Life is full of problems. God provides solutions. But, we need to apply them to our lives.
I am starting a new Bible study, looking for ways to apply the Bible to my life to make me more like Jesus, to see any problems that come up in life through Jesus’ eyes. I am starting with Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John because these were written by those who knew Jesus best, those who walked with Jesus. Other parts of the Bible can better be understood once we truly understand God’s heart as portrayed by God in flesh: Jesus.
Each day I will list the Chapter I am reading, and read the chapter (or part of the chapter) as though Jesus was sitting next to me, explaining to me how He wants me to apply these words. I will read slowly, listening to Jesus speak as I read. If I find my mind wandering, I will remember that Jesus is sitting next to me, speaking these words to me, and go back if I missed something He said. I will only read as much as I can process. The idea is not to read a whole chapter if I have enough to think about in part of the chapter. I want to make this Bible study useful, not get through it quickly. I am in no hurry. I want to spend time with God, not get Him done with for the day. So, no matter how much time I spend, I want it to be quality time more than quantity time. I’d rather spend 5 minutes and listen, than 10 hours of my mind wandering, remembering none of it. My goal and my prayer is to become more like Christ would have me to be every day through His Word.
Jesus promises believers that they will have the Holy Spirit inside them to guide them. But, to use His guidance appropriately, we need to know our Bibles or we will likely be hearing our own advice and desires rather than those of the Holy Spirit.
So, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I will read the chapter of the day (or part of one if time does not allow a full chapter), and write down either a summary of what the verses say, or copy a specific verse. Note that copying a verse can help you memorize it.
I am using biblegateway.com so I can have 3 versions side by side. This time I am going to use the NIV (New International Version) next to the EXB (Expanded Bible, so I can pick up on some things I might not otherwise think about, and the WEB (World English Bible). I will quote from the World English Bible because the purpose of its creation is to be copyright free. But, it is still in draft form, so having it alongside the other versions will help me be sure I am not quoting a verse that does not match the meaning of the other 2 versions. For private use, you can use whatever version you want. Since I plan on sharing this, I want to do it legally.
Prayerfully, I will quote whatever scripture or summarize a group of scriptures, then list how they can be used to help me with my life. I plan to do mine on my computer, as I am not fond of paper, putting a page break after each Chapter. I can then also make each chapter a Heading by clicking on the style, and add Sub-Headings of categories of help, such as Marriage, Shyness, or whatever other category I might choose as a help topic for myself.
The same Bible verses can have many, many different applications to life, so what I write today as how a verse can be applied may be totally different than what I write tomorrow, or what another might find on how to apply it to their life. We just have to be careful that as we write these applications that we do not take verses out of context of the entire Bible, nor out of context for which it is written.
Pray with me each day before we begin: “Lord, thank You for the precious gift of Your Word in the Bible, given to us as a gift to help us with our lives. Lord, please guide me as we read together. Please stop me when my desires overshadow Your real meaning from the scriptures. Help me to see You, to know You, and to become more like You each day. Help me to take each verse in the context of the whole Bible, not to pick out verses and make them mean what I want them to mean. Show me Your true heart, and reveal to me mine that I may work to see and eliminate sin in my life, to repent, as the Bible calls it, and to turn to You. I understand in making myself more like You that I am not You, I will not ever be good enough that I don’t need You to save me from my sins. I realize that You gave us the incredible gift of salvation, something that is truly a gift that we will never earn. Help me to see that my turning from sin is also a gift, that comes with other blessings, the greatest being closeness to You. Guide me each day, Lord. In Jesus. Amen.”
Oh, and one more thing. I think I am going to try to re-read what I wrote each day either later that day or the following day so I can hold onto it better. So many great lessons learned are so quickly forgotten.
So, let’s get going with Matthew
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