How To Study The Bible (#2)
"A Desire To Learn"
What's the secret to understanding the Bible? What's
the key to knowing its true meaning? I'll give you
a clue -- it's not the latest book, or some new theological
or interpretive scheme. What's the secret? The answer
is -- there is no secret!
The Important of Desire
Why don't you know the latest philosophy of science
insights into induction, theories of proof and heuristics?
You don't care, right? Exactly! Because there is no
interest, there is no desire. And without desire, you
really don't learn anything very well.
Have you ever heard someone tell you to do something
at work, but because you had no interest in what was
being said, or perhaps because you had an interest
in something else, you didn't pick up on all of the
instructions being given to you?
Have you ever explained to your son or daughter how
to complete some task only to realize after you finished
talking that they had not understood at all what you
were saying? Perhaps it's because they were not interested
in what you had to say. Perhaps it's because they wanted
to do something else. Without desire, understanding
can be difficult.
Desire To Know God's Word
Understanding the Bible is no different. One of the
factors involved in learning what the Bible teaches
is really quite basic. It's the same principle that
we found was necessary to learn anything. In order
to understand the Bible you have to want to know. You
must desire to learn the truth of God's word. The role
desire plays is crucial. While it does not guarantee
that you will know everything that you might want to
know, or that any specific claim is true simply because
you want it to be true, desire is still imperative
if you really seek to understand the word of God.
In John 7:17 Jesus said: "If anyone wants to do
His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether
it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority."
Jesus taught that if anyone wants to do God's will
he can know whether or not His teaching was authoritative.
Note that desire precedes knowing. This is the key
to knowing the truth of God's will. We must want to
The same principle is alluded to in Matthew 5:6: "Blessed
are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be filled." What is the level of
your desire for righteousness? Do you hunger and thirst
for it? Are you just as concerned for knowing and doing
God's word as you are for seeking to fill your stomach?
Without this kind of desire to do God's will, we severely
cripple our efforts to know God's will.
Ezra, the priest and scribe who figured so prominently
in the restoration of Israel, had this desire. Ezra
7:10 describes this attitude: "For Ezra had prepared
his heart to seek the Law of the LORD, and to do it,
and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel."
Is your heart prepared to seek God's law? Do you have
the desire to want to know it more than anything else?
That's what it will take to learn God's word.
James 1:5 tells us that God gives wisdom: "If any
of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives
to all liberally and without reproach, and it will
be given to him." True as this is, James does
not present all that is necessary in the pursuit of
wisdom. God does not give wisdom only because we ask
for it. We must be willing to work for it.
The writer of Proverbs teaches this in chapter 2, verses
1-9: "My son, if you receive my words, and treasure
my commands within you, so that you incline your ear
to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; yes,
if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice
for understanding, If you seek her as silver, and search
for her as for hidden treasures; then you will understand
the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.
For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge
and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the
upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly;
He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way
of His saints. Then you will understand righteousness
and justice, equity and every good path."
Notice the number of words used in this passage that
indicate desire. We must "receive" God's
words. We must "treasure" his commands. We
must "incline" our ears to wisdom. We must
"apply" our hearts. We must "cry out
for discernment." We must "lift up"
our voices for understanding. We must "seek her
as silver." We must "search for her as for
hidden treasures." Only then will we know and
understand God's will.
Perhaps no greater example of this desire can be found
than that of Paul. Note his thoughts in Philippians
3:8-11: "But indeed I also count all things loss
for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus
my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things,
and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and
be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which
is from the law, but that which is through faith in
Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;
that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection,
and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed
to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the
resurrection from the dead."
Paul was willing to give up everything to have "the
excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus."
Paul wanted to "know Him and the power of His
resurrection." Do you have that kind of desire
to know God's will? Without it, you will never know
all God wants you to know. With it, you can know the
all truth that God wants you to know to be saved (cf
Proverbs 23:23; John 8:32; 1 Peter 1:22).
Jody L. Apple - admin@TheBible.net
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