20 April 2020

Everything to God's Word in Prayer

One of the most important questions when studying the Bible is "how might this apply to me?" It's up there with "does this even apply to me?" Although the Bible itself is universal, not every passage or parable is equally universal. There are passages (shockingly many it seems) for which you are not the intended audience. There are Leviticus holiness codes that only apply to Temple priests, the Law of Moses which only applies to the Jewish people, stories aimed at only one gender, culture, or ancient time and place, and prophesies that have long since come to pass. Passages are not always, or often, intended for a universal, or especially modern, audience.

One way to cut through all the clutter (that is all the stuff in there that isn't relevant to you) is to define who you are and who you want to be, then let the Bible be your guide. This isn't a particularly strange practice for those who set New Year's resolutions, but it is far less simple than it sounds. A video I watched recently by CGP Grey suggested doing away with resolutions and instead adopting a yearly theme such as "Year of Reading" or "Year of Health." It occurred to me that this is how I have been going about reading the Bible for years. I would state what was important to me and see what the scriptures had to say about it.

How you go about getting your answer is up to you. Some may opt for a topical study. You'd check concordances, maybe Google search a phrase, and read a few select passages on the topic. Maybe you know of a book of the Bible that talks about the topic. I prefer this approach because it means getting a well rounded opinion, rather than snippets from various books that often do say contradictory things. There's even the most comprehensive of paths, listen to an audio Bible for two hours a day while meditating on your question and you'll have your answer, having gone through the entire Bible in about 20 days!

The Holy Spirit guides us when we study. The presence of God is near when we read his word, to give guidance, to answer our questions, and to suggest things we would not otherwise have wondered. Notice I didn't say to pray, because when you read this way, reading the Bible is a form of prayer: the form that often gets answers.

Peace be with you.

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