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Aug 21, 2022

Reading and Understanding the Bible

Reading and Understanding the Bible

Passage: 2 Timothy 3:14-17

Speaker: Matt Petty

Series: Moving Forward

Category: Sunday Sermons

Keywords: truth, heaven, worship, faith, jesus, sunday, god, sermon, christian, bible, books, christ, gospel, scripture, hope, word, word of god, believe, religion, the bible, christianity, holy, bible study, bible reading, chapter, moving forward, bible verses, live music, how to read the bible, read the bible, study the bible, livestream, burnt hickory baptist church, how to study the bible, burnt hickory worship

This week in our sermon series Moving Forward, we’re looking at what it takes to read and understand the bible correctly. As a Christian, we read the bible, but we also must learn to love and study the bible too. We always need to answer the question of what does a passage say to its original audience and then ask what is the difference between the original audience and me. As we study, we learn to see the theological principles in the text and how the text fits in with the rest of the bible. As we learn to study the bible, the way to move forward is to apply the principles by living them out in our lives. As we live them out, we have the opportunity to share the bible through our walk too. If you’ve ever wondered how to study the bible, this sermon is a great tool to get you started. Are you consistently reading and studying the bible? What do you need to do to move forward in applying scripture to your life? As always, we’d love to answer any questions you might have and take time to pray with you. Reach out and take the next step today –

Well, good morning, Church. Hopefully you have had an incredible week this week. And man, thanks for being here today. I know we've already welcomed the guests, but I just want to tell you, if you are a first-time guest, if you've only been here for a couple of weeks, man, we're excited about having you as part of the family and just so thankful that you're with us today. You know, we've spent a little bit of time over the last three weeks just speaking into the vision, the building vision of 2023. You know, we've talked a lot about what it's going to be and how we're looking to build a counseling center for the community onto this side of the building, a new common space, a new front lobby, tie all of this front side together with, quite frankly, just a new view of the whole front of the facade of the church. But today, we've been praying for today. When you came in today, if you're a member today, you received a ballot that looks just like this one. And we want you to know today that we want every single member to vote and to have a voice into this project. We've said this a couple times, but we're a congregational church. It's not something for me to come up with some crazy big idea and just say, this is what we're going to do. All right. We want everybody to have a voice in it. We want there to be unity around it. And we just want there to be buy in to say this is where we're going. Well, today is your chance to speak into this project in two ways. Primarily, number one, you will vote yes or no, every individual that's a member. But number two, we're asking every family to pledge. Now, it's just means one of the family needs to write down the number or we'll double it. Amen. We need one of the family to write down the number that you as a family are pledging for over and beyond in the next year to give to support this project. Look, I know that we've all been part of campaigns like this, and we're so thankful that 18 years ago, there was a group of people that did this exact same thing that resulted in this complete facility. And so, I'm thankful today that we have a chance to continue that legacy on the invitation today, part of our invitation will be they'll have deacons at every door, around the building, around each worship venue today. And you'll be able to drop this in as a symbol of your worship today and of the unity of the church. All right. So that's coming up. Just wanted to give it to you. So, if you needed to kind of continue your praying on to where it is, which, by the way, last night, Melissa and I were having a conversation on where we were in our personal giving towards this. And so, I mean, I know that we've been thinking about it on our own, been praying about it on our own. So last night was like D-Day, right? I'm coming in today. I can't not ask. I mean, I can't ask you to talk and pray and us not do it. I was like, well alright babe. Where are we at in this? And then in true Melissa form, she's like, Well, you're the pastor. I mean, decide, right? And I was like, No, no, no, that's not how it works. And I said, I want your number. Give me your number. She said no, you give me yours. And I'm like, no, give me your number. She said all right, I got my number. It's off right here. I got it. I know what it is. Tell me your number. And she told me and catch this. I'm not going to tell you how much it is. All right, that's none of your business. But here's what I'm going to say. It was the exact same number. How cool is that? That God kind of brought us both into this spot to where both of us said, this is what we want to do over and beyond. So how cool is that? All right.

Well, let's jump into the message. That's not what you came to hear. Listen, this morning we're finishing our series called Moving Forward. Over the last weeks, we've been looking at this idea that that coming out of a global pandemic, coming out of just this massive newness of life, quite frankly, a lot of you have only been here for a couple of years. And so, you're walking a new journey. We have new kind of walks and new rhythms and new stuff. And we've said that part of our relationship with Jesus is that he wants us to continually be moving in him. You know, a lot of us, when we entered into faith, we came into it with this idea that if I can just check the salvation box, the rest of everything else is settled and I can just kind of live how I want to live. That's not what the God of the Bible tells us. He wants us to walk with him, move with him, and be in a place of continual walk. Well, God, over these last couple of years has brought us forward. As people, he's brought us forward. As a church, he's brought us forward. And we've been enjoying this incredible time of unity. And so now we're looking into this idea of what does it look like for us to move forward but move forward under the banner of Jesus Week one, we looked at Joshua crossing the river and how our job as believers is to keep God in front of us, to start where we are, to live holy lives that just says, Yes, God, I am with you. Week two in the series, we looked at the idea of partial submission versus full submission, and we said that many of our lives are lived kind of in the middle of these two things. But partial submission really brings an incredible pride in us, but it removes God's power from our lives. It points people in a skewed direction of how God wants to move in us. And quite frankly, it allows us to walk on our own power and not in God's power. We saw that in the Israelites. Last week, we looked at moving forward in the power of prayer or powerful prayers, and we looked at the idea that the prayer life of the early church had these two things that were part of every prayer. They told God who He was, and then they asked God for what they needed. And we walked out last week just saying, That's what prayer is. It's me coming to God and recognizing, Yes, you're Lord, but it's also me coming to him saying God, this is what I need, this is what I need.

So, we've walked through all of those and this week we're going to close the series on one of this church’s, and quite frankly, one of my personal passions. And I want us to look this week at what it takes for a follower of Jesus to move forward in my passion and in my understanding of the Word of God. So, what does it look like for me as a follower of Jesus to fall into this word and just have it have it completely satisfied my life? I mean, we've looked at how to move. We've looked at how to submit. We've looked at prayer. And I want to end with the piece of the puzzle, and I'm going to be really clear on this that I think is the linchpin of our faith and that's the word of God. It's the word of God. It is the one thing in our life that can absolutely just fast track where our relationship with God is. Now, in the past, we've had messages on well, let's prove the Bible is true. We've had messages on We should love the Bible, whatever. But I want to get I'm just telling you; I want to get as practical as I can this morning. And I want to give you a way that personally that you can read the Bible, you can understand the Bible, and that God can move in your life through the Bible. But here's what I want to say as I move into this idea. Satan doesn't want this to happen. He doesn't want it to happen. More than anything, Satan does not want you to hear what I'm about to say. And here's why. Satan doesn't care if you come in here in and sit under some teaching every week. He doesn't care if you kind of just every now and then hear someone divide the truth over you. He doesn't care about that. Do you know why? Because he knows that chances are a hack like me is not going to get you to a place in your life where you are fully satisfied in the word. He just knows that. So, he's okay with you kind of dating this place and coming in every now and then. But what Satan is not okay with is you falling into a full understanding of being able to feed yourself from Scripture because he knows once that happens in your life there is a power in your life as a son and daughter of the king because you're communicating with the father, and he is speaking into your life.

So, here's what's going to happen this morning as I teach this. I guarantee you there's going to be distraction all over this place. Your phone is going to blow up. That person sitting beside you is going to be trying their best to distract you. You're automatically going to get sleepy. You're going to spill a drink all over you. You're going to get fidgety, your husband's going to fall asleep. It's just how this is going to work. And look, there's a spiritual side to that. I'm just going to be honest. There's a spiritual side because Satan wants you not to hear this today, because if he loses, you, if he if you're able to move from only being fed to being able to be fed by the Word of God, he knows that you have power in your life, but also, he knows this. Satan will allow pride to sneak in today to some of you and you'll go, I know that I know how to do that. And he's got you in that moment. So, listen, if you'll lean into this message, I guarantee you can change your life. And I will just say that as "preacher talk." We say that all the time. I really mean it this time. It can change your life. I want to start with two texts. First one comes out of second Timothy, second Timothy. Now second Timothy is Paul speaking to young Timothy speaking to this young leader, Timothy. And in second Timothy, I want to show you the foundation of what the Bible is. And then on the backside of this message I'm going to teach you a method of approaching the Bible.

Second, Timothy Chapter three. Listen to what Paul says to young Timothy. He says, But that's for you, continue in what you have learned and have been convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ, Jesus. Verse 16, All Scripture is God breathed, and it's useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. Now we use verse 16 all the time when we talk about the Bible, right? We use it all the time. But I want you to look at the whole text that is given here, because Paul looks at Timothy and he gives him seven incredible lessons to think about when he's thinking about the Bible. I didn't put them in your notes because your notes would be like ten pages long. But I just want you to listen to these. Paul looks at Timothy and he says this continue in the word. He looks and says Continue in it. Why? Why don't you tell Timothy that? Because Timothy knew the word, right? He told him that because you are never going to fully arrive at a full knowledge of the word. You're not going to do it. You're never going to get to a point in the Bible to where you have all of its truth saturated into your soul. You cannot do that. Why? Because the Bible is alive. The Bible meets you in a moment. It meets you where you are. It speaks to you in the moment. So, what I want you to see here is that the goal of the Bible is not to read it just for knowledge. The goal of the Bible is for it to continue your life in a moving relationship with Jesus. Never come to a verse and go, Oh, I got that one memorized and don't read it and don't think about it because God can use it. He says, Continue in the Bible. Secondly, just kind of look at the chunks of the phrases, I'm not going to make anything up. That's cool. I'm just going to walk through it, he says. Continue in the process of being convinced, continue in the process of being convinced of the Bible's truth. Now this is what this means. You do realize that every time you approach the Bible, God is pouring His spirit into you, and it is galvanizing your walk with Jesus.

It's kind of like every time you read the Bible, every time you study, every time you understand the Bible, God will add another brick on to your life. He'll add another spot onto your life. He'll put another layer on the foundation of your life. And that's why he says, Hey, continue being convinced, continue seeing that God is faithful. Third, he says, Be thankful for your foundation. Be thankful for the foundation of the word. Now, what did he mean by this? Well, if you know what Paul is saying in this letter, Timothy is a second-generation Christian. Timothy is not one of the first-generation guys. He's not one of the disciples. Timothy was brought up by his mother and his grandmother. Catch this, speaking the word of God into his life, speaking God's truths into his life. So what Paul is saying is, Hey, be thankful for those people who loved you enough to know that in the early years of your life, God will move in you if God's truth is in you. Parents, this is why it's so important for you to continue to pour the Word of God into your kids.

He's saying, be thankful for those that did it in the beginning. But now he's looking at Timothy going, Hey, you need to build on this. Fourth, he says, Hey, it's the word that makes you wise for salvation. You do realize it's the Bible that makes you wise in your salvation? The Bible doesn’t save you; God saves you through Jesus. But the Bible is the primary tool for pointing out your need for salvation. Pointing out the plan of salvation. The Bible is the primary tool. It tells you that you're a sinner and that Jesus is giving you salvation. God's story. Catch this, the Bible is a huge redemption story of what God wants for you. Paul also says that Timothy says, Hey, listen, the word is directly from God. Keep looking at the text, that's all I'm doing, just walking through every little chunk in here, he says, Listen, Timothy, this is important because this is God's word. You do realize that the Bible is not something a couple of guys in a back room somewhere long ago just came up with, right? It was God speaking to people to press it into their soul so that we may have it. He says six, the Bible is useful. It's useful for me. It's useful privately, it's useful for all of us publicly it's useful internal and external. How? Because the seven thing that he says, look at it, it equips us. Verse 17. So, the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped to be a servant of God. Do you see this? What Paul is doing, he's looking at Timothy and going hey man, this thing that you have is incredible. It's incredible. And since it's so incredible, let's hear what James has to say about the Bible in James chapter one, since it's incredible. Listen to what James tells the persecuted church. James says, James one, verse 22. He says, Do not merely listen to the word. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in the mirror and after looking at themselves, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. Some of you. That's the goal, right? Amen? Verse 25. I'm just kidding.

Verse 25. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom and continues in it, not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it, they will be blessed in what they do. Now, put both of these together. And what's it saying? James is looking at us going, Hey, listen, I'm taking it a little bit farther and saying, yes, the word is important. Yes, the word is huge. But he says that, listen, the goal of the Bible is not to just have passive reading of the Bible. The goal of the Bible is an intensive process to which we do two things. We intently and we consistently look at the Word of God. Those two things are what every single serious Bible student should know. Our goal in the Bible is not to read the Bible for knowledge. Our goal in the Bible is to read the Bible intently and consistently so that the God of the universe can speak His plan into our lives. Now, that's where most sermons on the Bible end right there. But that isn’t where we're ending, though. All right? Not getting off that easy. Most sermons on the Bible will give something like Get into the word, you got to know the word, you got to saturate yourself in the word. And then what do we do? We give us a great story about somebody that did that, and God provided a miracle in their life. And then we had a huge invitation time. And we leave. Today, though, here's what I want to do. I want to finish the story, and I want to teach you how to walk in the word. How as an individual, you can you come to the word and be a better Bible student. Why? Because James says you'll be blessed for it and God will bless you for it. So here we go. I want to give you five steps this morning. Five on how you can move forward in the word. Now, these steps on their own are just so elementary. All right, but they can change your life. Here's number one. Love the Bible. Love the Bible. I wanted to say fall in love with the Bible, but you'll see it didn't work with the rest of my points. But you'll get it right. Love the Bible.

Now, notice I didn't say like the Bible. I didn't say tolerate the Bible. I didn't say kind of casually date the Bible every now and then or pull it out when life is falling apart. Love the Bible. Why? Because what is love? Love is an intense feeling by definition. Love is this intense feeling of deep affection. So, love is this idea that I'm drawn to you. I'm drawn to it. It is something that matters to me. And this is the first step is that we've got to start falling in love with the word. Do you realize that this document that you're holding in your hand, the one that you have at your house, it is worthy of your love? It is worthy of your love. I mean, just think about it. Let me just for a minute. It's 66 verses I mean, 66 books, 31,000 verses, 710,402 words written over a span, 1600 years of 40 authors on three continents and three languages, all from different walks of life. But catch this it all points to one redemption story. And this redemption story is a love story of God reaching down into the universe and delivering you into his promise. You know, there's only two acts in the Bible, right? There is the first coming of Jesus and the second coming of Jesus. That is all the Bible is, and it's His plan for your life. It's the most written about book in the world. It's the most bought book in the world. It's the most translated book in the world. It is worthy of our love. But here's the problem there's three basic views of the Bible. The first view of the Bible is it's just another book among many books and a lot of us. That's kind of how we grew up. There are stories in it, there's names, there's hard conversations. And this is why this kind of thinking of the Bible is just another book, is why that Barna says that only 19% of Americans actively engage the Bible, 19%. Why? Because many of us just think that it's just a book. Second category of people would say that, well, it's not just a book. It's an important book. I mean, it's got some truths in it. It's got some things in it that I should live. And it's got some good lessons and ideas. And after all Matt, it kind of helped found our country. Right? I should probably pay attention to this book. Well, that's a way to think about it. Did you know that 88% of households in America have a Bible in them? 88% of households in our country have a Bible. But listen, being pro Bible is way different than loving the Bible. Being pro Bible and owning a Bible is way different than studying the Bible. Bible ownership is really high in the US. Bible engagement is lower than ever.

Some people will say it's just a book. Some people say, Well, it's an important book, but here's where God wants our hearts. He wants us to see it as the book. As the book. Why? Because it's the only book that gives life and gives hope and gives mercy. And gives promise to eternal life. And here's the deal. Our love and our attitude towards the Bible shapes our pursuit of the Bible. Listen, if you have a Bible problem, that just means you have a love problem. That's what it means. If you struggle to read the Bible, that means that you're just not loving the Bible. And I'm not saying that to get on you. I'm just saying that to say that that we have to fall in love with this book. Real quickly, let me just talk about the Bible for a minute. Let me give you some just points about it that maybe can help turn your hearts a little bit. You do realize that the Bible is not only divine in origin, and we've already said that, but it's also unified that it is unified across the whole scripture. It is one thread of Jesus that is it and his love for you. It is inerrant. It doesn't make mistakes. It's not something that morphs with culture. It's not morphing with popular opinion. It doesn't change when people don't like it. It comforts us. It teaches us and engages us. It gives us the tools to flee from temptation. It communicates God's plans to us. It rebukes us. It leads us in righteousness. And lastly, listen, the Bible is holy. It is a holy book. What does that mean? That means that it is set apart. Set apart from all other books. It's it rises to the top. This is my second Timothy verse 15. Chapter three says This. Paul says, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which were able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ, Jesus.

So, look, If we really love this, what's not to love about the Bible? If we believe this, what's not to love about the Bible? Nothing comes close to the Bible. It is good for the past. It is good for the present. And according to Isaiah 40, it will be preserved forever. Listen to Isaiah 40:8. It says, the grass withers, the flowers fade, but the word of God will stand forever, forever. Let me just ask you a personal question. Do you love the Bible? Do you love the Bible? Well, Matt, I'm just not really sure. That's okay. That's a great has a great place to be. Here's what I want you to do. I want you to ask God to help you fall more in love with it. That's a prayer He'll always hear. Number one, read the Bible. I mean, number one, love the Bible. Number two, here it is. Read the Bible. I told you, these are profound points. All right. Read the Bible. Read it, read it. It's I mean, it's pretty simple. Why? I love how Mark Batterson says it. He says this. He says, When you open the Bible, God opens his mouth. Man, if that could just sink in, right? I can't tell you how many people come into our offices are like, man, I'm just struggling. I don't feel like I'm hearing from God. I don't feel like God has spoken to me. God has led me. And what if I just went, Well, what's the last thing you read in Scripture? Chances are they're like well, I don't really do that a lot.

Listen, the Bible is God's primary voice to mankind. We hold the keys to life in our hands. Here's our job. Our job is to discover it. To discover it. Matthew 4:4, Jesus says this, but he answered, Jesus said It is written that man should not live by bread alone, but every word that comes out of the mouth of the father. Now, let's talk about reading the Bible just for a minute, because I think I just feel like I need to do this. Let me give you a couple of things about reading the Bible. Number one, reading the Bible is not reading about the Bible. Does that make a little bit of sense? Here's what I mean by that. I'm not saying that devotionals and quiet time journals are not great. They are fabulous tools. I'm not saying Christian books are not great. They're fabulous tools. But what I'm saying is this they are not the Bible. They're not the Bible. And I know that's going to get a little pushback this week. And I get it. I'll go. We'll go. We'll have coffee over it. It's fine. Here's what I want to tell you. The word of God is the word of God. Everything else is somebody's opinion and somebody's scholarship on the word of God. Does that make sense? Read the Bible. Matt, are you telling me don't use quiet time journals? No, I'm not saying that. But never use them unless you're using the Bible or unless they're a supplement to the Bible. That's what I'm telling you.

But man, there's so much in the Bible. How do I know what to read in the Bible? Man, I'm glad you asked that. Here is how you can know that. Start in the Gospels. Read a chapter or read until something in your spirit goes, Man, I needed that. Or start in one of the small letters in the New Testament. One thing I read this week I love this I may start putting this into my life is read one of the small letters every single day for 30 days. Here's what the here's what the guy said about this what was really he said for the first five days, you're going to like it but not understand everything. For the next ten days, you're going to begin to understand almost everything. For the next five days, you're going to hate it because you have read it for 20 days before that. But by the 30th day, God will saturate your soul with the truths that's in that letter. I thought, You know what? He may be on to something. Here's another just kind of life hack. Get the YouVersion Bible app. It has hundreds of Bible reading plans that gives you a little checkboxes. If you're like me and you need checkboxes in your life to complete every day. Man, it feels so good to hit that complete button and see that checkbox. I know it's shallow, but I love it. I love it and it tells me what to read every single day. I don't to worry about it. Pick a book and walk through it. Read a little bit of the New Testament, read a little bit of the Old Testament, or how about this? At least every two, maybe three years. Read the whole Bible in a year. Read the whole Bible. I know some of you are like, Woohoo, that's a big book. Yes, it is. But do you know what a seventh grade reading level? You can read the Bible in 15 minutes a day in a year, 15 minutes. That's all it takes. And if it takes you longer, you don't read at seventh grade level. All right? Sorry. That wasn't part of the notes. There it is. But I just encourage you.

I would just encourage you to read the Bible. Just read it. This starts you on the process of Psalms 119, where it says, How can a young person stay on the path of purity? Live according to your word, I seek you with all my heart. Do not let me stray from your commands. I've hidden your word in my heart that I just my not sin against God. Man, love the word. It's profound. Read the word even more profound Here's number three, study the Bible. Study the Bible. Study the Bible. We hear this so much, but what does it look like? All right. I'm going to I'm going to take, like, 7 minutes and teach you how to stay the Bible. You ready? You better hold on. We got to go. All right. We got a vote at the end of this thing. Here it is. All right. I guarantee you the goal for the Bible is not just for you to read. It is for you to read it. In a way you understand it and you know what it says. Here's how you can do it. All right. Here's how you can go from that. The first question when you come to any text is to ask yourself the question, what does it say to the original audience? What does it say to the original audience? That is the first question you should ask every single day when you read a text, whether it's three verses, whether it's 50 verses, whatever you have, you need to ask yourself, what does it say to those people back then? What did the original author say to those people back then? You say Matt, that sounds like a crazy question, but I'm going to guarantee you this is a massive step because listen to me, the text can only say one thing. It can only say one thing.

The Bible will never change its meaning. Never. This is what gets us into so much messed up theology. That said, well, it meant this for back then, but not now. No. God's word is eternal. His truths are eternal. They never change. They're everlasting. So, your job as a Bible student is to ask yourself, what did it mean to them? Now, notice I didn't say anything about application yet. We're going to get to that. Just hold on. You've got to see what it is say to them. So, when you're in this mode, what you're doing is you're reading the text. You're reading the text; you're carefully looking at the text. You're gaining as much knowledge. You got to reread it. And possibly even a couple of times, if you're like me, I'm a little bit slow. Takes me a minute. You got to see the context that it's in. The time that it's in. Who's saying it. You've got to remember the significant words. You do realize half of my preaching is just talking about words that come out of the text. You've got to look at, is it past tense? Is it future tense? You've got to decide, is this a parable I'm looking at? It just has a point to it. Is this a narrative that's a long story? Is this poetry of the Psalm? Is this prophetic language or is this just a command from God? You've got to look at what's there and what's not there. You hear all these questions, right? This is what you do. And when you're reading the Bible, this is what God wants to do. And I get it, I get it, I get it. This is work. But you've got to see what did it mean to them first before you go anywhere.

I love how Luke points this out about the Berean. This is what they did. Look what they said. Act 17:11 says now the Berean Jews were more noble character than those in Thessalonica. For they received the message with great eagerness, and then they examined the scriptures to see, every day to see if what Paul said was true. Now that's bold right? To proof text Paul. I mean, look at him. Oscar Feucht said it like this. The difference of reading and studying is like the difference between drifting in a boat and rowing in a boat. Man, I love that. So, you got to see what does it mean to the original audience. That's your first question. Here's your second question. You've got to determine the difference. Number two, second question is determine the difference between the original audience and me. Determine what's the difference. I mean, it's a different language. If something different is going on, it's a different context. See, this is the river that kind of divides us and them, where we are now. You got to think about different cultures and different languages. Is it in the Old Testament? In the New Testament, is it prior to Christ coming? Is it when Christ was here? Is it the early church living out the principles of Christ? Remember, though, when you're looking at this, it can't mean for us, what it didn't mean for them. Never. They just can't do it. So, when you read the text, you're looking through the lens of the original audience and you're asking yourself, Man, what did they take away from this? What's the divide in me? And then what we're doing is we're going to pull it into our context. Here's a third question What is the theological principle of the text? What is the well, let's call it the Bible principle? Theological, such a big word, right? What is the Bible principle or theological principle of the text? I love this picture because what are we doing? We're bringing it from their side onto our side. We're bringing it into today's world. Now, this point we're moving. Catch this from what did it say to what does it mean. You've got to.

You got to know what it says before you know what it means. We jump so fast into application and meaning that we have to determine what it says first. We just have to do it. Listen, this can be the hardest step. I get it because our job is not to create meaning. And I know this seems super intimidating, but I promise you when you approach scripture, God wants you to understand it. The Holy Spirit will guide you. He will put things in your mind you've never even thought about. So, let me give you some helps on this principle, thinking you almost hear me every week say Here's the principle, right? This is all I do. Every week I preach. Let me give you a couple things that can help you or principles. You can ask yourself, is there a promise that I need to claim? Is there a promise I need to claim in this? Is there a lesson that I need to learn? Is there a blessing that I need to enjoy? Is there a command that I'm reading that I need to obey? Is there a sin in here that I need to avoid? Or is there a thought in here that God is pressing me into? That's what a principle is. A principle is a timeless statement. Timeless statement that we carry over to us. Here's the next question you got to ask yourself. Once you figure out the principle, you've got to ask what is the principle or how does the principle fit with the rest of the Bible? How does it fit? That's they "you are here" sign. I know it's kind of small, but that's what it says, right? How does that fit when you're looking at the Bible as a whole, you get to see how does this principle that I just came up with fit the rest of scripture? Now, this is important. This keeps you from pulling verses out of context and stamping those verses on your life. You ever had that one friend that didn't know any of the Bible except for that one verse, and they used it all the time. Usually this is people that like to smoke dope, right? Well, God grew it, it's okay, right? But this is what it means.

You can't pull a verse out without the context of the rest of the Bible. You can't. This keeps me from pulling statements out of context. What does the New Testament say about the Old Testament principle? What does the Old Testament say about the character of God as a whole? What did the Bible author's other Bible authors say about this principle that I'm finding right here? What did Jesus teach about this principle? If I'm reading from Paul. Or Paul's teaching something, I'm going, Okay, well, what did Jesus teach? What did Paul teach? How can I fit this together? Now, I'm not saying you got to know every word of scripture. Nobody does that. But you're thinking through the lens of How does this fit in all the Bible? If you come to a hard text, we don't got time for this, we're going to do it. Somebody's going to ask me if you come to a hard text that you just can't understand, and there's two meanings in your mind. Always take the one that is most prevalent through the rest of the Bible that clarifies it. Always interpret the hard verses through the easy verses, not the easy verses through the hard verses. But here's why this is so important, so many of us come to the Bible and what do we do? We did that little flip thing where we just go, God, I just need you to speak. I need you to show me your will for my life today. God, I'm struggling to show it to me. And what do we do? Open our Bible. We put our finger on the table. You're like, God, show me. That's dangerous. Why? Because Matthew Chapter 27 verse 6 says this. So, Judas threw the money into the temple and left. What if this was you? God, show me your will. And then he went away, and he hanged himself. You pull that one out of context, and I'm going to put my suit on. Right. That's the importance of knowing the principle, fitting the rest of the Bible. Examine it through it. So, what are we doing? We're loving the word, reading the word, we're studying the word, or determining the original audience. We're carrying that over to us. And here's number four profound apply the Bible. Apply the Bible. Now notice that apply the Bible only comes after knowing what the Bible says, only comes after knowing what the Bible is saying to them. Only comes after I'm putting a principle in place. I mean, what does this mean? It means we start with what does it say? We move to what does it mean?

And last, we're asking ourselves how do I respond? How do I respond? How do I live it out? Listen, this is so easy if you've put the work in on the front side of How do I respond? And it keeps us from doing crazy stuff that God never wants us to do. Here's the deal. There can only be one meaning, but there can be many applications. Let me flesh that out for just a second, not for long. Here's what I would say about this. It can never mean to us, what it didn't mean to them. But obviously there's new applications. If God in his sovereignty would have put something about Internet explicit content in the Bible, those people would have been like, What are you talking about? But for us, when we read flee from sexual immorality, we're bringing that principle over into our world and here's how we live it out. Hey, maybe I need a filter on my Internet. See what I'm saying? So, one meaning. Since the beginning of time, God has called us to flee from sexual immorality. But it's only in the last couple of years that we now have the Internet all up in our business. It can be many applications. Here's the question I want to ask you this. Here's the picture. How should Christians live out this principle? What have we done? We've brought it from old school. We've crossed over with a principle. We've seen how it fits the rest of the Bible. And now we're putting it into our life. There's only one meaning, very few principles, but many applications. So, find the principle. Then just ask God, how do you want me to live it? How do you want me to walk it? I love what Francis Chan says about this. He says this. I quote, He says, Don't fall into the trap of studying the Bible without doing what it says. I mean, after all, James 1:22 that we just pointed out says, do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves, but do what it says. It's easy. It's easy if we know the process.

Søren Kierkegaard says it like this. He says the Bible is very easy to understand, but we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. Now that's rough, right? We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well the minute we understand it, we are obligated to act accordingly. Shew man, I don't know about you, but I have not read the Bible at times in my life because I was just afraid what God was going to tell me. You see, our relationship with Jesus is an active faith and it's moving forward. Let's go through our steps. We love the Bible. We read the Bible. We study the Bible. We apply the Bible.

Here's number five. Share the Bible. Share the Bible. You say Matt, that one doesn't go with the rest of them. Oh, it does. You know why? Do you know how you know if you really have a grasp on something? It's if you can tell it to someone else. Can I tell you the number one thing that spurs my faith in my study of the Bible on is the fact that I have to stand up here for 40 minutes every single Sunday and teach you the truth of the word. You say Matt, I don't have anybody I'm teaching. Pretty sure that's our role as a believer is to share with others what God is teaching us. Share it. Matt, I'm just no good at sharing it. You'll get better, I promise. Just keep doing it. Matt, I don't know what to say. Yeah, you do. You just came up with the principles and the application, in the text. Listen, reading, understand, interpreting, and living the Bible is not a difficult task to do, but man, it's hard to live. I'm just encouraging you this week to walk out the word, to walk it out. I love that you're here and keep coming. I wouldn't have a job if you were here. Right? I love that you're around other believers. I love that you're receiving from other people. But do on your own. I guarantee you, here's what can happen. If this church can grasp this concept and get into the word like this, God will change this community. Why? James has already told us; we will be blessed.

Lord Jesus, God, I know that today is not an emotional walk out of here sermon, but God today has the chance to change eternity. Because if a couple of thousand people can fall in love with your word, can read your word intently and consistently, can study your word, apply your word, and share your word. I'm pretty sure revival is about to happen. Lord, move in our hearts this week. Listen, with your heads bowed and just in a quiet moment today, I just want to say this, maybe the Lord has been calling you today to give your heart to him. Let me say to you this. He loves you. He wants a relationship. He wants to walk with you. Today, you can respond during our invitation if that's you today, by just walking up to the front right-hand corner of either one of our rooms and just looking at whoever's there and say, Hey, listen, I need Jesus today, to come into my life. We'll walk with you what that process looks like. Love to do that. If you're online, you can click the next steps form. Somebody will reach back out to you. But then there's others of us that know the Lord, that love the Lord, want to walk with the Lord. And we're members of this church. And today, as a symbol of our worship during the invitation song, this is what we're going to ask you to do. It's going to be a little crazy. That's okay. We're going to ask you during the invitation as a symbol of your saying yes to the Lord, and your being a part of this church, we want to ask you to cast your ballot. Every individual cast a ballot. But as a family, just mark one time we're going to ask you how you're going to support this building program. Here's my prayer today. Extreme unity, an extreme movement of the Lord. Lord, as soon as I say Amen, I'm just praying, God, just for you to move in hearts. God, I'm praying right now that even people that haven't really thought through this would just in faith, say yes to you and what it looks like for them to come behind this church Jesus. As we cast our ballots today, Jesus, we're saying that we are yours. It's in your name we pray.


Follow Along with the Message

Reading and Understanding the Bible

August 21, 2022

2 Timothy 3:14–17
14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
James 1:22–25
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it —not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it —they will be blessed in what they do.

5 Steps to Moving Forward in the Bible

1. the Bible.

2 Timothy 3:15
…and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
Isaiah 40:8
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.

2. the Bible.

“When you open your Bible, God opens His mouth.”
— Mark Batterson

Matthew 4:4
But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Psalm 119:9–11
9 How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. 10 I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. 11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

3. the Bible.

QUESTION: What does it say to the audience?

Acts 17:11
Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

“The difference in reading and studying is like the difference between drifting in a boat and rowing in a boat.”
— Oscar Feucht

QUESTION: What is the difference between the original audience and ?

QUESTION: What is the theological in the text?

QUESTION: How does the principle fit with the of the Bible?

Matthew 27:5
So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.

4. the Bible.

QUESTION: How should Christians today this principle?

“Don't fall into the trap of studying the Bible without doing what it says.”
— Francis Chan

James 1:22
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

“The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly.”
— Søren Kierkegaard

5. the Bible.

Joshua 1:7–11
7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” 10 So Joshua ordered the officers of the people: 11 “Go through the camp and tell the people, ‘Get your provisions ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you for your own.’”

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