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7 Blessings Of Studying Your Bible

Paul Tripp

Between the "already" of your conversion and the "not yet" of your final home going, few things are more important in the Christian life than a practical and functional level of biblical literacy. One of the Father's most important gifts to his children in the here and now is the gift of his Word, and we simply won't be what God has called us to be and consistently do what God has commanded us to do without an ability to draw wisdom and insight out of the pages of his amazing Book.

But I have a confession to make. It's embarrassing and humbling, but I'm willing to make it publicly: I'm not always excited about reading and studying the Bible. I know I'm not alone. For distracted sinners like us, studying the Bible can sometimes feel burdensome, difficult, confusing, and unexciting.

So today, in an effort to remind myself and you to persevere, I want to consider 7 life-giving and heart-changing blessings that only ever come from knowing God's Word. Then, I want to recommend an unbelievable resource that will open the door to a brand-new way of studying your Bible.

1. God Consciousness

Beginning with the first four words of the Bible – "In the beginning, God…" – the existence, character, and plan of God are splashed across every single page of Scripture. And since were created for him, made to love and serve him, designed to walk in close communion with him, and called to do all that we think, say, and do in reference to him, there are few things more important to us than Scripture, because that's where we find God.

Regular study of the Bible causes everything in your life and mine to be driven by God-consciousness, and consistent study of the Word of God rescues us from a God-amnesia that's a constant danger to every sinner. Without actively digging into the pages of Scripture, we're at risk of forgetting, at a practical level, that God exists.

2. Self-Awareness

Second only to a life-shaping knowledge of God is a heart-humbling knowledge of self. But since sin is deceitful, we all must abandon the notion that no one knows us better than we know ourselves. As long as sin remains, there will be pockets of spiritual blindness in all of us.

Knowing the blinding power of sin, God blessed us with the mirror that is his Word (James 1:22-25). Looking into it intently will give you an accurate knowledge of yourself and a clear picture of the depth of your need for the grace not only of the Word of God, but of the God of the Word.

3. Knowledge of God's Plan

It's a principle captured powerfully in our Lord's model prayer – "Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10). What's the principle? You and I were created to live for something bigger than ourselves. Because of this, God works to rescue us from the claustrophobic confines of our little kingdoms of self and deliver us to his big Kingdom of glory and grace.

But what does it practically mean to seek God's kingdom? The answer splashes across page after page of Scripture. The Bible gives us a clear picture of what it looks like to have your life shaped not by what you want, but by what God wants. Studying the Bible will paint a portrait of what it looks like to have your life shaped not by your plans for you, but by what God has planned for you.

4. Personal Transformation

If you were to ask the question, What is God doing right now in the lives of his children? you could answer the question in one word - change. Yes, the power of sin has been broken, but the presence of sin still remains, so God is working by grace to progressively transform every one of us.

I love the word picture used in Isaiah 55:13 to illustrate the transforming power of the Word of God (the thorn bush becoming a cypress tree). If rain and snow watered a little thorn bush in your backyard, you would expect a bigger thorn bush, but instead a cypress tree appears. When you allow the rain of God's Word to water your soul, you don't become a bigger rendition of what you once were, but by grace become something radically new and organically different!

5. Gospel Worldview

I don't know if you've thought about this, but you are a theologian. I don't mean an academic theologian studying biblical history and languages in seminary, but an everyday theologian. Every day, you and I interpret our experiences through the lens of theology. We make assumptions and draw conclusions about God, about ourselves, and about our world.

Dangerously, most of us make these theological conclusions on the fly, without valid biblical reasoning. And perhaps even more dangerously, we don't even know that we're making them! Once more, this is why Bible study is so wonderfully helpful. It gives us an origin-to-destiny perspective on all that was, all that is, and all that will be, so we can correctly understand our world and respond appropriately in it.

6. Street-Level Guidance

If you're like me, and I suspect you are, there's hardly a day that goes by where you don't want (and need) street-level direction for everyday living. What should I say in this conversation? How should I respond to that situation? What should I plan to do in this location? Nearly every hour is marked with moments of decision, not huge, life-changing decisions, but 10,000 little moments of decision that will shape our life and legacy.

Because we live in 10,000 little moments of decision, it's so comforting to know that God's Word operates as "a lamp to our feet and a light to our path" (Psalm 119:105). When we study the Scriptures, we're unlocking a spiritual GPS that helps us navigate our moments of decision in the conversations, situations, locations, and relationships of life.

7. Commitment to Ministry

Finally, God's Word reminds us again and again that the most important work in the universe is his work of redemption. Studying the Bible will remind us that we have not been called just to be recipients of his grace, but instruments of that same grace in the lives of others.

The Bible does more than just remind; it defines how we participate in ministry. There are many passages in Scripture – 2 Corinthians 5:20, 1 Peter 5:1-10, and 1 Corinthians 2:1-2 are just a few. The more you study the Word of God, the more you will become committed to, and skilled in, the practical ministry lifestyle to which all of us have been called.

A Resource I Recommend

These 7 blessings that we all desperately need will only ever come from the regular study of Scripture. But remember, at the beginning of this post, I said that Bible study can sometimes feel burdensome, difficult, confusing, and unexciting. That's why I'm so thankful for Logos Bible Software, and particularly excited about the release of their newest package, Logos 7.

Logos enables you to have a better Bible study. This amazing computer technology finds answers for every search, gives cultural context, connects Scripture to Scripture, and so much more. The misconception is that it's only for full-time pastors, but at my marriage and parenting conferences, I always recommend it to the "everyday people" in attendance.

If you're feeling frustrated or bored with your personal study of God's Word, you need to check out Logos 7. I will use it every time I sit down to study the Bible, and if you get it, I'm sure you will too.

8 Words of Encouragement for Young Leaders

Ron Edmondson

I love investing in the next generation of leaders. They are our future. I think we have an obligation to share our experiences and help them learn from our mistakes. This is a huge purpose of this blog.

Most of the ones I invest in these days are younger pastors – or those who want to be some day. I love it. It’s honestly what fuels me most.

With this in mind, I occasionally like to share some principles and practices of leadership I’ve learned along the way. I’ve written more to pastors and ministry leaders in other posts – and more about keeping your relationship with Christ first and foremost – these are more general thoughts.

Here are 8 words of encouragement for young leaders:

Become an early risk taker.

It’s seems more difficult the older we get to take bold moves. I hope I keep doing so. I look at Moses and Abraham as examples, but I know the meaning of “comfort zone” now more than ever. Develop into your personal DNA early you will always be willing to walk by faith.

Learn to enjoy and be content in today.

Don’t concentrate so much on the next level of achievement you miss the lessons of today or never experience joy in the journey. God is doing something now – today – even as you wait for the next great thing. Looking in reverse – today will probably seem more valuable in your development than you can imagine now. And, every season of life is like this.

Manage your time wisely.

It passes quickly and you don’t want to regret too many missed opportunities – or too many avoidable mistakes. Grace is amazing, but there are moments in life you only have access to once. Then there are those really dumb things we do we wish we hadn’t. If your long-term goals and objectives for life scream this will be a decision you will regret – don’t do it!

Be inventive.

We need innovation in leadership. Take us places you see in your dreams, where God is calling you, but we can’t seem to find our way there. It will be hard, there will be resistance, but there’s a value in youth and leadership. We need you and your unique contribution.

Find the right people to influence you.

Don’t allow the negative words in your life to crowd out the positives. Concentrate more on what God is calling you to do than the naysayer’s personal agendas. You’ll struggle with this all your life, so the sooner you discipline yourself the better. Just like Elijah, you probably have more supporters than you think you have. Complainers simply have larger vocal chords. Hang around positive-minded people – people you trust and who trust you – then let them speak into the deepest and darkest places of your life to help you continually mature as a person and leader.

Live in stored up praise.

You’ll seldom know the good you are doing. Keep going even when the cheering crowds are silent. Find your affirmation in God and His truth spoken to you. Know who believes in you! Know your self-worth is not found in your performance, but in your unique design by your Creator. You have value to this world!

Keep growing personally.

Spend as much time on personal development as you do trying to develop others. Read THIS POST for an explanation, but basically you will need all the strength you can muster to lead well. Stand strong. Learn. Read. Develop. Find a mentor. Be a mentor.

Keep pride and arrogance in check.

This is huge. Never believe you’ve finally “arrived”. As soon as you do – you’re living in dangerousness territory. You will always need people to speak into your life. Be wise about whom you listen to, but always be teachable. There will never be a time you don’t have something to learn. I hate to admit it, but I was in my 40’s before I really began to know how much I didn’t know.

By the way, all of this wisdom is just as true for my stage of life, but somehow I feel if we can catch leaders early they may avoid some of the mistakes I have made. I love your generation for its teachable spirit. Keep going! You’re doing great!

What words of wisdom do you have for the younger leader?

Help! I Am Not a Cheerful Giver

Art Rainer

Each person should do as he has decided in his heart—not reluctantly or out of compulsion, since God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7).

Recently, I spoke with a guy who struggled with this verse. He was a Christian. And he gave to his local church. But he admitted that his giving wasn’t always cheerful. He didn’t give begrudgingly. It just wasn’t cheerful.

In this moment of transparency, he asked what he could do to become a cheerful giver. He wanted to become the type of giver 2 Corinthians 9:7 tells us we should be.

This guy is not alone. Many others find themselves asking this very question. So how does one experience joy in their giving? How can they become a cheerful giver?

Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Pray for your heart to be aligned with God’s heart. Spend some time asking God to posture your heart toward giving in the same way that His heart is postured. Pray that what makes Him happy will make you happy as well. Pray for alignment.
  2. Pray that God will show you the impact of your giving. Ask Him to reveal the difference your giving makes. Pray that He will show you how He uses the resources you release to make an eternal difference.
  3. Focus on mission, not money. When you give, consider the Kingdom-advancing mission that you are a part of. Your giving is much more than a transfer of money from one bank account to the next. It is an act of war. God will use your money to push back the darkness in this world.
  4. Consider how open-handedness transforms momentary into eternal. You frequently regret past purchases. You rarely regret past generosity. Why? When you give, you move money from momentary impact to eternal impact.
  5. Focus more on what they don’t have. When you focus on others’ needs (as opposed to your own wants), you realize that your giving can make a real difference in your community and the world. You become less concerned about yourself and more concerned about others.
  6. Consider a different way to give. I give online, and, most of the time, I encourage others to do the same. However, if you give online yet feel detached from God’s mission, try giving during a service. In-person giving may help you feel a greater connection to the church and the impact it is making.

God wants us to be a cheerful giver. If you find yourself in a giving funk, consider these six suggestions. Reignite a passion in your heart for financially supporting the advancement of God’s Kingdom.