Are you ever amazed by someone’s depth of biblical understanding? Have you ever wondered how they became so knowledgeable?
Is there anyone in your life that you admire regarding their dedication to reading the Bible? Do you wonder what keeps pulling them back to Scripture?
I know two men that make me think of this immediately.
- Dr. Ronald Sauer
- Larry Murray
The first is my favorite professor while at Moody Bible Institute. He has a PhD in New Testament from the University of Manchester (England) and a ThM from Dallas Theological Seminary.
The second is my father. A man who has a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Sciences from the College of Engineering at Michigan State University.
What is the main commonality between them? Well, there are many… but the main one I want to discuss that relates to this post is that both of them have been in their Bible almost every single day over the past 40 years.
One man has an elite education regarding the original languages and teaches at the “Harvard of Christian Schools” (For links about it’s elite level click the hyperlinks). The other is a deacon at his church who also volunteers with junior high clubs with his local Youth for Christ.
Both, however, are men of strong disciplined lives.
What is it that brings them back to the Bible every day for so many years?
It is God’s Word
From my conversations with my dad over the past years (wow… almost 3 decades now!! I’m old!) and the six classes with Dr. Sauer I have learned how to approach the Bible. Here are the ways we are to approach the Bible (and pretty much in this order).
So much can be said about each of these, but please accept a sentence or two for each
- We prayerfully approach Scripture, understanding that if God truly is the author, then we are desperately in need for Him to illuminate it. We need His guidance and help in understanding and applying the text.
- God has preserved His Scripture for us over the millenia. Praise Him for this! What a great reminder of the strength, providence, and benevolence of God that we are able to have Scripture preserved over the (almost) countless generations.
- Never read Scripture isolated from the surrounding passages, the historical setting in which it occurred, the grammatical structure of the words (Dr. Sauer taught me how to read and understand Greek Grammar), and the social contexts of the passage. These are the contexts that help us to understand the meaning of the Passage which God inspired the authors to write, and which has been preserved for us to be able to read.
- God wants to teach you through His Word. Scripture, if it is God’s Word (and I whole heartedly believe this!), then it – “is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:16 & 17). You will gain something that you can apply to your life. God’s Word meant something in its original context, and from that passage there is also application for your life– in your very context!
- What are we to look for in Scripture though? It is firstly what does Scripture say about God. Who is He? What is He like? Is He Holy? Is He loving? Is He just and right in all He does? Is He sacrificial? Is He worthy of our love, honor, praise, and worship? Does He care about us and desire to give us an everlasting life with Him?
- What does Scripture say about humanity? Are we worth anything? Where do we get our value? Are we sinners? Are we able to be redeemed? How are we to live?
- What does the passage say about Jesus? He declares that He can be found in the Old Testament. He can be found in the books of Moses. He can be found in the Psalms. Look for Him. He is the Eternal One- the One Who was, Who is, and Who will be (Revelation 1:8).
- We can learn many things from Scripture, but if we are not humbly submitting to what we learn, then what is even the point of learning it? The book of James has a lot to say about this, especially 1:19-27.
- We finally must be ready to admit where we are wrong and Scripture confronts us. On top of this, we must be humble about what we have learned. We might not have seen the whole meaning of the text, or might be wrong. So we read Scripture with humility, because it is the authority over us- not visa versa.