By Keith Leroy Brooks
BIBLE RULES for BIBLE STUDY
The Bible is God's Love Letter to every Christian. It is therefore the Christian's business to "search out" its teachings, or to put it even more literally "Ransack the Scriptures." (Acts 17:11; Jn. 5:39.) As we would study every word and meditate upon every paragraph of a love letter from one near to our hearts, that we might gather every expression of love and every thought for our good, so we should "explore" the Word of God that we may grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, our Divine Lover. Yet the Bible is a great feast into which thousands never venture for themselves.
Too many people want their Bible study in capsules, sugared to taste and made to slip down easily, requiring no chewing. No Christian can be what God wants him to be on capsule food.
The Bible is the most inspiring and fascinating book in all the world if you go at it with the help of the Holy Spirit. You can bring it down to every experience of life, and you ought to bring your experiences up to it. The Book you will want for your pillow when you are dying, as Joseph Cook has said, is the Book you ought to study while you are living.
I offer here some general rules for Bible study, grouped under the letters "s-e-a-r-c-h."
SYSTEMATICALLY — 2 Tim. 2:15, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed; rightly dividing the Word of Truth." A mechanic would be a failure if not familiar with his tools. A Christian, not familiar with the Word of God, is a wall-flower in the church.
Systematic study is the great need. The grasshopper method of Bible study (jumping here and there) gets nowhere. Were you studying for a professional career, you would not open your book today at Chapter 6 and read a bit; tomorrow hastily read a few paragraphs of the first chapter and next read the index. You would read systematically and seriously to get the author's thought. Be just as intelligent in reading the Bible.
EARNESTLY — Psa. 119:18, "Open mine eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of thy Law." You could not get the most from an art gallery without one to lead and explain. Much of interest would be missed by traveling alone. The Bible is a picture gallery of vast extent. To enjoy it and find its richest treasures a guide is needed to enlighten our understanding.
Jno. 16:14 says, "The Holy Spirit shall glorify me, for He shall take of the things of mine and show it unto you." Let the Spirit of God reveal. Take the things hard to understand to Him, and on bended knee, with Bible open before you, see what He will give you. If the heart is honest in the prayer, and you are willing to walk in the light as He reveals it, marvelous things will break in upon your soul.
ANXIOUSLY — Psa. 119:27, "Make me to understand the way of thy precepts, so SHALL I TALK OF THY WONDROUS WORKS." If you are a Christian, you are going to meet the assaults of the devil's agents who seek to undermine the faith. The Word of God is the weapon that puts the enemy to silence. If Jesus used it (Matt. 4) and defeated Satan in His face to face encounter, how much more should we use it in dealing with his agents.
The Bible does not need our defense. It needs our study. It will defend itself. It is its own commentary. Seek the answers to all difficulties not from human reasonings, but anxiously from God's Word. It is not what men think but what God's Word says that counts.
REGULARLY — Psa. 1:2, 3, "His delight is in the law of the Lord and in His law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by rivers of water that bringeth forth his fruit in his season. His leaf also shall not wither and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." The man who DAILY meditates on the Word bears the fruit of patience in the time of suffering; faith in the season of trial; a holy joy in seasons of prosperity he is never void of fruit.
What he does prospers. There is a blessing concealed in every cross, loss or sorrow that comes his way and he never fails to find it. He is an evergreen tree. The sign of spiritual life is always with him.
You don't try to eat enough on Monday morning to last you for the week. If you did, you would be in a most sickly condition at the end of the week. Those who get mixed up in the prevalent false doctrines, are those who get sickly from irregular feeding on the Word. Be regular. Put it first on your program. Let nothing interfere.
CAREFULLY — 2 Tim. 3:16, 17, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." Then do not be skimming over passages in it that do not at first glance seem to yield food for thought. It is not a question of how many times you have been through the Bible, but how many times the Bible has been through you. If you are looking for chestnuts, and the leaves upon the ground seem to conceal them, you will take a stick and poke over and over again in the same spot. You are surprised that you find so many of the brown nuts in the spots where you had at first thought there were none. Likewise you will be amazed at what one seemingly unimportant verse will yield when you crack it open.
HUMBLY — Jno. 7:17, "If any man will do His will he shall know of the teaching." Unless we study the Bible wholly purposed to yield our lives to the truth God reveals, His revelations will cease and the Book will become dry. It does not do to evade the truth that God shows us. God cannot give His treasures to disobedient hearts.