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June 30, 2022 8:00 am
Beloved, I beg you set your goal in your heart on that goal down the road a better student of the Bible two or three years from now when you are right now when you first begin study the Bible, it can feel a little bit like urine and trying to understand the Internet LOI bill right. Welcome back to the true pulpit with Don great founding pastor of truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio today, Don shows us that studying it, comprehending God's word doesn't have to be a frustrating and confusing ordeal. If will simply make the effort to apply some time tested foundational study methods. Here is nongreen to continue teaching God's people. God's work on the truth of in God's providence and by your own choice. You attend a teaching church. Our emphasis in this ministry is to teach God's word and and that's where you find yourself well let your churches pulpit help shape some direction for you. This is very simple.
What a great thing. It would be if once a week every other day twice a month.
Pick the frequency. I don't care. You just read through the book of Ephesians and you The message of Ephesians fresh in your mind, and that the words of the text are fresh in your mind when you come in to sit down on a Sunday morning while you're doing that periodically and things start to stick from your own reading and from the preaching of the word and then the book of Ephesians starts to really build into your life rather than just coming in cold and you know you're trying to remember what was said the prior Sunday, that's perfectly attainable Ephesians. You can read that in 15 minutes. That's one place to start to just read the word before it's preached on so that it set in your mind. And that's a simple thing to do that will make the preaching of God's word in your chosen church more effective in your life.
So start there and just engage your heart and what your church's teaching well you know that's a good place to start. That's one way to go about it.
Look for Bible teachers rather than people who are simply commenting on current events are simply focused on single issue matters look for someone who's teaching you the full counsel of God.
In order for you to be a student of God. You know today's headlines are going to be tomorrow's newspaper that wraps up the dead fish and so keep in mind that you're looking for an eternal perspective rooted in the whole counsel of God rather than somebody who simply giving you commentary that you probably already agree with on modern political issues or whatever, so use what you already have. You need an eternal perspective from the whole counsel of God, not simply a view on headlines which are going to change tomorrow you have any idea what the primary news item was of three months ago you have any idea what what was big in the news, you know six months ago. The whatever it was it was agitating people in in in in the country in the world and locally what you know you forget these things. Why, because ultimately the passing in the you know they're not a significance to someone who wants to be a student of God's word so keep a perspective in mind. Use what you already have.
That's a first point first helpful suggestion. Thus saith Don rather than thus saith the Lord. Secondly, now this next point. I'm sorry to give you such a complicated point at the long it that the end of a long day where your stomach is full and your eyes are heavy. I am sorry to give you a really complicated point. But listen closely.
Point number two read the Bible, read the Bible right that may sound to simple but don't despise the simple things reminds me of the man that Elijah I think it was commanded to go and wash in the river seven times and to be free from his leprosy and he didn't want to do it because the simplicity and the humbling nature of it was that was an insult to his pride but is his helper said no go and do it if he told you to do some great thing when you've done that, why not do the simple thing well reading the Bible may sound too simple, but I want you to remember in this is all connected with everything that we said here go over this weekend. The Bible is clear you have the Holy Spirit to help you have understanding as you read and so take advantage of what God has done and recognize that you will profit by reading God's word systematically you will be honoring the principle of context as you read the Bible from cover to cover. As you read it over time because as you do that.
Here's what happens as you do that you will start to develop. God will build into your mind a mental framework. The superstructure of the Bible that will help you have a framework to understand individual tax as you go along one of the one of the great things about reading the Bible from cover to cover.
Starting in Genesis and going through Revelation. That's not easy to do until you've done it a few times and then it starts to come more naturally but but one of the great things about it is, is that you start to see how Scripture as it unfolds over time was honoring principles and things that were sad or in the early chapters of Genesis and so as you start to read through the historical books and Joshua going on through their get into the prophets in your reading Micah all of a sudden use it starts to stand out to you the many times that God refers to the covenant that he made with Abraham and God and you realize that that that that is a a central rail on which the train of Scripture is running and you save time remember reading that is is just a few weeks ago that I was in Genesis and here it is. And I know what this part of Scripture is talking about because I read just recently. There's a lot to be said for that in the back in the back. We have provided little packets here in white and inside there are four different Bible plans that you can choose from. This is just something simple. If you don't do this, there's no the elders are going to come knocking on your door in the middle the night they why did you take one of these packets and why aren't you reading one of these Bible plants.
That's not going to happen.
This is just that this is of thus saith Don here something to help you that there's one that will take you from cover to cover. Genesis through Revelation the entire Bible in a year.
There's another one that will alternate passages. If you think the Old Testament will get kind of hold before you get to the Gospels. There's an alternate in their there's a more simple plan.
New guy. Can you could call this the Gideon plan and honor Gideon's Bible is the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs. This would be another place an easier, less demanding place to stop. There's a nine week Bible reading plan there. I feel like I feel I come on the shopping network at this point in half. But that's not the point. The point here is for for your well-being and for your spiritual upbuilding and for you to realize that there are there are ways for you to take a step forward. That's what I want I want you to find an attainable sustainable step forward from where you're at, to where you need to go and so these packets are out on the table out back there. You pick one up. Send us a note and will send you the PDFs go to our website through Community Church.org and will try to help you out. That way, but look I recommend following a plan and here's here's the key thing about it.
Whatever you choose. Here's one of the key things I want you to understand it's not it's not about complying with an external standard that's not it, that that doesn't that that that in one sense, it hardly even matters, but they why why a plan. Why is that so important in my humble opinion. Here's why I say you need a plan based on bad personal experience for a long period of time. It is very discouraging to have in your heart a desire you want to follow God but your first boy are inconsistent and you know that in so that starts to weigh on you and then and then you get up and you sit down. Or maybe it's after you get home, at work tonight and you you open up your Bible and its 1268 pages into you know where to begin. Don't even know where to start. That's frustrating you know and you spend your energy saying will should I go to the gospel.
Should I go to a song you know I'm I'm kinda hungry you know let's all start tomorrow. You know what that's like, you know, the spirit of that that's discouraging in your energy goes day-to-day. Just trying to find a passage just trying to choose a passage to read well plan whatever the plan is that you use. There's a lot of other plans, not those for that that you could find what plan does is it you don't have to rethink that every single day.
It's already set out before you what your next reading is going to be because you've chosen a path you say okay this summer to follow this path until I get to the end of it very simple. By following a plan, you simply trust God's providence said that the next passage is the one that he has for you that day and and you keep in mind the bigger picture that I'm trying to become a student of God's word over time. And even if this seems a little bit dry and I don't understand it right now.
That's okay because there's a bigger goal that I am achieving that I'm growing on.
Remember what we said many times in the realm of raising children. The growth of children is imperceptible, moment by moment. And day by day, but over time you start to find that that son that that that one time was an infant in your arms now for 5 inches taller than you are, say, where did that happen old there was growth over time and becomes evident and it manifests itself down the road rather than immediately beloved, I beg you set your goal in your heart on that goal down the road that you will be a better student of the Bible two or three years from now than you are right now that's attainable you can do that.
Take the long view.
And here's the here's the thing of it. Attainable consistency is far more important than setting goals. It will impress somebody else but that you don't have the capacity you won't get this all in a week, but you can do it in a year or two without feeling any pressure to perform. Now I didn't bring this one resource we got out of the house a little too quickly here this morning, but there is a resource that I recommend to you for reading the Bible and it goes along with some of the things that I've said about verses in chapter divisions and all of that. If you're interested in becoming a reader of the Bible.
I highly recommend that you pick up that you order a copy of the what's called the THC, the ESV readers Bible the ESV readers Bible at Sodom available and that has me but it formats the biblical text in paragraphs rather than in separate separate verses. It does so without study notes, and suddenly what you have is you have the pages of Scripture in front of you in a format that is that is not distracting and you can read it and it helps you read it in context and it it draws you in and you're not. You're not seeing all kinds of numbers and little notes and all of that that is a great resource if you want to become a reader of the Bible. So the ESV readers Bible, you can't have my copy because I use it every day so the ESV readers Bible read the Bible use what use what you already have read the Bible and then thirdly, let me just give you some other tools as we wrap this up here as you read through the Bible. What I want you to see is how step-by-step you can you can build into this that you can grow into this and walk into it you know if if you're only starting point here was to say like I can read Ephesians before come to church on Sunday. I haven't been doing that I could do that. That's a step forward and you know what I know that if you start doing that God will really bless that and it will enrich your Sunday morning worship and give you a sense of anticipation, if that's your next step. Great if you have been a Bible reader getting a plan say okay I want to start somewhere and I'm gonna read here. I'm just going to follow this plan until I get it done however long that takes that's that's progress.
That's growth may be imperceptible to others, but but you're acting on desires that are consistent with what should be formed in your heart.
After this time we spent together so there's kind of some stages here really that you can go through. Thirdly final thing other one final thing to say is other tools other tools that's not a very good point, but I told you in advance is wasn't really a sermon so don't hold me to my lack of alliteration of the points or they don't rhyme or anything like that. We don't care about that were sitting around in the living room just trying to help each other grow in Christ. That's overdue here today as you read through the Bible you will find things that you want to explore something will strike you. Maybe you read about the nation of Assyria and you see something, say, and I'd like to know little bit more about that or you know you you get into the life of the apostle Paul and say you know I wonder what how do we fit together everything that the Bible says about his life.
What I learned about Paul, well, a good Bible dictionary is invaluable for things like that to help you fill out gaps of history or culture or geography to to fill-in and to just let your light, your natural curiosity is your reading Scripture, but your natural curiosity lead you into that which you study next as you explore some of the background of the Bible. If you want to recommendation by the way, I get no commissions on these recommendations. DSU if you go out and buy a thousand copies of the ESV readers Bible is not going to do me any financial benefit at all. Same for this big heavy thing here if you want a recommendation for a Bible study, you might start with this one. The Zondervan illustrated Bible dictionary. Here's why I recommend this I'm not thrilled with everything that's in it.
In fact, I only recently got it because I had its I have its two predecessors is actually like three or four predecessors to this dictionary and I have those and I've come to trust those and I turned to them. They're not available anymore. Their out-of-print and as happens with resources like this. Some guy comes along and revises them in and updates the information which is good and it gives the publisher. Another thing to sell which is good for them as well.
I'm not thrilled with everything in this Bible dictionary, but overall it will help you greatly with those kinds of questions, and it's one pretty good resource pretty heavily resource it's it's weighing on my wrist right now as I try to hold it up here for, but this would be a good that would be a good place if you don't have any resources like that, you might start with that and so you could go with that is another tool to help you as you start to want to to go deeper, drilled deeper into Scripture.
The other thing that I would say make good use of your MacArthur study Bible you know what that is one outstanding resource and I would say that even if I hadn't worked for him for 15 years. That is one great study Bible with a lot of helpful things and it will almost always point you in the right direction. If you come to particular verses and you say I need some help understanding this verse that seems controversial.
I don't get that to have the MacArthur study Bible thereto to to pick up as your reading the Bible and to open it up and look for help on an understanding something immediate that's a great resource and if you use it in tandem with this Bible dictionary. Some of the stuff in the MacArthur study Bible will help correct the the things I would not agree with in the Zondervan dictionary here. Here's the thing, beloved, use those two resources in tandem and you'll be off to a really good start.
You don't have to go out and buy 20 books. Some of you have but but you don't have to go out and learn Greek in order to study the Bible profitably.
You don't the Bible white. Why can I say that I understand that there's a theological reason why say that the Bible is clear and the Holy Spirit dwells within you and a Naz beer and ESV are new King James version. Those are good translations that show you what the original text said, and if you read those as as an earnest Christian someone who is turning away from sin and desiring God's word.
I promise you, based on the authority of God's word that you will grow that you will be able to understand what I want you to see is is that these things are attainable. You can do this we can grow together as a congregation. Maybe some of us are lap ahead of others who are newer Christians that an matter. Let's just all get on the track running in the same direction and, as we circle around will encourage each other's we go now.
There are many other valuable and necessary resources. That said, I'll say one last time.
Our goal here is to help people get started without setting an unrealistic bar to clear.
If you are ever in track and did a high jump.
It didn't do any good for somebody to set the bar at 7 feet, you know, when all you could do was barely jump over yardstick you know we need to set the bar where we can meet it. In fact, attract mates, they set the bar where they know the guy can clear it and then the gradually raise it. Well, let's set the bar where people can clear it and have a sense of success and progress. That's what we want.
So, sometimes less information is better because too much information will paralyze you into in action and I don't want that. I want you to grow.
I want you to have the sense everyone of you every one of you without exception it's in this room you should be walking out of here with the sense you know what, there's a way forward for me there. Is there something here that I can grow in this doesn't take a lot of money and this doesn't require me to make a commitment that I know I can't keep and so we can all take steps forward here and what we seen in these four sessions. Beloved will change your life if you act upon it.
Over time, it's awesome to think that you as a young Christian that there could be ahead of you. A mature understanding of God's word based on simple steps that you taken are faithful to now I invite you to it the most wonderful thing in the world is to have a knowledge of God's word and to be able to turn to in times of distress, times of discouragement to be able even more to be able to to to know it well enough to be able to help someone else in their problem so you know, let me share with you what God helped me with. Let me give you the comfort with which God has comforted me in a similar trial. Let me show you God's word the way that we do that is as it were reading it and were exposing ourselves to it consistently over time as a closing encouragement turn to Romans 15 verse four. Romans 15 verse four.
In one way and one way I feel like were just getting started in were actually coming to an end. Here you go, here's your sign. Here's your next step. Here's how you can take this and and take the next step and since this is more of a little bit of a personal informal time. I just want to say this or something really sweet about what's happening right now what I'm feeling in my heart.
It's hard to get started on the staff and for me as a teacher you want to keep going but were at the end of our time. That's a bummer. In one sense Jill at the sweetness of it is is almost all of you belong to our church. This was just one step together on a journey that were walking together were united together going forward were not saying goodbye teach were really not saying goodbye to each other's we close this this is just another aspect of God binding us together around his word and we get to continue on in this together going forward.
It's not like when you travel to another state, and you spend a couple of days in a place and you teach a few times and you're never going to see those people again know what were together were in this together. I think that's pretty cool.
I'm really grateful for each one of you because I know you love God's word like I do with that in mind, brothers and sisters in Christ. Let's just read Romans 15 for is a way to encourage us and set us on the right know why did we spend time considering why the Bible can be understood who can understand the Bible. Why did we take time to consider how we should interpret Scripture. Why did we spend time today saying how can we get started, we did it for this reason, it comes down to this.
Romans 15 verse four for whatever was written in earlier times, the Old Testament, from Paul's perspective, more perspective now. The old and new Testaments. The 66 books of the Bible.
Why were they were written they were written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Praise God for his perfect that's Don Greene bringing today's message to a close, here on the truth pulpit will friend if you'd like to get a free copy of today's lesson for yourself or maybe for a friend or you'd like to find out how you can support this ministry with a financial gift. We invite you to visit the truth. Pulpit.com. Once again, that's the truth. Pulpit.com now just before we go there again is done with the closing thought my friend. I have a simple request for you today that would really help our ministry. Would you please go to our website.
The truth pulpit.com and simply let us know where you hear our broadcast is it on a terrestrial radio station do you get it via podcast.
Whatever the delivery mechanism might be. It would help us so much to know that our resources are being used effectively. So please just go to the truth.
Pulpit.com and send us a note to let us know where you hear us. Thank you so very much and God bless you, thank you God friend will continue our series called effective Bible study next time. Meanwhile, unbilled right join us.
That is going green continues teaching God's people.