We must obey the commands of God, joyfully trusting Him in everything. Do we dare?
By Mark D, Harris
How can we be doers of the word and not just hearers? James 1:22-25
1. Be familiar with the Bible – it is not enough to know a few stories and a smattering of principles, we must know the overall story of the Bible and how its pieces fit into the whole.
When a man learns to fly he needs to know about the engine and elevators, lift, drag and thrust, and the other principles, but he must also know how it all fits together.
This is just as true for God’s revelation. In His general revelation, He created the world. The general revelation is immediately available to everyone on earth and proclaims Him to them (Psalm 19:1). The Bible is His special revelation. It in He chose a man (Abraham), then a people (Israel), then a man (Jesus), then a people (Christians), who must then proclaim Him to the world. God’s pattern for His total revelation is therefore: World – man – people – man – people – world. That is the story of the Bible.
We usually learn stories and principles without any idea how they all fit together. These are good but are like ornaments on a Christmas tree, they only have meaning in the structure of the Bible
What about the objection “the meaning of the Bible depends on the reader?”
This makes as much sense as saying that the meaning of your bank statement, or a traffic ticket, depends on the reader. The meaning of any communication depends on the intent of the author. With hard work and the influence of the Spirit, we can discern the intent of Bible authors.
2. Read the Bible
A would-be pilot must know a lot to fly – aircraft, terrain, weather, airspace, communication. Reading is the only way garner a lot of this information
Reading opens the door to understanding God’s word. God chose to reveal Himself through a book, and we must learn to meet Him through the medium of a book. Neither television nor the Internet affect the brain in the same way.
The very act of reading, of mentally transforming abstract symbols into cogent thoughts in a linear, logical manner, changes the mind. We become capable of greater concentration and learn how to develop an argument.
In addition to the medium, the content of the Bible must be digested through reading.
3. Study the Bible
When you read an aviation manual, there will be times when you do not understand what you are reading. You might not understand the concept of stalling an airplane, which is very different than stalling a car. If you do not figure out the difference, and yu fly anyway, you will die.
How many times have you read a Bible passage and had no idea of what you just read? How many times have you ought that you understood only to be completely wrong?
Bible authors did not consciously write for us; they wrote for their immediate readers. God intends His word to benefit all Christians for all time, but we are figuratively looking over the shoulders of our forebears to find out what each passage means for us.
1. We discover what the author meant to communicate
2. We discover how the audience understood it.
3. We apply the author’s intent to our culture, our language and our times.
Example – John 6 – the feeding of the 5000 and the bread of life discourse.
The Jews wanted Jesus to do something bigger than Moses had done to prove that he was the Messiah. As good as feeding 5000 was, it was not as impressive as feeding all of the Hebrew exiles for 40 years in the wilderness. If we don’t understand the background, we will not understand the question.
4. Memorize the Bible
When flying a plane, things will happen that you cannot anticipate. You only have time to react. To get out of a stall, or even a spin, you must
1. Push the yoke forward
2. Full throttle (stall), idle (spin)
3. Level wings
4. Step on the heavy rudder
Temptations arise and trials come when you don’t have time to think about what to do; you must react as Christ would. When that happens, the Christian’s reaction must be instantaneous. These times requiring rapid and even reactive responses might include pressure from peers to go somewhere or do something that as a Christian you should not, or A fleeting chance to witness or do good.
5. Do the Bible
No one truly learns something until he has done it. In sports we develop muscle memory to enable us to perform
Screwtape advised wormwood –
“The more often he feels without acting, the less he will be able ever to act, and, in the long run, the less he will be able to feel.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
Believers must then develop the habit of doing good. Obeying God becomes easier once it becomes a habit.
We cannot live the life that God has for us if we do not hear and do. We must
Be familiar – read – study – memorize – and do