Hand of the Word – Five Ways to Hold on to God’s Word the Bible
In Bible study this week I came across an interesting verse.
Hosea 8:12 – Were I to write for him my laws by the ten thousands, they would be regarded as a strange thing.
God is condemning the people of Israel during Hosea’s time for their false religion. And He says that even if He gave them a personal message with His law they would consider it a “strange” thing. They would have no interest in it. It would be boring, impractical, irrelevant to them.
What is actually strange is their attitude, not God’s Word. If your favorite sports figure, historical character, or celebrity were to write a personal message to you, how would you respond? What would you do with it?
I asked this question to a friend this week and he answered, “frame it.” You would probably also take a picture of this special letter and post it to social media, sharing it with your friends.
The thing is, we have received this letter. The Creator of the universe, the Alpha and the Omega, God Almighty, has written us a letter. He has given us His laws by the “ten thousands.” If we would frame a letter from an important person, how much more should we treasure God’s Word.
Do you consider the Bible is strange? Do you feel bored by it? Or does it excite you?
Psalm 119:103 – How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
This is the attitude we should have towards God’s Word. It should be sweet to us. It is an amazing privilege to be able to read God’s words.
We live in a time when Scripture is under attack. Cultural forces continue to try to erode the validity of the Bible and believers’ faith in it. Atheist teachers attack and mock the Bible and those who follow it. Truth as perceived by culture is changing almost by the day. Those attacks come from outside the church. But within the church are attacks to, only more subtle. False teachers attempt to mislead and deceive believers.
A long time ago, Pilate asked Jesus, “what is truth?” And many believers today have a hard time identifying and holding on to the truth in a world that calls good evil and evil good (Isaiah 5:20-21).
Philippians 2:15-16 – That you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life.
To shine as lights in this dark world, we must hold fast to the word of life, to the Scriptures. How can we do this? There are five ways to hold on tightly to the Bible, represented by the HAND OF THE WORD. If you hold to Scripture with only 1-2 of these your grasp of God’s Word will be loose and it will be easy for you to be swayed by culture and led astray. Consider whether you are diligently practicing all five methods of learning God’s Word.
Hearing – (Romans 10:17) The first way we can get God’s Word into our life is by hearing it. What can we do to hear it? We can go to church and Bible study to listen to teaching on the Word. We can ask questions of our Christian friends. We can listen to sermons online. The most important point is that we continually put ourselves in position to listen to God’s Word being taught.
Reading – (Revelation 1:3a) Reading the Bible is the most basic way to understand it. It is great to listen to other mature Christians, but growing believers must have their own relationship to God and their own personal time to read the Bible for themselves. Jesus Himself often went off by Himself to pray and commune with God (Mark 1:35, Luke 5:16, 6:12). When we read the Bible we need to remember that the goal is not to “get through” a certain number of pages, but to understand more about God and how to serve Him.
Studying – (Acts 17:11) Studying goes deeper than simply reading. It is examining the Scriptures with a purpose. It could be studying a specific topic like prayer. Or it could be trying to find an answer to a specific question like “what is God’s will for me in marriage?” The goal is not rote recitation of facts and figures like we may prepare for exams in school. But one day we will face a heavenly “exam” to see how well we understand the Scripture and most importantly how well we followed it.
Memorizing – (Psalms 119:9,11) Memorizing God’s Word is a very important way to overcome temptation. Even Jesus Himself dealt with temptation by reciting God’s Word (Matthew 4:4-10). There will be many times when we will face temptations or need to make quick decisions, but won’t have a Bible nearby. And even if we have a Bible it is sometimes hard to know where to look for an answer. It is really helpful to memorize verses on a wide variety of topics so that we can have them in our mind and know what God wants us to do in whatever situation we face.
Meditating – Psalms 1:1-3 says, “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the path of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not whither. Whatever he does prospers.” (Joshua 1:8).
Meditation is the key to all of the other methods. It is the thumb. When you hear the Bible through sermons or other methods, you should take notes and meditate on what you hear. When you read the Bible, you should meditate on it and not just flip the pages. When you study the Bible, you should meditate. When you memorize the Bible, you should think about it during the day.
It is similar to an artist admiring a painting. It is when we think over God’s Word to try to find out what it really means and how we can apply it in our lives. We should make it a habit to meditate on the Scriptures we have learned not only while reading or hearing, but even throughout the day as we go about our daily business.
If you practice these five methods, you can hold on to the word of life. When you hold fast to the moral anchor of Scripture, you can stand immovable no matter how much the sands of culture in this world shift, swallowing up the foolish in the ever changing quicksand of moral relativity.
Are you practicing all five of these methods? Which one do you need to improve in?
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