So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples” – John 8:31 (ESV)
There are more Bibles in print today than ever before. The Bible continues to be the best selling and the most translated book in the world. Yet a Bible that eats dust in a shelf is worthless. Believers who suffer from spiritual malnutrition are people who don’t read their Bibles. The Bible carries God’s inspired word. Therefore it should be every believers first priority to feed on God’s word. Jesus called this “abiding”. How do I abide in God’s word?
1. Accept it’s authority
A. Unreliable authorities
I. Culture (everyone is doing it)
II. Tradition (we have always done it)
III. Reason (it seemed logical)
IV. Emotion (it just felt right)
V. Instinct (intellect)
B. The Bible: only reliable authority
I. Inspired by God and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, (2 Timothy 3:16)
II. Its flawlessness has been proved by sconce, archeology and history.
III. It’s a compass that gives direction in life, (Psalm 119:105)
C. Accepting it’s authority
I. Choose the Bible as your final authority regardless of culture, tradition, reason and emotion.
II. Before making decisions ask “what does the bible say?”
III. Determine to trust God’s word and obey when God says you to do something whether or not it makes sense or you feel like doing it.
IV. Paul’s statement: …I believe everything that agrees with the Law and that is written in the Prophets…, – Acts 24:14 (NIV)
2. Assimilate its truth
A. Receive it, (James 1:21)
I. The parable of the sower: Three unreceptive attitudes – a closed mind (hard soil), a superficial mind (shallow soil) and a distracted mind (soil with weeds)
II. Check your attitude every time you feel you are not learning from a preacher or teacher.
III. Humble yourself to listen to even the most boring preacher.
B. Read it, (Deuteronomy 17:19-20)
I. Many Christians are more faithful to read the newspaper than to read their Bibles.
II. Read the Bible 15 minutes a day and you will read completely through it once a year – read it for thirty minutes a day and you will read completely through twice a year.
III. Daily Bible reading keeps me in range of God’s voice.
IV. Use a Bible reading plan.
C. Study it, (James 1:25)
I. There are many Bible study methods.
II. The most basic principle of every method is to ask the right question.
III. Ask Who? What? When? Where? Why? And how?
IV. Pray that the Holy Spirit will illuminate the word.
D. Memorize it, (Colossians 3:16)
I. Memory is not poor. We just don’t use it.
II. We remember important things. Is God’s word important to you?
III. Memorizing scripture helps in times of decision making, stress, lack of confidence, lack of good advice and witnessing to others.
IV. Write key Bible verses on a small card and carry it with you and review them in the slightest break you get.
E. Meditate on it, (Psalm 119:97)
I. In Eastern religions meditation is focused thinking. In Christianity I select a verse and reflect on it over and over again in my mind.
II. If you know how to worry, you already know to meditate on God’s word.
III. Take notes during a sermon for latter reflection.
IV. Biblical meditation is the key to answered prayer and the secret successful living.
V. It transforms me and makes me more like Jesus.
3. Apply the truth
I. God’s word is practical. It prompts the reader to take action.
II. Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. Matthew 7:24 (NIV)
B. How to become a doer of the word?
I. Write out an action step as a result of your reading, studying, reflecting on or listening to God’s word.
II. It should involve you something for you to do and a dead line.
III. If the application is genuine it will involve either your relationship to God, to others or your personal character.
C. Hindrances for application
I. Application introduces you to a process of change. Change can be difficult and painful.
II. Pride, self righteousness, unforgiving thoughts etc.
III. If you find it difficult to change seek help from mature Christian leaders.
As D.L Moody said “The Bible was given not to increase our knowledge but to change our lives”. Everyone called by God is called to become a disciple of Jesus a goal achieved only by doing what God’s word commands us to do.
Image by: Carl and Tracy GossettAdopted from “Purpose driven life” by Pastor Rick Warren