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Studying the Scriptures, Part 1

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Notes on a sermon on how to study the scriptures, and the attitude we must take when reading the Word of God.

The value of observation.

2 Timothy 2:15
"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." NIV

Study: the diligent pursuit of knowledge of a certain subject.

1 Peter 3:15-16
"But in your hearts set apart 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. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander."

God's Word, the Bible, is our moral compass, to give direction and meaning in life. It is the answer to the meaning of life.

Ecclesiastes 12:9-14
9 Not only was the Teacher wise, but also he imparted knowledge to the people. He pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs. 10 The Teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true.

 11 The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails—given by one Shepherd. 12 Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them.
      Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.

 13 Now all has been heard;
       here is the conclusion of the matter:
       Fear God and keep his commandments,
       for this is the whole duty of man.

 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
       including every hidden thing,
       whether it is good or evil.

Psalms 119 is about the benefits of studying and following God's edicts.

excerpt, verses 33-40:

33 Teach me, O LORD, to follow your decrees;
       then I will keep them to the end.

 34 Give me understanding, and I will keep your law
       and obey it with all my heart.

 35 Direct me in the path of your commands,
       for there I find delight.

 36 Turn my heart toward your statutes
       and not toward selfish gain.

 37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
       preserve my life according to your word. [b]

 38 Fulfill your promise to your servant,
       so that you may be feared.

 39 Take away the disgrace I dread,
       for your laws are good.

 40 How I long for your precepts!
       Preserve my life in your righteousness.

Is it enough to be a "good" Bible student?

Sherlock Holmes once said, "You see, but you do not observe..."

There are driving tests that challenge you on your power of observation of road signs, and the test will start out by asking, how good are your powers of observation?

Just as Jesus said in Matthew 13:16 " But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear."

The prophet Elisha's servant had such an experience in 2 Kings 6:15-18.
15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. "Oh, my lord, what shall we do?" the servant asked.

 16 "Don't be afraid," the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them."

 17 And Elisha prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so he may see." Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

 18 As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, "Strike these people with blindness." So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked.

While we may not see something as dramatic as the LORD's army, we can gain insight and understanding from the scriptures in the same way. By praying and asking God for the ability to be enlightened by his Word.

James 1:5-8
5 "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does."

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