It’s that time of year when the kidlets head back to school. Do you remember that time of year yourself? The newness of a crisp backpack… The soft, cozy feel of a new pair of Mary Janes strapped over a pair of ankle socks…The technicolor glory of sharp, bright pencils?
If for some of you that memory seems like a long time ago (or maybe you never had the joy of a positive back-to-school experience) it’s never too late to create wonderful new memories, starting with God’s Word.
Slow down, school girl!
While some of you may consider yourselves the Hermione Granger of the New Testament, it’s helpful to remember that God is more interested in our hearts than our Bible knowledge. It could be said that ‘A Bible scholar does not a devoted follower of Jesus make,’ however, there are definite benefits to knowing a little bit about the Good Book.
That said, what do you know about the Bible and how it can benefit you and others?
Know Your Bible? Take A Quiz!
Here are six questions to test your skillz. If any of your answers resemble ours, give yourself one point!
1. Why do we need the Bible?
(Answer: It’s How We Get to know Jesus)
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. - Ephesians 1:17
Friendships are deepened when we get to know one another. How do we do that? We get together over coffee and share our lives, we talk on the phone, we text, we Facebook, we skype, we write letters (there are those among us who still do that, you know). We invest our time into learning the likes, dislikes, habits, faults and such of those we want to become better friends with. As much as I would love to, I can’t just email Jesus and say, “Hey! Why don’t you come over Saturday? We’ll grill and chat about ourselves.”
TIP: So how are we supposed to become “friends” with Jesus? By reading about him. The New Testament is chock full of information about our Christ. The more you glean the more you know him. Couple that with prayer and you’ve got a real life, bona fide, intimate relationship with Jesus.
2. What’s the importance of knowing the historical context of the Bible?
(Answer: The more we understand what was going on at the time, the better equipped we are to interpret the scriptures.)
Yes, if she refuses to wear a head covering, she should cut off all her hair! But since it is shameful for a woman to have her hair cut or her head shaved, she should wear a covering. - 1 Corinthians 11:6
As relevant as the Bible is to today’s living, it was still written a couple thousand plus years ago. There are some passages that require a little cultural knowledge of that particular time and place. According to the scripture above, we girls should never, ever have short hair. I mean, that’s what the Bible says, right?
Tip: To truly appreciate that particular passage you have to look at who the writer was addressing and what their customs were. Shorn hair on a woman was considered disrespectful and much too bold according to most Greco-Roman societies at that time. Most of the cultures we’re familiar with today don’t have those same practices. And boy am I and my short hair glad!
3. Why study the Bible. I mean, really really know it?
(Answer: Studying the Bible will make us confident of our convictions.)
We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. - Hebrews 3:14
How can we share our beliefs if we don’t know why we believe what we say we believe? Ignorance is bliss when you’re talking about the calorie count of a decadent dessert, but not when it comes to our faith. Just because you heard someone say something is true doesn’t necessarily mean it is.
Tip: Do the work, research the subject and make your own decisions. Reading commentaries and talking to other Christians are great ways to work out some of your questions, but be sure to go straight to the source. The Bible is, after all, the authority here.
4. How does knowing the Bible bless others?
(Answer: Studying the Bible will also make us better able to answer someone else’s questions)
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. - 1 Peter 3:15
Oh how I wish I could just blurt out the book, chapter and verse for any given question, but I can’t. It’s like my love of history. I can tell you the general story, just not the names, the dates or the places. But you can bet I will find out for you because I understand how to find out.
Tip: It’s the same way with the Bible. We don’t have to have all the answers and, in fact, it’s ridiculous to even think that’s a possibility. If you don’t have an answer it sure is helpful to know where to look. And the more I study, the more I can tell you the names, the dates and the places without looking. (And maybe even the book, chapter and verse!)
5. How will knowing the Bible bless OUR lives?
(Answer: It will direct us like a compass on a ship. It very well might change our course from drowning in despair and eath to surviving in joy and New Life.)
Teach them his decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave. - Exodus 18:20
Consider the Bible as the Christian handbook. A “how to”, if you will. The Old Testament gives us the 10 Commandments which is an easy to follow, well defined list of things we shalt not do. Hop on over to the New Testament and Jesus takes these commandments one step further. He changes them from action items (don’t commit adultery) to matters of the heart (don’t lust after another).
There are also instructions on how to pray, what God desires of us, how to tell when we’re within His will, and the list goes on. Just think of it as a “Life for Dummies” book.
5. With so much other material at our fingertips, why make time for the Word of God? (Snooze)
(Answer: We might find out just how fascinating the Bible really is.)
Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead. Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “He’s alive!” – Acts 20:9-10
I had a difficult time settling on a passage of scripture for this item. Other passages I’d think of were too raunchy or too grizzly or too something. I finally landed on the Acts verses because this story is just so silly. I mean, seriously. Paul droned on and on and literally bored this kid to death! Luckily for the young man, the apostle had mad resurrecting skillz.
Tip: Some people won’t read the Bible because it’s “too boring”. I beg to differ. No really. I’ll get on my knees and beg anyone to reconsider. This best seller is crammed from cover to cover with all the elements of a great fiction novel: suspense; deceit; murder; adultery; love; war; violence; romance; tenderness; mercy – all wrapped up in the ageless battle of good versus evil.
Add Up Your Scores
* 5 points: Wow! You really read and understand your Bible! You are a scholar! But don’t get too cocky. Knowing and living it are too different things. You have the responsbility to share your knowlege with others. (Hint: Do it with grace and love! You might be the only Bible anyone ever reads.)
* 4 points: Not bad, sister! You have a good basis for why you need the Word of God, but you need a reminder. Consider some of the tips below to touch up on some of God’s Word.
* 3 – 4 points: Great start. You get the basic idea, but you could use some encouragement from others, as well as thoughtful time in prayer on a daily basis. Ask God to fill you with his Spirit as you dive into the Bible.
* 2 – 3 points: You are ready for more. There’s no shame in what you don’t know. Even the most scholarly of scholars are learning daily. Keep going – you can do it!
* 1 – 2 points: You are a brand new slate, really ready to have God’s almighty spirit pour into you. Need some suggestions on ways to do this? Look no further than the next paragraph.
Tips to Study God’s Word
There is no denying the Bible can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. So how do you become more educated on the Bible? Here are just a few ideas:
* Get involved in a Bible study: You can join one at your local church or find one on-line.
* Use a Bible reading plan: There are some great on-line plans and apps that are wonderful for the list-makers among us. Complete the daily reading and check it off.
* Find a good commentary: The right one will help you decipher some of the trickier parts.
* Do a daily devotional: Consider reading something from one of our own writers at Believe.com, Renee Fisher. Her new Dream Devotional for women will to provide you with encouragement, support and enriching quiet time with the Lord to bless your daily walk.
Leave a comment: Do you know the Bible fairly well? Do you study the Bible in a particular way? If so, what way. If not, do you think you might start? What has kept you from doing so in the past?