by Dr. Foster H. Shannon
“This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it, for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success.” (Joshua 1:8)
In order for us to enjoy a good life, God has given us the 66 books of the Bible. It was written by prophets appointed by God, who spoke and gave us the written word that we might have life and wisdom. Their contemporaries recognized that what they spoke and wrote was authentic; that it came from God; that these were not ordinary writings.
The Bible is a gift of God that we might know him, believe in him, and find the best of life in him. It is important that we become students and readers of the Bible, because in it we find the teachings that are vital to our lives. The study of the Bible is to be at the center of our lives. We live in times when regular Bible study is not easy. There are many things to do—and many things to distract us: TV, telephone, becoming engrossed in fixing little things, etc. It is easy to procrastinate and to postpone the study of scripture. Our understanding of our Savior’s will for us and his eternal purposes is vital. Bible study is important to our prayer lives, for as we bring our requests to God it is important that we be listening to God. He speaks to us, teaches us, and corrects us as we read the scriptures.
The apostle Paul encourages us to be like a craftsman that has mastered his trade:
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” (II Timothy 2:13)
The first Psalm reminds us that the word of God is to be in our hearts:
“Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers; but their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night.” (Psalm 1:1-3)
This means that we must set a time of the day when we read and study the scriptures. We also need a fallback time—so when there is an unavoidable interruption, we know the alternate time when we will return to the scriptures.
If you are relatively new in Bible reading, remember that the Bible is composed of sixty-six books; 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament. It is difficult to swallow the entire Bible in one bite! Think of studying a book at a time. Begin with Matthew and John; then Romans and Ephesians. In the Old Testament read Genesis, Exodus, the Psalms, Isaiah. Continue in both Testaments until you have read all 66 books, and then read and re-read.
The rewards of Bible study are great. Jesus emphasized the priority that the kingdom of God is to have in our lives:
“seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things shall be yours as well.” (Matthew 6:33)
“Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in him, If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:31,32)
God is good!
Foster H. Shannon, Brief Biographical Note
Dr. Foster Shannon received his degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science, and went on to obtain a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary, with emphasis on church growth.
The Interim Pastor of True Light Presbyterian Church in Alhambra, CA until recently, he is the author of seven books and a Sunday School curriculum. As the President of Green Leaf Press, a non-profit Christian publishing company, established in 1981, he publishes and markets Christian books with special emphasis on Bible Study, Church Growth, and Christian Evidences. The website is: www.gogreenleaf.com. He enjoys riding his bicycle and swimming weekly. He likes both classical and popular music. He roots for the CAL Bears and the Chicago Cubs.
‘LIKE’ our FACEBOOK PAGE!