I know, without a doubt, that out of His abundant mercy and grace, Jesus saved me twenty-three years ago at the age of five. From before birth, my world has revolved around Scripture. My parents taught it to me, sang it to me, and prayed it over me. I was assigned Scripture reading for school, and I excelled in AWANA. I even attended Bible college. I would say I knew the Bible like the back of my hand because I had been surrounded by it all my life.
But somehow, nothing had given me an awareness of how little I knew. Nothing had given me an excitement to know it in all its fullness. And nothing had shown me that studying Scripture could be the most exciting journey of my life.
Almost a year ago, I encountered a unique experience with a dear friend. This friend had accepted Christ ten years before, and yet this friend had a knowledge of Scripture and an eagerness to know it and its Author in a way I had never seen. So my friend taught me. And I began to learn.
Studying Scripture is Fun. Before, I studied Scripture because I knew I should. Sometimes it was amazing. Most of the time it was boring. I now see that it was boring because I didn’t know what it was saying, and I didn’t know how to find out. It was boring because it was a duty. It never occurred to me that the Bible was life, not an assignment. Meant to be seen as a treasure, not a dusty book on a shelf.
Some quick tips from my friend to me to you:
1. Study one book, or section of a book, for two or three months, and carefully read the entire passage weekly. It’s amazing the discoveries you’ll make.
2. Print a copy that can be marked up. Buy a package of colored pencils and be creative.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask “stupid questions.” This is how you learn.
4. Track words and themes to see how the author is using them or what his main point might be.
5. Create charts, outlines, or lists. Draw pictures. Write songs. Retell narrative. Think outside the box.
Myth: You Must Study Scripture Alone. The greatest way to make Scripture study fun is to do all of the above with a friend. How do you do that? Just ask them. Meet weekly or bi-monthly and have fun. Who says you have to sit in a corner an hour a day and read the Bible?
What Does Jesus Say? As you study, and as you approach life, ask yourself, “What does Jesus say?” Not, what does the average Christian say? Not, what does my pastor say? Not, what does John Piper (or any other wise Christian leader) say? Sure, take those into consideration. But come to your conclusions based solely on what Jesus says. And make it a lifelong goal to discover what that is!
To Know Scripture is to Know God. Why study Scripture? Who cares if it’s fun or not? What’s the point? The Bible is God’s revelation of Himself. Grasp that and you won’t need so many ideas on how to make it fun. It’s pretty amazing that God created the world by speaking a word. And that He sent His Son, the Word in the flesh, to redeem a sinful people. It’s even more amazing that He has given us His Word, the Scriptures, which testify of Him. By knowing His Word, we know God Himself.
A Challenge Like No Other. Everybody likes a challenge these days. You can take on any number of fitness challenges. Or try the cinnamon challenge. Or the ice bucket challenge. Read the Bible through one time, and you’ll discover that trying to see and understand and believe everything that’s in that Book is no small challenge. The amazing thing about this challenge is that you can’t go wrong. Stick with the Word and its Author, and seek to know what He says, and you’ll never be wasting your time. It’s the ultimate challenge of all time. And you can take part in it.
But It Doesn’t Happen On Its Own. I knew Scripture better than most people. Until I realized I didn’t. I was being fed Scripture at every turn. But I had neither a deep understanding of the Scriptures nor a joy in doing so. I was in the Word (…a little…), but it was drudgery. All I needed was a few creative ideas, some encouragement from a friend, and the realization that I could understand Scripture myself and therefore know God in a deeper way. Now, it’s my favorite thing to do. And that’s not an exaggeration.
And so I have a new life challenge. To find as many ways to study the Word with others as I can. To find out what Jesus really said. To devote my energies to knowing God through His Word. What journey could be greater?
So, from my friend to me to you…
Join me in the journey and don’t have too much fun!