Here is a man, Rear Admiral Barry Black, who knows God’s word. This discipline is evident in his knowledge and delivery of Biblical truth in a very challenging setting: a National Prayer Breakfast, attended by many of different nationalities, different religious systems, different political parties, different world views. Yet, he unapologetically affirms Who is in charge of kings’ hearts. Here is a man who knows This Man in God’s word.
If you do not have 27 minutes for the entire sermon, listen at least to the last three and one-half minutes. Scroll to 23 and tune in!
The exploration of the Bible is a life-long endeavor. Talk to an old saint in a church who has a living relationship with Jesus and he or she will be able to tell you of new discoveries made in recent weeks in reading and studying the Bible.
Recall, the Bible is not just one book , but a small library of 66 books, most of which are very short. The longest ones (except for Psalms) can be read in just a few hours in your “heart language,” that is the language in which you dream.
A more challenging project, but well worth the time and effort, is to read each book at a single sitting. This takes some planning, because longer books such as Numbers or Isaiah may take a several hours due to unfamiliar content or length, but in my NIV, Numbers is just 55 pages and Isaiah is only 108 pages. Many of the books are just a few pages long.
The point of reading each book (except for Psalms and Proverbs) at a single sitting is to get a clear overview of what the text says. This can help avoid taking verses out of context and misusing the Bible to “prove one’s point of view.” It allows the Bible to establish “the view” and lines us up with it, rather than coming to the book with a point of view and trying to establish that by forcing it on the Bible’s book. Psalms and Proverbs are special exceptions to this idea, because of their content and organization, which makes reading each at a single sitting less valuable than reading these “devotionally.”
I have addressed Bible reading and study more thoroughly in previous blogs listed below, and introduced one of them with this caveat: “A Man (or Woman) of God will live a life Marked By Bible Reading and Study. Be sure and understand, knowledge about God is not the same as knowing God. This is an important distinction to make because far too many people think that because they can quote volumes of Scripture or name all 66 books of the Bible or discuss theology like a . . . well, a theologian, that they know God.”
So begin now, reading each day just three chapters of the Old Testament and one of the New Testament, and you can easily read the entire library of the Bible in 2017. Along with this, plan for 66 times sometime during this year, to read each of the books at a single sitting. And consider setting some time aside to really study some of the Bible’s literature. It has some of the most exciting adventure stories, better than Marvel comics or Star Wars! It’s love stories put Danielle Steele to shame.
Okay, some of it can be boring, like reading catalogues, but study of it can make even these parts come alive, when you realize what God was doing in the course of history! So get a good commentary (free online!), and some literature helps and dive into a book that can give you eternal life, because it will testify about Him. “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.” (John 5:39)
See January 25, 2015, April 6, 2015, April 12, 2015, about this same subject, as well as April 26, 2015, and May 17, 2015 and its following blogs on the Reliability of the Bible, ending with June 28, 2015.
So if you want to know “This Man” of the Bible, read it, study it, memorize it, meditate on it, live it, and get to know Him in times of prayer.
Next week, February 12, 2017, we’ll look away from these inward disciplines, to begin to view some of the outward Disciplines of the Spirit-led Life.