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October 12, 2020 7:00 pm
BJU Vice President Sam Horn concludes a doctrinal series entitled, “God’s Word in Our Hands” and today’s topic is “How to Study the Bible.”
Welcome to The Daily Platform sponsored by Bob Jones University following a hymn sung by the student body and Chapel Dr. Sam Horn, Dean of the BJ you seminary concludes our doctrinal series God's word in our hands and we are finally coming to the end of our semester series God's word in our hand and we have had a wonderful semester together. We have been learning all kinds of things about the Bible.
We started off sort of surveying the series, and where we were going to go, what we were going to be talking about and together over the semester, we have heard messages on the inspiration of Scripture. We have talked about the fact that this revelation from God is preserved.
We talked about the different translations we talked about the purpose acuity and the clarity of Scripture and even learned a little bit about the Emperor's new groove in that sermon with Dr. McGonagle we we have talked a little bit about the authority of Scripture. We had Brian Smith and he came and gave us the big storyline of Scripture talked about the worldview and and here we are today. At the end of our series and in the question that we want to answer briefly this morning is this why we do with all of this information that we have taken the opportunity and the time to consider about a book that we honestly believe is God's word and we have it in her hand. I don't know what you're to be doing this summer, but in just a few weeks after graduation, Dr. Pettit and myself and Dr. Gary Reamer's are going to have the opportunity to travel to Israel to lead a study tour and part of that study to her is going to involve a trip to Egypt and I never forget the first time I went to Egypt and I saw the Nile River. For the first time I saw that Cairo I saw the great pyramid it keys. I had an opportunity to stand very very close to the side of the Sphinx and just marveled at something that I have only seen in pictures one of the most impacting things about the Egypt portion of that trip, and it's something I'm looking forward to as we go back was the opportunity to go to the museum in Cairo and see the incredible treasure that had been found in the dugout of the dirt from the many tombs of the pharaohs that have been uncovered over the years. Most of those tombs are located in what is known as the Valley of the Kings that Valley is located in a mock the modern town of Luxor which is very close to the Nile River.
It's the old ancient city of Thebes and by about 1919 50/62 different tombs had been discovered by archaeologists to were interested in ancient Egypt. They had found the different pharaohs in the different tombs and family members of those families of those pharaohs rather that had been buried in those tombs and they had uncovered some of the mommies and they had uncovered some of the treasure, but most of the tombs had already been vandalized or had been broken into and much of the treasure had been stolen centuries ago by tomb robbers. There was a gentleman back in those days who was very interested in Egyptology and in particular in the discovery of these ancient tombs and his name was Howard Carter and Howard Carter had come across the name of a Pharaoh that you know is keen to can comment more commonly known as King tut and the royal cartouche that is sort of up in Egyptian hieroglyphs that had the name of the royal King on it had been found in a tomb that had been vandalized in and sort of the common knowledge of the common thinking of the day was that King tied it probably been buried in this one room of this to and and his his mommy and sarcophagus had been taken and really there was no point in even looking in, and most Egyptologist felt that by 1915 most of the tombs, if not all of them had been discovered, but Howard Carter believe that there was one more tomb to be found, and so he began to study the topography of that Valley. He began to see where where the Valley sorta came in together and it's a very barren place very rocky place. He began to study sort of after the rains where the waters would come together and where the wadi's would be and so he isolated the segment based on his study of topography isolated a segment of that Valley where he thought maybe a tomb might be located and he found a patron and he began digging in the earth in that area, and he began digging in 1915 and he dug for seven years and by the end of the seventh year.
By the end of the digging season in the seventh year his patron set I'm really at the place where I don't think you're going to find anything. I can't keep supporting this indefinitely, so let's let this be the final digging season for you and let's kinda wrap up the project and so he obviously went ahead and began digging and in November 1922 November 1 to be exact. One of the servant boys, one of the little boys. It was a water bear was sort of sitting around digging in the sand and he found the top step to what eventually became a staircase leading down to a door that eventually when it was uncovered became the doorway into the tomb of King to can comment and on November 22 or sorry November 30 first 1922 Howard Carter stood there at the door and they dug a hole through the door and he put a lamp through that door and his patron had come all the way over to Egypt to be there and he said to him what you see and Carter said the. The famous words, wonderful things, and as he looked through that door and as eventually they got in. They uncovered the most incredible and the most complete case of any Egyptian artifacts ever found in over 3000 years and you can see many of those remains today in the Cairo Museum is a one of the world is that story had to do with our study God's word in her hands, let me ask you question. We have been looking at the contours of Scripture. We have been talking about all of the underpinnings of the Bible that you have in your hand and we have finally come to that place where we have a door that is opened and of the word of God and as we look into that door.
The Scripture says to us in the hundred 19 Psalm that God will open her eyes and cause us to see wonderful things that God is placed in that word from him that you hold in your hands.
But how do you get to those things. How do you actually get into the treasure trove of God's word and begin to uncover an appropriate all of that for yourself and the answer is you have to study your Bible and that's what we want to talk about for very simple ideas this morning in very practical ways about studying your Bible and so if you're if you're thinking through this. The first thing we probably need to clarify is what we mean when we say study our Bible because we talk about reading our Bible all the time but what we mean when we talk about studying your Bible and so one of the things you want to do very quickly is is sort of capturing our mind the difference between reading our Bible and studying our Bible when you read your Bible, primarily are focusing in on information and familiarity you're looking for the content and the layout of your Bible, your wanting to become familiar with acquainted with the structure of how the Bible is put together. It's put together into major parts.
The Old Testament and New Testament. Each of those parts has segments you have the Pentateuch you have the historical books, the wisdom books that the political books. The prophetical bookie of the gospel in the New Testament. You have the book of acts.
The historical section, you have the the epistles that are going to unfold for you the meaning of that gospel and of course you have a prophetical book that ends the New Testament, so we want to become familiar with the layout and the content of our Bible so that we can remember what God has said and where God has set it one of the things that is help me as I think about reading my Bible is just to remember these four little ideas about reading my Bible I want to read it regularly.
I want to read it daily. I want to read it repeatedly. I want to read the Bible over and over and over. I may want to take a book of the Bible and I may want to read that a number of times so I want to read it regularly and repeatedly. I want to read it reflectively.
I don't want to just run through the Scriptures so that I can say I've read through a particular portion of the Bible. I actually want to reflect on what God is saying to me as I read through those Scriptures and that's really the fourth idea here, and that's reading it responsibly, so I want to read it regularly and repeatedly in reflectively and then I certainly want to be responsive to what God is saying to me what is God saying to me as I read the Scriptures.
So when I read the Bible on focusing in on on understanding what God has said and where God has said it, but if I'm really going to appropriate all of that in a meaningful way. I'm going to have to go beyond reading to study and when I think about studying. Studying is actually different in this way studying focuses on learning the meaning and understanding of what I am reading.
I may not study my Bible every single day like I read it every day. But there ought to be times regularly in my life where I take concentrated periods of time and that's really what studying is.
It is the careful and intentional consideration of a portion of what God has said that I'm familiar with that I've taken time to read regularly and repeatedly and reflectively and responsively, there can be times when I want to take that portion of Scripture or another portion of Scripture and I want to give careful consideration to make sure that I go down into the roots of what God has said so that I understand what God means in this portion of Scripture, and I understand what God wants me to do with it in the living out of my life. So one of the things we need to do is we need to make sure in our mind that we understand what we mean when we talk about studying our Bible and we are talking about the careful and intentional consideration of God's word so that we understand what God has said, and we know what to do with it in our life. And that brings us to the second idea this morning and and another very simple thought is, why should I do this if I'm to take the time to do more than read my Bible. If I'm in a really take the time to sit down and go down into the roots of this.
Why should I do that and let me give you three very simple reasons out of out of texts of Scripture this morning that I think anchor us to the reasons why we should do this. One of the reasons why is that God intends to be the careful study of his word for you and for me to live a transfer warmed life. One of the texts. I think that will certainly bear out this in your in your thinking is the very familiar text in Romans chapter 12 verses wanted to where we are encouraged because of the mercies of God to do something. And if you're going to successfully do the thing that Romans 12 is talking about. You're going to have to give some serious and intentional consideration and contemplation to understanding and identifying the immense mercy that God has poured out to you and to me what he did on the cross.
If we don't take the time to really ground what comes next out of a study of that mercy, everything else will just be something that we do out of a different reason. Then the apostle points to out of the mercies of God, we are instructed to take our bodies and use them in a certain way to render acceptable service to God and the only way that were to be able to take our bodies and to live distinctly like this is for God to take his word, just like he talks about in John 17 verses 15 through 17 and sanctify us by means of that word.
So your study of Scripture, the deep understanding of what God is actually said in his word is essential to your ability to live a transformed life through the power of that gospel and the energizing of God's spirit. As he opened your eyes so that you can see the wonderful things that he is placed there. It's not just essential to leaving a transform life. It also helps us to live a profitable life.
You can see that in the text that is usually associated with the inspiration of Scripture. In second Timothy chapter 3 verses 14 all the way down to verse 17, but let's jump in to verse 16 where we were reminded that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine and for reproof and for correction, and for instruction in righteousness God's word informs and instructs my mind. God's word is going to convict the clans it's good it's good to strengthen my conscience. God's word is going to repair to the bill my character.
You can see all of this in the language that is here. It is profitable for doctrine is profitable for reproof.
It's profitable for correction, for the rebuilding and the realigning of my character and then it's profitable for training and preparing me for living usefully before the Lord so that it in verse 17. I will be a person, thoroughly equipped under all good works, and then the third reason we ought to do this is because we desire to live and approve life and you could see that if you ever want to want to you know this verse.
Second Timothy 215.
There is a workman that can stand before God and an approved status and what puts them in that place is the fact that he has given strength and attention and focus to rightly dividing something to coming to right thinking about the word of God in all of this is going to demand and intentional focus of your time of my time that goes well beyond reading and that brings us to the third thing this morning and that is this what will this require of me.
What kind of mindset do I have to have first Thessalonians chapter 213 describes a group of people who receive the very same word of God that you're holding in your hand. And Paul writes about them. We thank God constantly for this that when you receive the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it you embraced it not as the word of man, but what but as for what it really is the word of God which is at work in you believers what kind of mindset. These are not new ideas but we need to come with a mind that is ready to read and understand it. When we sit down to study the word of God. We need to come with a heart that responds joyfully and eagerly to it. We need to come with affections that have been cleansed and shake my ears a big one for me.
I need to bring my will to that table and I need to come with a will that is eagerly submitted and energized by what I am study, and then I need understanding that is illuminated by the Holy Spirit. Somebody said this. Who do you think you are to suppose you can ever understand the word of God in your own strength. That's an amazing statement to me in my own life. We need to come with understanding that is illuminated by the Holy Spirit and that brings us really to the final point this morning and that is this how can I get started in a practical way. What are some things that I can do once I once I understand the meaning. The difference between reading my Bible and study my Bible and I and I come with these motives and I have this mindset that is been prepared by the Holy Spirit. What are some methods that I can use to get started. Well, I would suggest there are a few things to keep in mind the one you need time for this time, speaks to the availability the focus the intentionality of this activity that you engage with your Bible.
It's different than reading you get up in the morning you're running out the door. You may read a chapter of your Bible, you may reflect on it but but when we study the Scripture.
There needs to be a time. Maybe it's once a week. Maybe it's twice a week where you set apart a a portion of time to give careful and and focused attention to a portion of God's word is good, require time and then secondly it's can require some tools. Let me suggest three tools that you're going to need if you can actually give attention and focus to the study of your Bible. The first and you get a need is a good study Bible and I would suggest to that.
You may want to give some consideration to one is the MacArthur study Bible and second potential source for you would be the ESV study Bible. Many of you arty own these the ESV study Bible is available as a download on your device and the value of these is the study notes that give you instant access to questions that you may have. As you begin reading through your Scripture. So you need to study, but you also need a journal. You need a journal. You need a way to preserve what you are reading one of the reasons we know so much about what Howard Carter experience as he peered through that door is that he took copious notes in his journal and those journals are preserved for us and as you go through the reading of your Scripture as you go through the study of Scripture. One of the best things that you can do is to take the time to journal and record and preserve what you are discovering and then you need some basic theological resources available to you to answer questions. I would suggest to you get a need one at least one systematic theology book and one of the ones that I use quite a bit as Wayne Gruden. Systematic theology.
These are all available online and you need a simple commentary for under $50. You can make an investment for the rest of your life that will give you a resource that will give you at least one set of answers to questions you may have about the text and and and here's a two-volume abridged set of the expositor's Bible commentary.
All of these are available on Amazon and then you need a technique you may want to take a moment and think about studying a book in your Bible, you may want to pick the book of Ruth.
For example, this semester I'm going to the book of second Corinthians, but you may want to pick a book. In addition to your Bible reading it. Just so you know for this. A timer for this year.
I want to take this book and I want to get down to the roots of this book may want to study a section of your Bible that you will study the Pentateuch, maybe want to study the prophetic section.
You may want to pick a topic maybe want to talk about wisdom or or you want to talk about mercy you want to pick a theme that you want to master. In the course of semester.
Maybe one study of personality maybe want to study somebody like Saul or Samuel or David or you may want to pick a question that you wonder what God's word has to say what is the Bible have to say about witnessing. That's the topic were to be looking at next week. How did they do it in the New Testament. How did they actually accomplish you been listening to The Daily Platform. I'm Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University and I invite you to join us at our beautiful campus in Greenville, South Carolina to see how you can be prepared academically and spiritually to serve the Lord through one of our more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs. For more information about Bob Jones University, visit www.bjyou.edu or call 800-252-6363