According to the Barna Group in 2021
Percentage of Bible Reading Adults in America
11% Read the Bible daily
23% Read it 1-6 times a week
8% Once a Month
29% 1-3/4 times a year
29% 0 times per year
58% 0-4 times per year
In 2020 25% of Americans claimed to be a practicing christians, meaning the identify as Christian, prioritize their faith, and attend church regularly
So, 25% claim to be practicing christians, but only 11% read their bible daily...
I’m not going to survey the church this morning, but I would be curious as to where we would fit into those categories?
This morning we are going to talk about the discipline of Study.
Study is more than simply reading scripture, but that is always a good starting point for studying.
Richard Foster describes study in this way...
“Study is a specific kind of experience in which through careful attention to reality the mind is enabled to move in a certain direction. Remember, the mind will always take on an order conforming to the order upon which it concentrates.
Perhaps we observe a tree or read a book. We see it, feel it, understand it, draw conclusions from it. And as we do, our thought processes take on an order conforming to the order in the tree or book.
When this is done with concentration, perception, and repetition, ingrained habits of thought are formed.” - Richard Foster
To summarize: study is concentrating, perceiving, and understanding something in a way that leads to further growth and a conforming of the mind.
So, as we discuss study this morning, lets remember that it is more than simply reading, but of course, begins there.
Study in reference to the Word of God has always been more than a simply reading of the Word.
In fact, most of Jewish history, knowing the Word was generally an oral tradition.
The early jews only had the law and then eventually the prophets.
It wasn’t until the Council of Carthage in AD 397 that the Bible as we know it was finalized…really Ad 393 at the council of Hippo but was affirmed during the council of Carthage
This only to say how we have studied scripture over the years has changed....
18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates,
Knowing the Word was a command of God...
Notice that simple reading the Word (law at this time) was only the tip of the iceberg...
The command from God was to fix them in our hearts..
Tie them around our hands and foreheads..
Talk about it always and write it on doorframes and gates
God spoke this importance to Joshua
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.
The writer of psalm 119 understood the importance of this
11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
The writer of Hebrews shares the importance of the Word
12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
And, Paul’s instructions to Timothy and the church in Thessalonica
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.
13 And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.
So, we read, study, understand the word, and it gets inside of us!
Let’s talk about how to study....Foster gives 4 steps of studying
repetition, repetition, repetition..
Physiologically, our brains were created to remember things in repetition.
The more that we repeat something, the more likely we are to remember it, and thus, learn from it
Anyone struggle with concentrating on something?
I have already lost some of you all with this message and you may not be concentrating anymore...
In order to study and to really learn something, you have to be able to concentrate on it
Find a place to study that is conducive to allowing you to concentrate
If we do not comprehend what we are reading, obviously we will not learn what we need to
Find a translation of the Bible that is easier for you to understand
Make sure to take the time to reflect on what you just comprehended...
Asking questions is a great way to accomplish this.
What does this mean for me?
How does this relate to what I already know?
How can I apply this to my life?
What areas of this would I like to study further?
So, knowing the 4 tips on study, let’s talk about some good ways to study
Take a retreat....get away from the house
Read the Bible in large portions
Read full books of the Bible at a time
Do this multiple times
Read Classics - how many have you heard of?
The Confessions of St. Augustine
The Imitation of Christ by Thoma a Kempis
The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
The Little Flowers of St. Francis by Brother Ugolino
Pensees of Blaise Pascal
Tabel Talks of Martin Luther
Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin
The Journal of George Fox
The Journal of John Wesley
A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life by William Law
A Testament of Devotion by Tomas Kelly
The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis
What does the Bible say about…?
a bonus for original langues
Finally, I would like to give you some resources this morning
Lexham Bible Dictionary
Layman’s Bible Dictionary
AMG Concise Bible Dictionary
Lexicon - like a dictionary for original languages
Lexham Research Lexicon
Concordance - lists words and all passages associated with that word
Strong’s - most popular
Commentary - notes on a book, passage, or verse
Blue Letter Bible - app
biblegateway.com - app
biblestudytools.com - app
The Bible Project - app
You Version Bible
e-Sword - free with some pay for items - app
Logos - can be expensive - best out there