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Bible Study Tools Bringing God Home to Your Heart

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Do you struggle with a sense of emptiness? Are you overwhelmed with the cruelty in the global culture. Does it feel the world is spinning out of control? Do you have hope? Anything to guide you as you maneuver the rough terrain of life? Did you expect that life would be so different than what it’s turned out to be?

Coming Face to Face With a Loving God

Can I tell you where I’ve found hope? Completely and totally in Jesus Christ and the extraordinary love God has poured over me – even in my most undeserving state at the beginning of my journey with him. 

Getting to know him . . . and understand his heart better has turned my heart inside out. God is infinitely multi-faceted and so very, very good. It is absolutely impossible to comprehend him in the span of a lifetime. It’s a lifelong journey. 

Raised in a home with a daddy who left us, and stepdads who had addictions and practiced abuse made it difficult for me to realize the kind of love God has for all of us. I couldn’t fathom a father who was perfectly reliable and trustworthy. One who sacrifices for me, “gets” me, and holds me in the center of his heart every single moment of every single day. A God who cares deeply for my wounds even when the world brushes by without even noticing my struggles.

bible study, mywarminghouse.com

Pursuing God in the Bible

I have realized how desperately important it is to drink in the words of the Bible. Studying the Bible is a pursuit of God . . . an experiencing of God . . . and a mind freed to the realization of the awesome majesty of God. We approach scripture for the deeply gratifying pleasure of knowing and enjoying God. Through the pursuit of the glorious character of God in scripture, we experience the wonder of his presence, the value of his wisdom, his complete reliability, and the truth of his promises.

In all my studies of the bible from beginning to end, I have come “face-to-face” with God and have learned he is a God who never gives up and never lets go of us. Never. Never. Never. Oh the comfort in that knowledge. 

Bible study deepens our worship as we stand in awestruck wonder at the shameless, unfathomable goodness of God. The Bible leaves us breathless in wonder at the majesty of God. We come away from Bible study with a deeply satisfied soul that impacts every aspect of daily life. It changes our hearts – and our lifestyles.

John Piper shares that a godly life is lived out of an astonished heart – a heart that is astonished at God’s grace.

When you hear the words “Bible study,” what runs through your mind? What about the simple word “Bible?” Have you avoided the Bible because of the big words and formal names you can’t pronounce? Do you believe it’s rigid, outdated, and irrelevant to life in the here and now? Do you reject the priceless value and complete reliability of the Bible? Or do you have more of a love affair with scripture? Do you get lost in its truths? What’s your history with the Bible?

bible study, mywarminghouse.com

It’s a different story for everyone. How you approach the Bible directly impacts how you view God and yourself. It influences wisdom in the decisions you make and the quality of your relationships. It keeps you from getting lost in cultural influences. 

The Value of the Bible and How It Sweetens Life

Reading the Bible literally changed the trajectory of my life. As I became more familiar with God, I began to process life differently. 

bible study, mywarminghouse.com

God wants you to know him. He reveals himself to you in so many ways . . . through Jesus, through nature, and through his words in the Bible. The Bible brings broken people like you and me “face-to-face” with a loving God who’s alive and sincerely concerned with the details of life in the here and now.

bible study, mywarminghouse.com

Bible study is intoxicating. It’s a process of uncovering what’s real about God in a grand adventure of discovery

“The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts.” [A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Christian Publications, Inc., 1948) PP. 10] 

Bible Study Tools You Need

You: Most importantly, you need yourself with an open heart ready to receive all God has to show you. Do not deprive yourself of the beauty of God’s personal revelations for you by thinking you need someone else to tell you what the Bible means before you pursue truth yourself first. God delights in the intimate moments teaching you his heart and giving you wisdom to discern what is pleasing to him so you can maneuver every situation you encounter with confidence and hope.

A humble heart: Approach study with a humble heart. Ask God to show you offensive ways in yourself. Ask for forgiveness. Plead your poverty in your ability to understand the great truths in his word. Ask him to expose the treasures in scripture you have not yet uncovered. 

Search for God’s intended meaning in the words he’s inspired men to write for your benefit. Inductive study is a great tool for digging for his intended meaning. The process of digging evolves into intimate interludes with God the Father as he reveals more about himself, what makes him smile, and what grieves his heart. Allow his words to penetrate your heart. They are truth. Ask him how those truths apply to you. Allow them to change you from the inside out.

Ask for the Holy Spirit’s guidance. He is the instrument God uses to lead you to recognize God’s intended meaning in scripture. It isn’t up to you to figure it out on your own. The Holy Spirit is the one who gives us understanding. Our role is to make ourselves available, pray for understanding, then dig in. The Holy Spirit only reveals as much as we’re able to comprehend at any given time. His goal isn’t to overwhelm us. As we continue to study and grow, he progressively reveals more as we’re ready for it. Have patience. Infinite patience. Literacy comes as truths from across the Bible begin to connect through a lifetime of study. Commit to the journey of adventure. 

Embrace frustration. You will feel inadequate. Everyone does. Don’t allow comparison to frustrate and derail you as you look at other Christians and think to yourself, “I could never know as much as they do.” Do not quit. Refuse to give in when it becomes difficult, too repetitive or tedious. Feeling overwhelmed and confused is evidence God is getting ready to topple your current knowledge to teach you something new and real. Embrace that frustration expecting something good. Frustration is fertile ground for learning. Press through to find the treasure. God never disappoints. He will give you many “aha” moments that lift your heart to the skies in awestruck wonder. 

Press the truth of scripture to your heart. Close. Intimate. Allow those truths to mesh with your soul. Pray for an awakening of wonder and the opportunity to be captivated by the splendor of God. 

Take advantage of secondary resources. God wants to teach you intimately and directly in the quiet moments. He has established a place for you directly at his feet. He is your primary resource for learning. After approaching God first, it’s often helpful to consult commentaries, a concordance and other resources to enhance your learning.

To help you with your studies, I previously wrote a post listing my favorite online Bible study resources. Most of them are free. Sometimes I prefer using old-fashioned hold-in-your-hand books, so I’ve built a home library of Bible resources as well. Jotting notes in sidebars, underlining, and highlighting actually help me learn.

5 Recommendations For Your Home Bible Resource Library

  1. Choose a Bible that’s a translation (taking a Hebrew or Greek word and finding the closest English word to match its meaning) instead of an interpretation (a paraphrase of God’s message interpreted by humans).

Bible recommendations:

  • NAS
  • NASB
  • New King James
  • ESV
  • New Inductive Study Bible
  1. Explore the Book” by J. Sidlow Baxter. This is my favorite resource. It’s pure poetic insight. It is not a commentary, but a complete Bible survey.
  2. 30 Days to Understanding the Bible” by Max Anders. Some have called this the “idiot’s guide” to understanding the Bible. Mr. Anders categorizes the Bible by eras showing how the Bible fits together and how each part connects to the others. This book also explains the main doctrines of the Bible.
  3. A concordance (must match your Bible translation). A concordance allows you to look up the specific Hebrew or Greek root word and its meaning. The Old Testament has Hebrew root words while the New Testament has Greek root words. A word study dictionary is also helpful and provides more detailed info.
  4. Commentaries. I use the Bible Knowledge Commentary set (Old and New Testament) put out by Dallas Theological Seminary (Walfoord, Zuck, Cook) as well as the Matthew Henry commentary.

As you can tell by now, I love studying the Bible. For me, it’s an amazing journey of discovery that never ends and never grows old! I fall more deeply in love with God every time I read it.

Accuracy and Reliability of the Bible

bible study, mywarminghouse.com

 

bible study, mywarminghouse.com

Through the years, the accuracy, consistency, and relevancy of the Bible have become glaringly apparent – especially when we traveled to Israel and saw all the archaeological artifacts first-hand. 

Other Benefits of the Bible

Jesus came to testify to truth. His words are life. Scripture equips us for every good work, encourages us, instructs us for endurance, preserves us, and gives us hope. (1 Timothy 3:16-17, Romans 15:4) It transforms us, renews our mind, allows us to discern the will of God, what is good, and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2) It fills us with knowledge of his will so we can walk in a manner worthy of the gospel. (Phil 1:9-11)

Friend, my greatest hope is you will begin (or continue) the journey of experiencing the wonder of God through Bible study. An open heart + Bible study = fullness of life. That’s what I wish for you.

Lisa~ 


 

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