My Top 15 Elements for Successful Bible Study – The Message
It’s taken years, but I have finally gotten into a nice rhythm in terms of studying the bible. As we grow in our walk with Christ, knowing God’s word (and seeking it with zeal) is one of the most important things we can do. After all, he’s revealed himself to us in two primary ways: Through his Holy Spirit, which we received as a gift when we became Christians, and in his Word. My morning prayer almost always ends with David’s plea from Psalm 119: “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
This post is the first of 15. In each post, I’ll be examining my personal “Top 15” things leading to successful bible study. I want to be clear that this may not be your top 15. In fact, this list might not be applicable to another person on earth. But I’ve observed that over the last six months, all of these things play an important role in my spiritual journey. Maybe a few of them will be valuable for you, too.
I’ve divided these elements into 5 categories; the first of them being Source Materials (Bible study has to start with a bible!). And source material number one, for me, is The Message
Bible – The Message. You could argue about the importance or priority of many of the items on this list … but it’s pretty obvious that if you’re going to study the bible, you’ve got to start with the source materials: The bible itself. It might be that you find a single translation or bible that works for you; I actually haven’t found a translation that works for me at the exclusion of all others. I have to confess that I wrestled with putting The Message number one on my list. After all, it’s only the New Testament! However, I study the bible primarily so that I can know the person, character and example of Christ. And I don’t just want to know him in an academic sort of way; I want to know him as my best and most loyal friend. The Person who gave up everything – in a way that stretches the very meaning of that word – so that I could know my Creator and spend eternity with him.
Because The Message is written in modern vernacular, it feels much more personal and relevant to me. It speaks to me the way a friend would. And because of that, it touches my heart and my mind in a way that no other translation does. I will note, however, that The Message seems to be a pretty liberal translation. That’s why my general practice is to read every passage twice: First in The Message; then in my New Living Translation study bible.
Element number two comes tomorrow: The New Living Translation Study Bible.
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