This is the second in a series of posts highlighting biblical answers.
Christians experience a “new life” in Christ. The Bible describes salvation as being “born again.”
Today we look at how the Bible is our most reliable source to answer the question, “How do I live this new life?”
God’s Word sustains spiritual life like food sustains physical life.
When I was a child, our church used offering envelopes to gather information about those attending Sunday School. There were small boxes on the front for checking-off things like, “Present,” “Read SS Lesson,” “Giving,” and “Read Bible Daily.” Sadly, I was about forty-years-old before understanding the profound difference between reading the Bible daily and studying it as a part of spending time with God. Discovering how to spend time with God in prayer and Bible study was a spiritual turning point in my life. Then God’s written Word became nourishment for my soul, energized my faith, and enriched my relationship with God.
The Bible is unconditionally dependable.
The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God's revelation of Himself to man. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union. And it is the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation. Baptist Faith and Message
Why study the Bible?
“The Bible remains the only source of divine revelation and power that can sustain you as a Christian in your walk with God.” John MacArthur
We all entered the physical world as tiny babies. Being “born again” generates a “baby Christian” who needs the Bible to grow into maturity. Growing from a spiritual baby into maturity is a process called Sanctification.
In the beginning, young Christians need biblical help along the way. There are many sources for that help in a local church like small Bible study groups and pastoral preaching. Ideally, the Christian who leads someone to a new life in Christ will be heavily involved in the process. Gradually, as growth takes place, new Christians become more independent, learn ways to continue the process, and begin to help other new Christians along their journey toward maturity. Unfortunately, however, a new Christian can stop growing and become stagnate at an immature spiritual level.
In these verses from I Corinthians and Hebrews, Paul uses “milk” and “solid food” as metaphors for training from the Word of God. Babies need someone to feed them milk until they become mature enough to feed themselves solid food. In the same way, Christians remain immature as long as they depend on someone to feed them the Word of God. Mature Christians satisfy their hunger for the Word by also feeding on it themselves.
That’s what I finally learned and stopped just reading the Bible. I started consuming it during a daily time set aside to interact with God. Experiencing that difference enabled me to apply biblical truth and not merely know biblical truth. Notice the progression of maturity described in the following words from the Bible. First, we learn what the Bible says. Then the Bible transforms us into complete Christians, equipped to take action.
What resources can help me study the Bible?
There is no substitute for reading it for yourself after asking God to help you understand and apply the Bible in everyday life. It’s the only book that comes with an interpreter called the Holy Spirit who often works in a straightforward manner. At other times, He may lead you to outside resources that shed light onto His Word.
Bible Study Aids
A Study Bible equipped with footnotes, a concordance, and commentary written by Bible scholars.
Devotional Publications. Like Stand Firm, Journey, and Open Windows, which give practical daily insights into short passages from the Bible.
Bible Commentaries offer in-depth insights. They usually come as multiple volumes covering large portions of the Bible. One of my favorites is the “Be” Series by Warren Wiersbie.
A Bible Dictionary provides more than definitions. It will help you put people, places, and objects into context so you can understand meaning and purpose for the original writers and readers.
Small-group Bible Study
Find a local church where you can build relationships with other believers while studying the Bible in a small group setting. Also known as Sunday School or Life Groups, they are typically led by someone who dedicates time each week to preparing a presentation around a Bible passage. It’s a great place to ask questions and add to the discussion.
Bible study groups outside the church can be helpful, too. Just be alert and take the responsibility to make sure what’s taught is consistent with the general Bible message because misinterpretations can occur.
Volunteer to teach a lesson. The significant benefit to teaching a lesson is the exponential increase in what you’ll learn from a passage as you prepare to teach. Not everyone has the spiritual gift of teaching, but even if you don’t, look for at least one opportunity to teach a small group lesson. I’ll never forget the first few times I taught a Bible lesson. I was so scared I doubted my voice would make a sound. But, by faith in the Lord, I prepared well and took the plunge. Now I find it hard to go very long without teaching. In fact, it’s how I discovered my primary spiritual gift.
Prepare your heart for worship.
Christian music has the capacity to teach biblical truths by touching the heart and to embed those truths in unforgettable ways. Memorable tunes and lyrics will provide encouragement and guidance for years as you encounter life’s ups and downs.
Finally, listen intently to your pastor’s sermons to learn more about the Bible and about God. God’s Word is always powerful. When a pastor seeks God’s guidance and spends time preparing to proclaim His Word, amazing things happen. I cannot count the times God has spoken directly to me during a sermon precisely what I needed to hear. Many times, God reveals guidance to me about a wide range of personal struggles and challenges during a sermon presented by a pastor who had no way of knowing what I needed.
How is God leading you to consume His Word to gain greater maturity in your “new life?