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Sunday, October 08, 2006

When to Study the Bible

Some preachers will compare spiritual disciplines to physical exercise. There are plenty of Biblical precedents for this. 1 Corinthians ch.9 v.24-27, Hebrews ch.12 v.1 and 2 Timothy ch.2 v.4 immediately spring to mind.

But the analogy runs deeper. An athlete has trained his body to be able to perform at the appropriate level of fitness when needed. When we are tested, that is when we see whether we are spiritually flabby or fit.

Just as an athlete needs to consider carefully their diet and exercise regime. So with us. A varied devotional diet - not just reading testimonies and the regulation skimming of two or three chapters on the annual Bible reading plan. When do you schedule Biblical meditation? When do you meet with others to study? When do you prepare for these studies? Is there a place for praying through the scriptures - using them in worship. Be creative! God created you in His image, so mirror that creativity in your study.

Are you a morning person? Give that time to God, He deserves the best. Are you a night owl? Praise Him then - just don't wake the neighbours! Don't force yourself to be what you're not. If you're sharp just before lunch - study then. If reading a Christian book is likely to lull you off to sleep after a good meal, then that wouldn't be an ideal time.

How do the seasons affect you? Will you have more quality time at one time of the year due to work schedules? Consider these things. But be creative. Listen to tapes or mp3 files while travelling.

Deuteronomy ch.6 v.9 has an important principle here - not to follow a legalistic example of binding scripture verses around yourself. But to have them inscribed on the insides of your hands and head, guiding your actions, marking the boundaries of your home so that people see a difference and not just a written word.

That's why the Good Lord commanded His people to talk about His words - so they would become part and parcel of their lifestyle, something that would define His people, that others would know His presence through interacting with a community whose lives were shaped by His words.

He promised blessing then to people who kept His Covenant. A solemn, bining agreement that was fulfilled by Jesus Christ. We are therefore heirs of His blessings, but that does not relieve u of the responsibility of thse guiding principles - to let the Word shape our internal life so that our exterior is similarly transformed.


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