The analogy has been used before that if we think of the Bible as we would a university, there are many different college campuses we could visit to engage in a different discipline of learning. We already addressed our constant need to be taking in the Word of God. This week’s focus is on what those different college campuses are; the different ways we can absorb God’s Word in a transformational way.
The first campus of Scripture: Hearing God’s Word
The best place to attend this college is on a Sunday morning. Here are a few verses that speak listening to the Scriptures:
Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it – Luke 11:28
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word of Christ – Romans 10:17
In 1 Timothy 4:13 Paul tells Timothy to be devoted to the public reading of Scripture.
Hearing God’s word is important. Preparing to hear God’s Word then is also important. We should never spend Saturday night or Sunday morning like we’re not going to be worshipping from God’s people and hearing from His Word at some point through the day. That’s the equivalent of expecting to learn while sleeping through a lecture. It doesn’t happen!
The second campus of Scripture – Reading God’s Word
If you started reading in Genesis 1 right now, and didn’t stop until read all the way through to Revelation 22, how long do you think it would take? The answer is 72 hours, for the average reader. 15 minutes a day would mean finishing the Bible in less than a year. Even 5 minutes a day would get you through the entire Bible in less than 3 years. Yet how few of us have read through the entire book cover to cover?
The third campus of Scripture – Studying God’s Word
Here’s a simple way to move from reading to studying God’s Word: have a pen in your hand and a blank piece of paper in front of you. Your reading will become much more active when you can underline something, make a mark in the margin, or write down a question you have from the text. If checking cross references doesn’t answer your question there are lots of books and resources that might help. You also have a few pastors who would love to hear ways you’re wrestling with God’s Word as you study it. We do and so it’s no surprise to us if you do as well!
The fourth campus of Scripture – Memorizing God’s Word
The following statistic is mind blowing. A couple of weeks ago, at the Community Kiosk at the Cambridge Centre, Muslims were handing out copies of the Quran in English (which is a whole other topic for another post) and a book on the basics of Islam. Here’s what it says at one point:
Presently there are approximately 25 million Muslims in the world, ranging from the age of 6 to 75, who have committed the entire Qur’an, word for word, cover to cover, to their memory and their hearts, among them is my son, Yusuf Kapoor who completed the memorization at the age of 14.
Now does that ever cause our heads to hang a little in shame. As Christians we believe the Bible is the revelation from God, and we listen to, read, study, and memorize it so little. Yet there is great benefit to doing so: it provides spiritual power when faced with temptation; provides truth when witnessing, counselling, or praying; provides guidance when we don’t have time to look up references in a concordance; and stimulates meditation, which brings us to…
The fifth campus of Scripture – Meditating on God’s Word
Unlike Eastern meditation, which is an attempt to empty the mind, the goal of meditating on God’s Word is to fill the mind, and fill it with truth. We can do this in the following ways:
– select an appropriate passage
– repeat it in different ways: I am the resurrection and the life. I am the resurrection and the life. I am the resurrection and the life. I am the resurrection and the life. I am the resurrection and the life. I am the resurrection and the life. I am the resurrection and the life. You get the picture.
– pray through the text
– take your time!
– look for application in the text. What does any passage teach you about God? What does any passage teach you about yourself? What response does any passage require of you?
And those are the 5 campuses of Scripture. We need to visit them all, regularly. Remember, we’re disciplining ourselves and we’re doing it for the purpose of what? Godliness!