’ and ‘not to do’
Focus your studies on areas relevant to your present situation, and apply what you learn.
If there is an anointing present at a particular time, leading you to look at and consider a particular subject/book/character etc, give yourself to it while the light is on. If the light is shining in that area lap it up, because pretty soon it may be shining somewhere else and you’ve lost an opportunity for revelation. Say for example, you just can’t get away from healing scriptures. Every time you pick up your Bible you are drawn to those scriptures that speak of God’s will and power to heal. Buy books about healing; listen to tapes by men who move in the healing anointing and gifts. Give yourself wholly.
Create an environment conductive to learning
Put more simply, this means sit at a desk or table, not in your favourite lounge chair with the TV on. More will be achieved in 15 minutes of serious study than 40 minutes of half-hearted reading. There is something about creating a studious environment, with all the materials that you need (pens, books, note paper etc), that encourages the mind to obtain and retain more from our times in the Scripture.