The Word of God is a great measuring tool for life. It is the standard and authority of our lives as believers. It is the plumb line that our lives are measured from.
Our involvement through study in the Word is also a great measuring tool for our lives. It is our spiritual barometer determining if we are stagnating or thriving, about to dry-up or blossom. It is also the one thing guaranteed to keep you from burnout. Your involvement within the Word of God tells us a lot about you.
Interestingly the depth of your study is revealed through your teaching, preaching, and speaking. You don’t have to be a minister for this to be true, the depth of your Bible study comes out in everyday conversation.
The Word of God has layers. How many? I’m not entirely sure. There could be endless layers to explore through study. But I do know it has layers. Glancing through a text gives you a surface perspective, reading it over several times gives you access to greater depth within the text. As you study, figure out the grammar, and look at original languages, you are diving deeper and deeper into the layers of the passage.
It’s like an onion. Each time you peel back a layer, the deeper you go, the strongest, richest, tastiest, and most tear-filled portion of the onion are uncovered.
That is what we want you to do with the Bible. Do not be content with surface level viewings. Though those are important, in comparison, it is like a child who is content to play with pebbles when their parent is offering them diamonds.
At first you may not know how to dive into a layer 4. These Friday blog posts are meant to help you learn how to study at greater depths, but start right now where you are. If you can study at level 2, then by all means do it! Don’t wait! In fact, it is as you study that the wisdom to go deeper reveals itself. Yes you can learn techniques and Bible study how-tos, but the most important thing is to be in the Word.
Butter Churn Preaching
You can’t hide your study. It will come out of you. Whether that be in a formal sermon on Sunday morning or through everyday conversation with friends, what you study comes out of you. And we can tell a lot about the depth of your study by what we hear.
For example, have you ever listened to a preacher and later thought, “wow, he really knew the text. He taught us things I didn’t even know the passage was saying. This passage is so much more clear now.” Contrast that with the pastor who preached the surface of the text and though it was nice and had a funny joke, it was more like drinking water-downed skim milk rather than eating a piece of steak.
Those who preach and teach can’t help but reveal where they have been studying, because you can’t teach deeper than where you’ve studied. If you studied at a level 2 you can’t preach a sermon on level 4.
Sadly most preachers start with a story or joke and go to the Bible to find a text that will go along with what they want to talk about. This is opposite of what they should (and are called) to do. Preachers and teachers are to come to the text of Scripture first, study, and allow the Bible to speak for itself and give the truth/concept which should be preached. They then go to their reservoir of knowledge, experience, stories, etc and find a way to illustrate the concept. Stories and jokes are not the problem in sermons, but we don’t start with them in preparation.
If you’re not a preacher, the depth of your study will still be revealed in your conversations. People talk about what they are learning and are excited about, and it will show in their communication.
Have you ever seen an old butter churn? A century ago it was common for a woman to spend a portion of her day on the butter churn. She would sit on the front porch (if I may stereotype) and go up and down with the churn until the milk turned into butter with a rich cream left on top.
When you study we don’t want skim milk to come out, we want you to spend enough time in the “butter churn” of Bible study that rich cream and butter come out. It may be a bad illustration, but I hope you get the point.
Don’t be content with surface truths. Yes, start where you’re at, but keep pressing deeper into the grand truths of Scripture. And remember, we don’t get into the Word for the sake of information and academics, we study for the purpose of knowing Jesus.