If you haven’t read the first part yet, I encourage you to do so.
He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. (Matthew 12:3-7)
We can get a lot from the passage above. But let us focus on the question, “Have you not read?” Of course, the Pharisees were able to read what Jesus quoted - they memorized the Law. We will do well if we remember that there is a kind of reading that is unprofitable. Let us avoid that kind of reading. Below are some guidelines that might help you in your study of the word of God (please feel free to add).
We must submit and depend on God in prayer. Apart from Him, there is no growth (1 Cor. 3:6). No one can explain the book better than the Author.
Dig for yourself. Sermons and commentaries are good, but you must read straight from the Bible. Drink straight from the source of water, not just from milk that is mixed with another man’s words.
Prepare physically. You are not always ready to study the word of God. Read when your mind is wide awake.
Meditate upon it. Don’t just go on reading chapters after chapters. Sometimes, it is better to just dwell on one chapter – sometimes, on just one verse.
Do not purposely avoid a part. There are gems in the history and in the genealogies, and treasures on the parts of the Bible that are not easy to study. Do not be afraid to go through the hard parts, even the confusing parts.
Be humble to seek for help. Philip saw a man reading Isaiah and he asked him if he understands (Acts 8). The man replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And Philip explained it to him. God gave others the gift of teaching (Romans 12:7), and that gift is for the benefit of the church – for your benefit.
Look for correction and affirmation. It is very important to confirm what you learned. It is nice to have a group of friends or a mentor to discuss things with. Affirmation and correction are very essential. Read. Ponder. Discuss.
Be acquainted with history. Personally, I find it very helpful to know how the church grew as to what is it now and how the word of God prevailed. History, specially the reformation, was really helpful for me – and I really recommend it for anyone who wants to dig deeper.
Enjoy. Remember, our desire is to know God deeper, love Him more, and enjoy him!
Fix your eyes on Jesus! Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. (Colossians 3:16)
We are hopeful for God promised that this time will come:
And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. (Hebrews 8:11)
by Kevin Cayabyab
God saved us not just from death, but also for life.
“And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. (John 17:3)”
Knowing God is the very essence of the Christian life. God revealed Himself through His word and it is important for a Christian to be deeply rooted in the word of God. Theology, simply put, is about knowing God to love Him and enjoy Him. And if it’s about knowing and enjoying God, it is for everyone! It is not just for some bible-geeks sitting in front of a big dusty book with a candle beside it, it is for every Christian.
Theology is abolishing idols that we have accumulated throughout our lives and replacing them with Jesus. It is the true repentance through the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). In fact, knowing God is the very essence of our transformation (2 Peter 1:3). The world today is full of lies and how do we sift the lies? Through the word of God - let God be true, and every man a liar (Romans 3:4). Finally, we are commanded to love God with all our minds (Matthew 22:37) – and that is one way to define theology, loving God with our minds.
Absence of Theology
Biblical knowledge does not guarantee godliness, but the absence of it guarantees ungodliness. History bears witness that bad theology has bad consequences. It may form cults and false hopes. It affects the church as a whole and Christians as individuals. Also, having a great zeal (or passion) apart from biblical knowledge is dangerous (Proverbs 19:2). If we focus too much on our feelings or heart-felt offerings (or anything coming from us), we might miss the Good News and depend on what we can do rather than what God did for us! As Paul said about the Jews, “I can testify about them (Jews) that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. (Romans 10:2)”
Theology is not a matter of mere intelligence (Matthew 11:25). In fact, human reasoning cannot work its way to knowing God (Romans 8:7, 2 Corinthians 4:4). How then do we start to know God? Jesus. We believe that Jesus is the Way to the Father (John 14:6) and that is true not just for salvation but also for revelation. If we do not start with Jesus, we do not start at all. Jesus is not an optional part of our theology, He is the foundation.
Further reading: Matthew 11:25-30
In part 2, I will discuss some practical ways in studying the word of God (and enjoy it!).