The author of Ecclesiastes cautions there is no end to the amount of study one can do and reminds us amassing knowledge is not the point. He concludes his words of wisdom by saying the Scriptures spur us on to obedience. God calls us to engage in a reverent, loving relationship with him and obey his commands (Ecclesiastes 12:9–14). I love to learn but too often I’m guilty of not putting what I’ve learned into action. Can you relate? How can we be more intentional about applying the truth we learn from the Bible in our daily life?
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Application Starts with Study
We can’t apply what we don’t know or understand. So, we must start with studying the Bible in such a way as to gain access to the eternal truth revealed therein.
For this post, I’m going to assume you know how to study your Bible. If you need some help in that area, you may wish to read my posts: 7 Common Sense Keys to Unlocking Life-Changing Truth and How to Enjoy Reading the Bible and Get More Out of Your Time in It. In those you’ll find tips and links to helpful resources related to sound interpretation and study of Scripture.
Learning is not the end we work toward, though. We want to activate the truth in our life by reverently loving God and doing what he commands (Ecc 12:13).
I’ve broken down the process into the following easy to follow guide. Be sure to get the FREE Checklist that summarizes these steps. Just click the image above or the button below and I’ll email you the guide instantly.
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Now for the rest of the process…
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Many people wish they read their Bible more (61% in the 2013 Barna “State of the Bible” poll), or want to know how to get more out of reading the Word. This came up in my Reader Survey, too. A devotion a day isn’t cutting it for many readers, but reading it cover to cover seems overwhelming to most. So how do we get into our Bibles and get something relevant and understandable out of it? A good reading plan or Bible study will (1) get you into the Scriptures on a regular basis and (2) show you how to connect God’s truth and grace with your real life. Here is a simple three-step process to select a study/plan that works with who you are and what you have going on in your life.
Most of us need help to see how the truth of the Bible applies to our time and situations. We also benefit from guidance in terms of where to start, how much to cover in each session, and where to go for help when something doesn’t make sense. For these reasons, a study or reading plan offers one of the easiest ways to productively interact with the Scriptures.
Simple Three-Step Process
If you follow this simple process, you will know exactly what type of reading plans or studies you will enjoy the most and which will help you glean helpful and relevant teaching from the Bible. Be sure to download the free cheat sheet I’ve made for you.
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Next, grab a pen and some paper and jot down notes as you go through the following process. Then, use your cheat sheet and notes as criteria against which you evaluate reading plans or studies to find those that best meet your needs.
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Pastor and NY Times best selling author Timothy Keller says, “People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask hard questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions of a smart skeptic. A person’s faith can collapse almost overnight if she has failed over the years to listen patiently to her own doubts, which should only be discarded after long reflection.”
So how about you? Are you willing and able to doubt your doubts and back up your beliefs? (tweet that)
Do you know what you believe and why you believe it?
Will you take your doubts out of the hidden places, put them on the table, and work at them like a Rubik’s Cube until you can bring order and sense to them?
“I believe. Help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24)
In my mid-twenties, when I began to seriously study the Bible, I realized much of what I believed was inherited from others and was not even biblical. I had not examined those beliefs before. They just felt right and didn’t cause me discomfort. Inevitably, as Timothy Keller said, I experienced situations that challenged those non-biblical concepts. When I discovered I could not support them, it rocked my faith.
I am grateful for teachers and mentors who encouraged me to ask hard questions. The more relentlessly I poked and prodded at the biblical concepts as well as the alternate beliefs I held, the stronger and more personal my faith became. So, how can you benefit from doubting your doubts and examining your beliefs?
I’ve got a process and a free step-by-step guide to help you work through your doubts.
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How Examining Your Doubts Will Help You
If you struggle with doubts, I encourage you to face those head on. Take the time to examine your doubts (and your beliefs, too). The process will help you:
- Replace a weak, inherited faith founded on comfortable assumptions with a faith founded on truth and thus capable of withstanding challenges.
- Heighten your respect and compassion for others who doubt.
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When I began studying the Bible, I was amazed by how my pastor offered such relevant teaching from these ancient writings. When he explained the text, stories that had seemed irrelevant began to resonate with wisdom applicable to my life. I wanted to be able to do that when I read the Bible. But I didn’t know how he did it. I assumed a seminary degree was the key that unlocked that kind of useful information. But that isn’t true. Actually, seven common sense keys can be used by anyone to unlock the useful and powerful truth contained in the Bible.
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God’s truth for us is not hidden or secret. But it is revealed through events and people far removed from us. The differences in languages and cultures can act as barriers to our understanding the Bible. The following principles, or keys, work in conjunction with each other to empower you to read the Bible in a way that makes it exciting, inspiring, and applicable to what is going on in your life.
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I’ve made you a Checklist you can tuck into your Study Bible to help you recall these keys when you study God’s Word. Just click on the image or button and I’ll instantly email you the checklist.
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Now, let’s get to those 7 essential keys…
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