Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Bible Study Tool Box - Six Questions

Yesterday we began exploring "How to Study your Bible".  We aim in this short blog series to give you some tools to put in your own personal Bible Study tool box.  We are using 1 John as our template, since the book itself was written by the Apostle John to bring assurance of salvation and understanding of one's identity in Christ (1 John 5:13).  As we continue exploring how to study your Bible, we will consider another tool, what I call "six-questions".  As you come to the scriptures, it is helpful to ask the following:

1. Is there an attribute of God to enjoy?

John writes these words in 1 John 1:5 "This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all."  When we speak of God's attributes, we are referring to His characteristics.  Those attributes point us back to who God is - since He is the sum of all His attributes, and each of His attributes are infinite and perfect, capturing all who He is.  This attribute of God as light is enjoyable because as you go down through the passage, we discover that in His light is found true fellowship and proof of our forgiveness of sin through Jesus Christ. 

2. Is there a promise to claim?

This second question takes adavantage of the more than 8,000 promises in God's word.  1 John 1:9 gives us an incredible promise to claim - "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

3. Is there a Warning to heed?

At times the Bible passage you are atudying will issue warnings.  1 John 2:15-17 states -  :"Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever."

4. Is there a command to obey?

Commands are found almost 1,000 times in the Bible.  For every command of scripture there is always at least one provision of God's Grace given to do it.  Jesus Himself states that when we obey what He says, it is proof that we genuinely love Him (John 14:15, 21,23).  John gives commands such as this one found in 1 John 2:3-5 By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 6the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.

5. Is there an example to follow?

At times you will find the saints of God mentioned in the Bible being those whose example are worthy of following.  John writes these words in 1John 2:12-14  I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for His name’s sake. 13I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father. 14I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.

6. Is there a teaching to learn?

Doctrine is essential to the Christian life, since by it we come to understand how to think biblically.  John's little book is full of wonderful teaching that we can both learn and apply to our Christian growth.  For instance his statement on prayer is one of the clearest - 1 John 5:14-15 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him. In just those short two verses, I learn some vauable truths on the teaching on prayer:

-Pray according to God's will
-Pray with the expectation that God will hear you
-Don't stop praying

Now with that teaching I have something by which I can use to grow in my prayer life.  Asking valuable questions such as these will aid you in your Bible study. 

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