How to Study the Bible:

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1 How to Study the Bible: A presentation of different Bible reading plans Jerusalem Lutheran Church Sunday Morning Bible Class 2010 Pastor Souksamay Phetsanghane Bible - 1

2 How to Study the Bible Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. (NIV) 1 Peter 3:15 Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. (NIV) Obstacles to overcome to reading the Bible: Peterson, The Contemplative Pastor (Appendix A) Peterson suggests that pastors can be busy for two ignoble reasons: vanity and laziness. Comment on the reality of his two points. Can you think of any other ignoble reasons for being busy? Any noble reasons? Peterson suggests that one of the best ways to begin to get a hold on the beast of busyness is to seize the initiative to map out our schedules before others willingly do it for us. How helpful do you believe that suggestion is? What other suggestions have you found useful in taming the beast of busyness? Peterson, Eat This Book (Appendix B) In what ways may we at times resemble Hans, Peterson's grandson, when we are reading Scripture? Why do such things happen so easily when we read Scripture? To put that another way, why is it easy to treat the Scriptures as an object to be honored while at the same times failing to take its message to heart? What insight did Peterson find as he watched his dog with a bone and then compared the meaning of several Hebrew words to speak about meditating on the Word? Bible - 2

3 Share with your group anything that has helped you, when reading Scripture, to do what we pray for at the close of the Common service: Blessed Lord, you have given us your Holy Scriptures for our learning. May we so hear them, read, learn, and take them to heart, that being strengthened and comforted by your holy Word, we may cling to the blessed hope of everlasting life (Christian Worship, p.25) REMEMBER: You are a Christian, the devil will attack you more than an unbeliever! Therefore, you need to be ready for his attacks with a solid foundation in God's Word. Ephesians 6:17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (NIV) How to read the Bible: (With the knowledge that a devotional life is a very personal thing that one learns to do by doing.) Reading the Bible is not like reading the newspaper or an article online. When you open the Bible your Creator is talking who knows you better than you know myself. In these words your Redeemer is drawing near to you to comfort and bless. Through these words your divine Counselor is breathing his gift of life into you to restore your soul. A1: Bible in three years Forward in Christ schedule A2: Bible in one year Canonical Order Chronological Order B Bible Reading Plan About min Built-in days off for holidays and vacations Whole Bible is read in a year Some books of the Bible are read twice in the year First time more chapters to get an overview of the book Second time less chapters to focus more on the details of the book Bible - 3

4 C Bible Reading Plan Begin 5:30 or 6am About min Monday-Friday Begin with one of these prayers Psalm 119:18 Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. (NIV) Luke 11:13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! (NIV) The Spirit who gave the word is the only one who can work a believing understanding of what he has caused to be written for us. Without his blessing one's dull eyes turn the Bible into a closed book even when opened! Take shorthand notes about what is read or prayed in a notebook. It helps to stay focused. Read a psalm or two or three from January to April and again July to October, rest of months, read a chapter from Proverbs Read some of the Bible lessons for the following Sunday, sing selected verses from the hymn of the day followed by praying the prayer of the day, CW p Read a chapter or two from one book of the Bible for an entire month Keep Luther's four questions in mind (explained below) Time for intercessory prayer Monday: Spouse, sons and daughters 1. that God keep him/her trusting in his grace for eternal life 2. that the Lord teaches him/her that life is not about living for self but rather it is about being God's representative in Christ-like love for neighbor in every Godgiven vocation 3. that he/she lives devoted to his/her spouse 4. if he/she is in public ministry or studying for the ministry that God make them faithful to his Word, zealous in doing the work of the kingdom, and that he keeps them encouraged when the cross weighs heavily Tuesday: Home church and other churches one has been a member 1. that through faithful preaching and rich worship the members grow in love for the public means of grace 2. that God make them people of his Word through corporate study at church/school as well as through family, couple, and personal devotions 3. that God lift their eyes beyond the walls of their parish to see the waiting harvest in community, state, nation, and world including seeing and seizing opportunities to work together through synod and organizations like Lutheran high school federations 4. that God constantly renew in them by his gospel a clear sense of the purpose for which they exist as they work together as congregations 5. that God lead all their called workers to serve in ways that honor gospel ministry and that the people honor their called workers 6. that the saints are being equipped for royal priestly service in the congregation and wherever they are in life 7. that God send many of their sons and daughters into the public ministry Bible - 4

5 In addition to prayers for those congregations, prayers with similar emphases are added for our district leaders (presidium and circuit pastors), and for our synod's presidium and leaders, Conference of Presidents, and Synodical Council Wednesday: Brothers, sisters, in-laws, their children (Same pattern as Monday) Thursday: Spouse's Family (Same pattern as Monday) Friday: Other friends and family (Same pattern as Monday) Finish with special intercessory prayers (for the sick, grieving etc.) Psalm 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. (NIV) Psalm 119:97 Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. (NIV) Bible - 5

6 D Bible Reading Plan About one hour every day Opening Prayer Lord, open Thou my heart to hear, and through Thy Word to me draw near; Let me Thy Word ere pure retain; let me Thy child and heir remain. Thy Word doth deeply move the heart; Thy Word doth perfect health impart; Thy Word my soul with joy doth bless; Thy Word brings peace and happiness. To God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit, Three in One, Be endless glory, as before the world began so evermore. Amen. Advent Major Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel) Lent Matthew (with Proverbs, Ecclesiastes) Easter Hebrews and James Mark and Confessions Pauline Epistles (Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon) Luke and Acts Historical Books of Old Testament (Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2, Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther) or Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) John, 1, 2, 3 John and Revelation Minor Prophets (Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi) Always read the prophets and always the gospels each year Smartphone Apps: Android Market 299 Bibles on a search LifeChurch.tv 23 different reading plans (Old or New Testament; 30 or 365 days) NIV CadreBible Create Your Own reading plan canonical / chronological Daily Bible (JoanSoft) NIV Talking English Standard Version Iphone RIM Blackberry LifeChurch.tv Bible - 6

7 Any other bible reading plans? Which plan would you think works for you and why? Questions to have in mind as you read: When you read, have one question that you want the Holy Spirit to answer as you read his inspired words What does this have to do with the promise of a Savior? Why is this important enough that the Holy Spirit inspired it to be included in the Bible? How is this story unique? e.g. the four Gospels How does it strike me in my different roles in life: pastor, father, mother, husband, wife, son, daughter, grandfather, grandmother, employer, employee, citizen of this country? Luther's four questions to have in mind: What is God saying to me here? What does the Lord God expect of me? No matter how we phrase this first question, it is seeking one thing: an understanding of what God is saying. For what does this lead me to give thanks? Urging us to look for gifts and blessings that God is giving to his world to us and/or others. What sins does this lead me to confess? It is critical that we be constantly on the watch for where our natural hearts are being deceived by the lies of Satan. How important to remember that those who know the grace of God have nothing to fear, no matter what evil the Word reveals in our hearts. God already knows the state of your heart and mine. There is no sin his Word reveals for which the blood of Jesus is not sufficient. Before God, the Christian knows that honesty in confession is possible that the world will never understand! For what does this lead me to pray? What needs of heart and life for myself and others come to mind? If you have found a promise of God, pray it. You don't even need to ask, If you will since you know what his will is. His own promise reveals it to you. Here especially we pray God's words back to him. Bible - 7

8 Final Remarks: Read but don't be in a hurry to finish Benefits far outweigh the obstacles Don't have unreal expectations It happens often that in my meditation I come across such rich thoughts, that I disregard the other six petitions. When such a wealth of ideas comes, one should forego other petitions and make room for such thoughts, listen silently and certainly not hinder them from coming. Under such conditions the Holy Spirit is preaching and in his sermon one word is better than a thousand in our prayer. Luther (A Simple Way to Pray, p ) Doubting whether we have gained anything from our time in the Word, we move on to the tasks of the rest of the day not knowing how or in what way the Word has proved a blessing for us. After all, God compares his Word to rain and snow in Isaiah 55. Consider how long it takes the snow of January to make the earth bud. It may be months until that snow melts and waters the earth and helps it bloom and flourish. The snow from a particular storm may be long forgotten by the time it accomplishes its intended task and brings fruit for the earth. So is his Word that goes out from his mouth. Take your own private time with the Lord. Learn from him. Cherish the words that he wanted us to know. Take advantage of this glimpse God has given us. Not only into his mind, but into his very heart. In these pages of Holy Scripture, he bears his heart, shows his love for us all! The key is to find one that works for you and your schedule! Every method should slow you down long enough to ponder the words being read. Make knowledge of the Scriptures your love Live with them, meditate on them, make them the sole object of your knowledge and inquiries. Jerome Bible - 8

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