Monday, February 22, 2016

The Act of Studying

People who are in love study each other. Have you ever noticed that?

They spend time with each other. They watch them: how they act, react and rest. How they are with their friends and how they are with strangers. What makes them laugh, cry and even tick. What makes them feel confident and what makes them feel insecure. What dreams they have to pursue and what scares them into not wanting to try.

Heck, even if you have just a solid crush and are intrigued by someone you do that.

Just in a new friendships we do that.

So, dear Beloved one of God:

How come we don't study Him?

Before I really begin, know this: studying God can many times lead to knowing about Him and just trying to please Him: That is not what I want our "end game" to be.

But let's take a look at our Bibles, shall we? What is most marked? Most memorized? Is it the four books of the New Testament? Perhaps Psalm 23 or Psalm 139, for when we need comfort or a confidence boost? What about Philippians 4:13, of course: we need that verse for when we feel like we can't do something, right?


I get it, believe me, I do. I even graduated from a four-year intensive studying Bible school, and I can't always explain every verse, every story, every law and every person. I can say this, however: every word is important. Every person is important. Every law is important. Every parable is important. Every confusing scripture and story in Revelation is important.

Don't take my word for it. 2 Timothy 3:16,17 "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man (and woman) of God may be complete [and] equipped..." There you have it my friend. It doesn't say, "The New Testament scripture only is breathed out by God..." It doesn't say, "Just the red letters are breathed out by God..." It doesn't say, "Just the nice stories are breathed out by God..." And it definitely doesn't say, "Only the stuff you understand is breathed out by God."

ALL. All means All. 

And again, I get it. Old Testament? Some of those chapters and books are SO HARD to understand. So much blood. So many rules. The first 11 chapters of Genesis are THE most debated and torn apart Scriptures throughout History. But do you know why? Do you know what you believe? Do you believe in a literal 6-day Creation or do you believe that there was some time for the dinosaurs to live and go extinct? Do you know why God commanded there to be the shedding of blood for forgiveness? (And how that explains why Jesus had to shed His blood for us?)

Do you understand why the Jews went from loving Jesus to demanding His death? Do you understand how incredibly important it is to understand what is going on in the Middle East today (which begins in, Genesis.) Do you understand why claiming Philippians 4:13 just to help get you through the day is actually taking it out of context? Have you even attempted to study the Book of Revelation? Do you understand who "the Woman and the Dragon" are? Do you understand the difference between the Bema Seat and the Great White Throne judgement? Do you believe in the physical return of Jesus? Do you know what the last sentence of the Bible is?

Do you know that Scripture wasn't written in English? That in the New Testament, for example, the Greek word for love has four different definitions? Do you know that in knowing some of the original language(s) can radically change the context of a verse?

Yes, I know, dear friend, that we can totally get carried away in our "studying for and of the Lord". I understand that we can focus so much on translations, stories and interpretations that we begin to debate and argue with fellow believers, even non-believers. I don't agree in breaking fellowship with another Christian friend just because they believe in the "Gap Theory" (that God sort of took a break from creating for a few "years" after Genesis 1:2). However, I don't agree with just, "well, someday it'll all just be figured out" or the, "Well, that won't help me grow closer to God: that'll just confuse me, so I don't worry about it." (In fact, I beg to differ on that! Big Time!)

I'm also not saying that we all need to desire to be like CS Lewis or a John Piper (or my friend JohnMark). We don't all need to be the deepest and most introspective believers that we know. We don't have to memorize entire books of the Bible to impress God or to show that we love Him.

But just like a husband and wife can't ignore all the fears, pet peeves and hard truths about their spouse: Neither can we just close a blind eye to that which God has revealed about Himself-- in and through His Word.

"Incline [our] heart(s) to Your Testimonies, and not to selfish gain! Turn [our] eyes from looking at worthless things; and give [us] life in Your ways... [May] our hearts stand in awe of Your words. [May we] rejoice at Your word like one who finds great spoil." Psalm 119:36-37,161-162


Don't be afraid to read books, commentaries or even write your pastors or others! I would suggest reading even varying view points, all while asking the Spirit to bring more of Himself in "wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of [Jesus], having the eyes of your heart enlightened." Ephesians 1:17,18a

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