This book describes many methods or techniques of studying the Bible. However, there are keys or conditions that must be met before anyone an understand the Bible. The best methods and techniques, the best education, sacrificing hours every day in Bible study, memorizing every verse will not take you very far if you don’t have the keys to understanding the word of God. These keys open the door for understanding. They are conditions that must be met before you can get much out of the bible.
1) Complete Surrender & Obedience.
We must completely surrender our will to God and obey God’s Word as soon as we understand what he is saying. You must be ready to obey God quickly, cheerfully, and completely when you find out what he is telling you.
Dr. R. A. Torrey said something about the importance of surrendering one’s will to God that I should read
“A surrendered will gives that clearness of spiritual vision necessary to understand God’s Word. Many of the difficulties and obscurities of the Bible rise simply because the will of the student is not surrendered to the will of the author of the Book. It is remarkable how clear, simple, and beautiful passages that once puzzled us become when we are brought to that place where we say to God, ‘I surrender my will unconditionally to Yours. I have no will but Yours. Teach me Your will. A surrendered will does more to make the Bible an open book than a university education. It is simply impossible to get the largest profit out of your Bible study until you surrender your will to God. You must be very definite about this. Many will say, ‘Oh, yes, my will is surrendered to God,’ but it is not. They have never gone alone with God and said intelligently and definitely to Him, ‘O God, I here and now give myself up to You, for you to command me, lead me, shape me, send me, and do with me absolutely as you will.’ Such act is a wonderful key to unlock the treasure house of God’s Word. The Bible becomes a new Book when a man surrenders to God. Doing that brought a complete transformation in my own theology, life, and ministry”
Dr. Torrey wrote those words about 100 years ago, but it is still very true today. Without a surrendered will, it is almost useless to study the Bible. Right along with surrendering our will to God comes the necessity that we must be willing to obey God quickly, completely, and cheerfully in everything we learn from the Bible in order to get a much fuller understanding of God’s word. Here is what Samuel says
“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” 1 Sam. 15:22
Many of us sacrifice many hours to study the Bible, but we don’t obey in the little that we already know. But God is telling us that obeying in the little we already know is more important than sacrificing time to study more. When we study the Bible, we are going to God’s word so that God can speak to us a revelation from his word that is meant for us. Do we think that if we aren’t doing enough to obey God in what we do know is his will that God should burden us with more revelation that will require obedience?
The apostle John teaches that “the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit–just as it has taught you, remain in him.” 1 John 2:27 NIV
Am I suggesting that you should not study the Bible? NO! But as you study, note that the many tools that you will use or the many hours you will put into it will contribute little to your spiritual life. The thing that you can do that will help your spiritual life a million times more than any Bible study or sermon that you will ever hear is to determine to surrender yourself 100% to the will of God and to the leading of the Holy Spirit. I mean surrender yourself to the point where you will be willing to lose the most important thing you have to obey God. To the point where you would be willing to quit your job to go to Iran or Saudi Arabia and die there preaching if that was what the Holy Spirit told you and do this genuinely. Surrender to the point where you would leave your little children and wife behind and go to obey God on a journey that you know before hand that you will die and not return. I’m not trying to be extreme. We are called to be slaves to righteousness. We are Jesus’ slaves and should be willing to obey him as soon as we know what we need to obey. When you have that kind of determination and honesty with God, it won’t take you much Bible study at all before you become transformed into a living, walking, breathing Bible (epistle) for others to read as God uses you to do his purpose. But we are ever learning and never changing because we are not surrendered to the Holy Spirit who will not force us to obey.
Today, there are Christians in underground churches in China who risk their lives to be Christians. They could be killed for going to church. These underground churches exist in some Muslim countries as well. In his book, Transformation, Pastor Bob Roberts Jr., a mega church pastor in Dallas, Texas (USA), describes his face to face experience with underground church in China. He said they “spiritually they blew me away”. Their theology may be a little bit fuzzy and many of them don’t have the whole Bible. A lot only have either an entire book or a few passages (not even up to one letter of the New Testament!). Pastor Roberts was amazed that “They know God at a depth I never had or knew anyone else who had”. When they go to church, they are risking their lives because they can be caught, thrown in jail, and even tortured and killed. But they do it. And their churches are growing rapidly and spreading. Pastor Roberts writes “No one is getting rich and no one is fighting for control or position. If there is a favorite position, it is the privilege of being the first to die.” Note, Pastor Roberts has an earned doctorate degree (PhD) from a reputable U.S seminary. I recommend reading pastor Roberts book. These believers are living the kind of lives that we see in the Book of acts. Where uneducated fishermen are apostles doing great things for God. In Christ, you only begin to live your life fully as a Christian when you have lost your life. When you are truly willing to die for Christ, then you begin to live by the spirit.
2) Dependence on the Holy Spirit & Prayer
We must depend on the Holy Spirit and prayerfully study God’s word. To depend on the Holy Spirit, we must be born again and have him living in us. But to have him living in us is not sufficient, we must depend on him and pray.
3) Love of God’s Word & Teachability
We must love God’s Word and be teachable. God’s word is our food. It is written that “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God”. We live on every word that comes from God’s mouth and is written in the Scriptures. That’s our food. We must have an avaricious appetite for God’s word and be able to say like Job “I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.” Job 23:12 NASB. Jeremiah spoke the same way when he said “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, Lord God Almighty.” Jeremiah 15:16 NIV. If you are a Christian, you bear God’s name. You need to eat his Word. That kind of appetite will birth in us an insatiable desire to study God’s word and to obey it quickly, cheerfully, and completely. The scriptures say God loves a cheerful giver. But it’s not only giving that God loves cheerfulness, he loves his children to obey him cheerfully in everything. In addition to a love for God’s word, we must have a childlike mind and recognize our ignorance before God and be ready for him to teach us. With that spirit, we will let the Bible speak for itself and will not want to manipulate it or have it say what we want it to say. God’s wisdom is greater than ours as the heavens are higher than the earth.
4) Reverence and Treasuring God’s Word
We must reverence the Word of God. We have to treat it as the Word of God and not as the Word of man.
The scriptures say that God’s name is glorified higher than the heavens. But in Psalm 138:2 NKJV he says about God that “You have magnified Your word above all Your name.” God’s word should hold an important position in our lives, a position of reverence.
We must seek God’s word with all our power with all our being and with all our mind. That’s the fruit of loving God.
In Proverbs 2:1-5 NKJV the Bible says
“My son, if you receive my words,
And treasure my commands within you,
2 So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding;
3 Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
And lift up your voice for understanding,
4 If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
5 Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,
And find the knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;
7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright”
Cry out and lift up your voice are words that signify praying and crying out to God. Seeking her as silver and searching for her as for hidden treasure means to work hard. Silver refers to money because money made of silver coins. So you have to work hard as you work hard for money and search as you would search for a hidden treasure.
“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.” Proverbs 25:2. We must be search to find the gold in the scriptures.