Twelve outlines on how and why to study the Bible

Dear Discoverers.

Here are the promised outlines for twelve studies covering twelve weeks of learning how to study the word of God. These notes are what those who are the leaders of each group have in hand. They may be too difficult to give to the would be students. They would need a much simplified version.

You will notice that these studies can be done with only very few tools: Dedicated Leaders, Eager Students, a Bible each and pen and  notebook. It may be hard to find a study plan with fewer needed items. But it is all that is needed to get a basic pattern of how to handle the Word of God established in the minds of both leaders and the people of the congregation. I emphasize again: God has given us five senses, learning and remembering increases the more senses we use to understand the eternal truths. The majority of the churches rely on one sense only: hearing.

You will note also that there is no specific Denominational bias or Church politic required. All can do this whatever their background. The one requirement that is absolutely central is faith in that God has spoken truth in written form. And that all ”would be believers” will submit to God and God’s word wherever they are in the world.

The sessions may take different length of time, and most likely some of the sessions need to be spread over several occasions. It seems important that regularity and consistency is expected from those who partake. If they cannot committ to the full twelve weeks then the learning experience will be lessened and can even leave unwanted results. They who have learned and  know a little may think they know all and become easy prey to pride and the snares of the devil. 1 Cor 10:12 ” Therefore let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall.”

Needless to say all  would be leaders must first have gone through the sessions themselves before they attempt to lead others. Ideally I would come and gather potential leaders for a week or two to do the groundwork. But my presence is not strictly necessary. But that is what I hope to become clear about by sending these outlines to you. For you to attempt to do them and give me feedback by mail or messenger so that we can modify and adjust the outlines before you start up the Bible Discovery Fellowships in your areas and churches.

I commit the work of my heart and hand to you in the firm hope of having obeyed the prompting of the Holy Spirit on your behalf.

February the 1st 2020

Teddy Donobauer

(Rev) Bjorn G A Donobauer
Doncaster UK



Outline 1 The Physical Bible

Outline 2 The Personal Preparation

Outline 3 ”The Word and the Spirit”

Outline 4  ”This is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.”

Outline 5  ” I am the first and the last”

Outline 6  ”Our daily bread give us today”

Outline 7  ” Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith”

Outline 8  ”For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”

Outline 9  ”How blessed are those ..who walk in the law of the LORD”

Outline 10 ”They came to a place called Gethsemane”

Outline 11 ”In the beginning was the Word. Behold the Lamb.”

Outline 12 ”Put on therefore the whole armour of God. And take the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God”

I warmly recommend that all the twelve sessions be done during the time of study. However you may not want to do them in just this order. And while I claim no authority for either the order or the completeness of this selection of studies I do feel that that these are foundations enough for a life of fellowship with the Lord through the means of the Word written and The Work of the Spirit.

Outline 1  The Physical Bible

”Biblia” is a word from the latin language meaning simply: ”books”. It is about the library of 66 books that are contained in the Bible. In Ecclesiastes ch 12:9-14 we are told that the world is full of written books. And that much learning makes the head tired. So in the world of millions of books this One book stands out and we are told that it is the word of God. How can we know that? And what does it mean?

You may hear a certain protest: ”Just because the Bible claims to be the Word of God that does not prove that it is so.” Sometimes we are told that a circular proof like that is no proof at all. There is a point in what is said. Unless the Bible can be shown to give a true picture of that of which it speaks and that it produces what it promises, it ought to be viewed with respectful doubt. That is why the Scripture is adamant that it is not the hearers of the word that are approved, but the doers. We verify the Word by obedience to it. We cannot preach the love of God if we sever ties to other believers and break sunder the Unity of the Spirit on account of minor disagreements. We fail the test of truth.

Ultimately you only believe what you actually show in life.

445 times the phrase: ”the word of the Lord came to..” occurs in the Bible (NASB version)
535 times the phrase: ”thus says the Lord” occurs.. just to mention a few insights.
7 times in Matthew Mark and Luke Christ ask the question: ”Have you not read?”

”Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not.” Matthew 24:35
All human words will fade into insignificance but the Bible claims to contain eternal words. Printed on paper, which is destructible, the pages  still bear the eternal incorruptible word of God.

51 times in both testaments the phrase  ”as it is written” occurs. We ignore the word of God at our eternal peril and lose all hope of enjoying what God has prepared for them that love him while we live here. (read 1 Corinthians 2:6-13)

”Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” John 20:30-32

An important decision must be made by the student:  what is it I am studying?

The answer is that I come to what claims to have been spoken by God and written down for our instruction.

Learning the structure of this library is the first step. 39 books comprise the Old Testament, 27 the New Testament. The Old testament books were all written before the Birth, Life and Death of the Lord Jesus Christ. At the end of the last book of OT followed 400 years of silence. Then God spoke again by His Son, who is the Word of God. The first four books of the New Testament describe His life and ministry and teaching until the time when He left the World and replaced himself with the Holy Spirit of God. The first five books of the Old comprise the Law of God and called the”Torah” i Hebrew, it means just ”law”.

The Old Testament is divided into three major parts: Law, Prophets and Writings.  The New Testament has also three major parts: Gospels, Acts of Christ in and through the Apostles and Letters to the Churches.

The two collections also tell the story of two Covenants. The former and the later, the first and the last. We call them ”Old and New” but that is misleading, ”first and last covenant” is closer to the truth. Each Covenant is made between God and man. In the Old/First testament between the God of the Universe, Yahweh and the people of Abraham. The Last/New Covenant is between God Yahweh, ”the God who saves” ”Yehoshua”, and all mankind. The Old Covenant does not finish in the Old Testament but first when the new Covenant is made through the blood of Christ in the end of the Gospels.

The Covenant overlaps the Testaments.

The gospel of the Kingdom to come is the summary of the gospel narratives. The gospels are the transition from the former covenant regulations and conditions to the new covenant. In the gospel the coming King declares the good news of a government of God by the Holy Spirit through his Covenant people. For the king did not come into his kingdom before the cross but as the result of His victory over the enemy. His resurrection is the beginning of His reign. ”All authority is given unto me.” Matt 28:16-20  But not until death and the devil have been conquered at the cross.

It is of paramount importance to see the whole structure of the Bible before engaging in the study of it.

The first session should lead to an exercise in finding your way around the Bible. Learn the place for the various books. The group leader will call out the name of a book and you find it, identify it where it belongs and begin to memorize in which part of the bible the various books belong. As you call them out and find them then write in your notebook their names and  where they belong.

The second way of getting this survey, or bird’s eye view into memory, is to name the writers of books and let the students find them and place them in the right part and in the right order in the Bible.

In the first week of home work the learning of the basic outline of the physical bible is the task. 
The second session begins with the rehearsal and testing of the student’s understandning of the Bible.

Outline 2  The Personal preparation

Most other books only require ability to read and understand the language. The Bible puts a different demand on the reader. Although the Bible in many ways is a book like any other it is different in one very important aspect. It is a book that asks the reader certain questions which need an answer and awareness for the student.

”And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. ” Hebrews 11:6

Coming to the Bible then, is to approach God. You enter into the presence of God when you open it. This presence is ready to apply to your life all that whereof it speaks. It is like a mirror into which you look with awe and trepidation because you will meet yourself on every page. You do not need to know the Bible to become a Christian. But everything needed to understand what that means is written in it.

This mirror is a three-way one. It shows us things darkly, it reflects the glory of Christ and it exhorts us to examing ourselves.

”For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. ” 1 Cor 13:12

”But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. ” 2 Cor 3:8

But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror;  for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.” James 1:22-24

Notice: at first we all see and understand dimly. The confusion in the beginning of any learning process only clears as you continue on. What appears as behind a darkened glass at first only becomes brigher by keeping up the good work and continue to pursue the truth. It is not possible to catch fire flies and turn them into a lamp for your life. If you start out before sunrise, the road will be very hard to follow, but as you walk the increasing light will make the path clearer as you go along.

From Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way.

Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.
I have sworn and I will confirm it, that I will keep Your righteous ordinances.”
Psa 119:104f

Perserverance pays over time. In the beginning it often seems to be tedious work. But those who dig for gold must sift tonnes of silt to find the nuggets. And the word of God is more precious than silver or gold. But sometimes as hard to find. But when the great treasure has been found then any man or woman will sell all they have to get that ’pearl’ of wisdom and insight.

Notice too the needed attitude: ” And without faith it is impossible … ”. Reading the word of God must begin in the heart of man. It is not merely an intellectual excercise. It is a call to the spirit in man to meet the Spirit of God by means of the very words of God. ”God is Spirit  and they that worship Him must worship in Spirit and truth.” John 4:21-24  Bible study becomes a bore when there is no core of seeking God. Study of it may satisfy curiosity, respond well to amassing knowledge, but primarily it has a far more important aim: to call us into the light of the Glory of God and become aquainted with Him. Faith in him leads to trust in him, by the words available in the Bible. When approached in that manner the Word of the Spirit becomes flesh in the man. We become witnesses.

Notice thirdly that if what you read in the word is left without a response from us then it is like a fleeting view of ourselves in a mirror which is immediately forgotten. Retarded spiritual development is caused by seeing and not doing anything about what we have seen. So true bible study is standing before the make-up mirror of God, discovering the truth about ourselves and dealing with it as the Word of God says. Sobering to read Hebrews 4:2 ” For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard it.”

Coming to the bible with no respect for the true author of it, i e the Holy Spirit, is the root cause of the Bible being largely ignored by the professing christians. To have the gift of discernment means to know the difference between that which is Holy and that which is profane. By comparison to the Bible all other writings are dust and ashes. It is not called ”The Holy Bible” without good reason.

Notice fourthly: we study the Word in His presence in order to become like him. Bible study gets under the skin and a process starts that changes us from being people in our own image to become  men and women like Him! As we see what we are without Him we may long to become what we are not in our own selves. But it is a design of God that we should become like His son.
”See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” 1 John 3:1-3

Excercise. ”Examine yourselves wether you are in the faith.” The class of students in the Bible Discovery Fellowship read and discuss the meaning of Pauls second letter to the Corinthians and chapter 13:3-6
How do we know that we are believers? What does it mean to be a Christian? The answer ought to land in John 1:12-13 sooner or later. This moment bin the bible study as to how to study the Bible is  very very important. Because only the spirit reveals things to the spirit, never to the flesh only.

The word of God is for the children of God. It says many things to all men, and what they are told by it is designed to lead them to God. But it speaks many more volumes to those who have become the children. They learn to love the Word of the Father, they love the WORD himself, the Son, and therefore the Words of truth, and the Spirit who oversaw the production and preservation, because He is the truth and speaks it. He who never learns to love the Word does not love God.

Outline 3 ”The Word and the Spirit”

One great difference between the Bible and all other books is the fact that this book can and must be read together with the true author of the books.  In short: as you sit down to study it you may invite the Spirit of god to be along side you. 40 different secretaries or writers have produced the 66 books of this divine library. Their individuality, their culture, their social outlook and their tasks in life all contribute to their style and purpose of writing. But the master mind behind all their work is that of God by the Word ad the Spirit.

So, never forget this: Not a single line would have been written unless the writers had been prompted by the Holy Spirit. The written words of the prophets came about by the Spirit of Christ in them. The words written by Paul claim revelation and direct command to write by Christ himself.
The book of the Apocalypse is commanded into writing by the One who is the Word. The Psalms are inspired by the Holy Spirit. God told Jeremiah to write. John wrote words of such importance that they are life and death matter.

This means that the Spirit of God works together with the written word. Not outside it, not above it, nor beneath it. You must see this: bible study cannot be done without the same Spirit guiding us as the One who inspired it in the first place. The Spirit will not contradict Himself in the application of the written Word.
”All scripture is inspired/God-breathed and useful/profitable for teaching, for reproof, ffor correction, for training in righteousness that the man/human of God may be adequate/suited for every God-given task and equipped for every good work.”” Tim 3:16-17

The sufficiency of the word for all of life is here clearly expressed.This word is also unchanging. It has been given once and for all. We are encouraged to maintain it, protect it and fight for it. God Self stands behind his Word and he is not able to lie.

”Beloved, while I was making every effort to write to you about our common salvation, I felt it necessary to appeal to you that you content earnestly for the Faith which was once and for all delivered to the Saints.” Jude v3

Notice first: there is one universal and common salvation for all men. No other salvation exists apart from Christ Jesus. Acts 4:12  Irrespective of nationality, race or cultural background, or indeed in which time that man lives, there is one common salvation for all.

Notice second: There is a constant threat against that simplicity of one salvation for all. Read 2 Tim ch 3:1-15  People who dislike the Gospel of the Kingdom will add or subtract, reduce or enhance what is written. They will look for teachers who pander to their fleshly lusts and philosphical heresies. They will not be able to take the truth. They will hold their ears shut against the Word of God. Or chose teachers that suit their carnal nature. I know, said Paul, that as soon as I leave you fierce wolves will ravage the  flock, yes, even some of your own number will arise and speak perverse things in order to bring about a split, drawing the disciples away and thereby tearing the flock apart.” Acts 20:29-30

Bible study has always two solid elements: the written Word and the Holy Spirit’s application. This corresponds to the two biblical words ”logos”and ”rhema”. The rhema is never other than the logos, but the individually applied Logos.

What does the Bible say about how the Spirit and the word operate alongside?

You will now do a study together where you compare two different passages with one another in the light of that question. What are we told that both the Word and the Spirit work out in our lives?

John 3:8          cp        1 Pet 1:23        The Spiritual Birth

1 Pet 1:2          cp        John 17.17      Sanctification

Acts 15:8-9     cp        John 15:3        purifying from sin

Matt 12:28      cp        Matt 8:16        driving out demons

John 6:63        cp        Phil 2:16,        Life itself

1 John 3:24     cp        Titus 1:9          Understanding

2 Thess 2:8      cp        John 12:28      Judgment

John 14:17      cp        John 15:4-7     Indwelling us.

Comparing scripture with scripture is one fail safe way of preventing the use of fragments to your own danger or destruction. Twisting scripture is best done when you ignore most or all of what the Scriptures say on a certain issue or topic. And all twisting of truth becomes a lie over time.

The study of the Bible must be done with reverence for the Holy Spirit who caused it to be written in the first place. The authors did not write loose thoughts, they wrote whole and complete thoughts. Chapters and verses are later inventions to aid us who do not know the original text. The divisions as such are NOT part of the work of the Spirit. But moving one verse or part of one verse out of its place is always the beginning of misunderstanding and leads easily to partiality, theological strife and heresy. Avoid it. Matt 4:7 ”The devil said: It is written… But Jesus said;”On the other hand it is written..” Read the whole before you enter the part. No biblical writer wrote little notelets which were later loosely thrown together. The Scripture is one whole inspite of being in 66 ”sections”, and is a cohesive body of truth. As Jesus is the First and the last so the books of the Bible correspond to how He embraces all human history and all salvation history from Genesis to Revelation.

”But know this first of all, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation. For no prophecy (words of God through his chosen speakers) was ever made by an  actof human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” 2 Pet 1:20-21

Exercise: Read the whole Letter of Paul to the Colossians before the next session. Use pen and paper and write down everything Paul wrote about Jesus in that letter. As you write down what you see, thank God for such a Saviour.

Outline four: ”This is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.” John 17:3

The biblical narrative is absolutely full of people. The stories of many men and women are told showing all their glory and often all their shame. The honesty of the scriptures in describing men and women as they are is one of the marks of truth. Sometimes you look into an unbearable mirror of human frailty and cannot but recognize yourself. How these people live and die is painstakingly shown on page after page. Studying the lives of ordinary men and women is a very rewarding work.  As it is we may wonder why so many stories are told? The answer is a remarkable one: ”Now these things happened as an example for us, that we should not crave evil things as they did.” And again: ”Now these things happened them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” 1 Corinthians 10:6,11

But the central figure in the bible is also the main theme of the entire Bible: Jesus Christ, The Anointed One of God, His existence and His work, His divinity and his true humanity.

Here are His own words telling us  what to look for when we study the word of God. We are invited to find Him who is the Word of God. ”Oh foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken. Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory? And beginning with Moses (the Torah, the five books of Moses) he explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the scriptures.” Luk 24:25-27

Having a bible for yourself is a wonderful thing. But it is not for decoration, not for appearing to be a more spiritual person, not for any kind of ’show’ that we have one. The sole purpose is to know Him, and knowing Him to share Him with the world. Loving Jesus is not an optional thing. It is a vital core in the reason for reading the Word. It is about the Word and his words are Spirit and life. If we want to know Him then we have no other business than to pursue Him through the pages of the Bible. According to Himself every thing about Him is available in the written word. It must not stay there. I must be received and allowed to mellow our hearts ad sharpen our minds. One old trusty saying abot the Bible is ”Either the Bible will keep your from Sin or Sin will keep you from the Bible.” Looking to Jesus Christ is the only way to be on the safe side. And even then it will be a struggle. Hebrews  12:1-3

Notice first: ”The words of the Prophets”  The new testament is  the fulfillment of everything that was forth- and foretold by the Old. They spoke of Him before they knew Him. We speak of Him because we know Him. There are at least 44 prophesies in the Old Testament that are fulfilled in the new, often designated by the phrase:”This happened in order to fulfill that which was spoken by the prophet.” 13 times in Matthew, 6 times in Luke, 7 times in John and so on. There must never be any shadow of a doubt that the whole Bible is God’s word to all mankind at all times. Nothing in the New makes much sense until you see how it relates to the Old. The Old declares, the New explains.

”God, after He spoke long ago to the Fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom He also made the World. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the Word of His power.” Heb 1:1-3

Christ is the key to the entire Scripture. It is about Him and how He is the means of salvation, the story of  how God reconciled the world to Himself. It shows how Christ became Flesh in order to turn that which is in the form of sinful flesh back to God and how to deliver mankind from Death and destruction to life and resurrection glory.

Knowing Him is what the Christian Life is about. As He took on human form through Mary he is now looking for a new humanity to clothe Himself in. And those ’clothes’ are you and I. The result is called ”my body” that is a holy people, a nation of priests and a royal family. 1 Pet 2:4-12
Bible study with Christ as the key leads us to Him and when He is lifted up, He will draw all men to Himself. The Christian Life is the Life of Christ in and through us.

Notice second: If we love Him we read and study because as our understanding of Him grows, so does our love for Him and for His people. We do not read  the bible  only as a handbook of correct beliefs or proper doctrines or right moral thinking. We learn from Him who is meek and lowly and who asks us to take His yoke on our shoulders and bear a burden with Him. We read to know that we are a part of a great throng of believers from ages past. We are a continuation of those who went before. We follow Him through our time as thousands have before us and many more will after us.

Those who claim to love Jesus but have no interest in the Word of God are not to be trusted. The primary work of the Holy Spirit is to pour out the Love of God in our hearts. Rom 5:10. A love for the Lord Himself and love for His people.

Take a look at the story in Acts 8:26-39 together at the end of this session.

The Ethiopian man was travelling and reading the scrolls of Isaiah. Did he undestand what he read? No, how could he unless someone guided him? Philip the deacon joined him on his chariot. Seeing what the text was Philip explained what in Isaiah was said about the Christ. ”Philip opened his mouth and from this scripture he preached Jesus to him.”

That is Bible study proper my friend. From ignorance to saving insight.

Exercise:  A Treasure hunt in Matthew: all passages pointing back to the Old testament and fulfilling prophecies from the former covenant. Divide the BDF group  into two or more groups and share Matthews 28 chapters into same number of groups and read together and note the fulfilled prophecies.

Outline 5: ” I am the first and the Last”

There is nothing haphazard about the order of the books in the Bible . Genesis is the beginning and Revelation (of the future ending of all things) is the last. These two books embrace the entire spiritual history of mankind and everything that has its beginning at the outset is finished and has come to it’s full realisation in the book of the Revelations of Jesus to John. This is not surprising because Jesus Christ himself is the first and the last himself. And the ”Biblia” reflect Him also in this. First: a beginning, Last: an end.

Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me ” Isaiah 44:6
When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, 
 and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.” Rev 1:16-18

The Bible is not a chronicle of human history, it is the story of humanity’s spiritual history. There are many many questions that are interesting and which will appear when you study it, but it is the answers it gives that give us most of the problems we have. Because it shows our spiritual decline and falling away from the plumbline as it were, missing as a whole the mark of God and always ready to make our own selves the goals of our endeavour. Idolatry is constantly shown as being man’s own alternative religion, to that relationship with a God who is  is both  holy and wholly other than we are. God is not one of us, but Jesus became on of us in order to make us like Himself in both a human and a divine fashion. And therefore why we ought to pursue that holiness without which no man can see God. Heb 12:14

”Be ye holy for I am Holy, says the LORD God.” Lev 19:2
Now may our God and Father Himself and Jesus our Lord direct our way to you; and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you; so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints. 2 Thess 3:11-13

Studying the Bible is then a matter of studying the larger picture from beginning to end before getting lost in the details between the Alfa and Omega, are the First letter and the Last in the Greek alfabeth, the equivalent in Hebrew is Alef and Tau. (Meaning ”servant” and ”cross”) It is a good backbone for the believer to have understood the entire salvation history right through the Bible. In order to get a clear view of that history you will read Genesis and Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges and 1 and 2 Samuel and Nehemiah and Esra, Matthew and John and Acts and Revelation. Taking note of the major events as you go along.

Exercise: Study the first and the last book of the Bible.

Note how that which begins in Genesis has it’s ending and finality in Revelation.

When you have found a pair speaking of the same thing as from the beginning unto the end you have the beginnings of a number of red threads which then can be pursued through the whole bible.

One example: One man alone, Adam Genesis 2:15-18   becomes a great throng of people from every tribe and tonge and nation of the world. Rev 7:9

Another: The Curse over the earth because of sin: Gen 3:17 The end of it: Rev 22:3

One last: Mankind thrown out of the Garden, the gates closed for ever. Gen 3:22-24  But glory to God, the New Jerusalem, the city of the great God has twelves gates that are never shut again.  Rev 21:10-27

You have many many hours of delightful discoveries ahead of you.

Outline 6: ”Our daily bread give us today”

Studying the Word of God can become a delightful habit, but also a chafing burden if done out of nothing but a sense of duty. Plenty of staements in the scriptures themselves indicate consistence in both the daily food for the body as well as the word of God for the inner man.

By know you will know what is called ”The Lord’s prayer”. In it we are taught to ask for and thank God for the means to survive by having food on the table every day. The daily bread idea goes back to the days when workers received their wage at the end of the workday. That is why the literal rendering of the phrase is: ”Give us this day the bread for the coming day”. The meaning is that you went and bought food for the next day with the wages from today’s work.  See Job 7:1-2 for an insight into the day labourer’s life.

The spiritual man is also depending on spiritual bread for his survival. And we are taught that going without daily bread is possible for many days on end.  Soin Matthew 4 Jesus is lead into the dessert to be tested by Satan. Being hungry Satan casts serious doubt on what God had said at Jesu baptism in the end of the previous chapter.  ”This is my Son in whom I am well pleased”  But Satan who always refuses to accept God’s words says: ”Are you the son of God? Pah! Well then how can you be hungry and still claim to be a child of God?” ”Jesus answered: It is written: man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God.” Matt 4:4

To a believer then, the bread of heaven is more important than the daily bread for the stomach. The body can survive deliberate fasting or unwilling deprivation of food for a long time. The heart of man cannot be without the living word of God for any length of time without consequences for his spiritual life.

”He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.” John 6:54
This brings us to the personal and daily feeding on the word for our own sake. It is illustrated well by the narrative and instructions given in the book of Exodus 16  and the explanation given by our Saviour in John chapter 6.

Have the group open these two passages so that they can read from the texts along side each other.
Read and compare what the two passages say.

Who sent the manna?
Where did it come from?
How often was it available?
What was it’s ’best before date’?
What happened to yesterday’s manna?
How did it meet the needs of the slow and the fast?
Why was it delivered in double portion on the day before the sabbath?
What sort of food could you make with it?
How long did it feed the people?

What was it like?

It was a symbol of one to come.

Take note especially: ”Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction.” Exodus 16:4
Compare that to what is written in the New Testament:
Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.” Col 2:6

From that information you will see that God has provided food for us in the same way he provided for all of Israel for forty years. But some requirements must be met. You must want to gather it. It must be collected before the heat of the day. It must be gathered daily, but as provision will be made doubly one day, you bring what you have left over that day into the day of holy assembly, the sabbath of rest when no new food is given but the congregation came together. ”What then brethren, when you come together each one of you has something to bring.” 1 Cor 14:26

A daily reading plan of the bible is a start. But merely reading is not enough. All Bible Societies will be ready to share a good plan with those who ask. But the individual must have the instruments to eat the bread. It will not fly into your mouth of it’s own accord.  How do you feed on the ordinary food? One mouthful at the time. Chewing it well, mixing it with the enzymes in the saliva to start digesting it. That corresponds to the receiving with prayer and faith. You cannot feed strong meat to milk teeth. The food must be suitable for the level of maturity. Feeding meat to a babe will only make the babe sick and cause it to refuse further spoonfuls. On the other hand, feeding milk to one with strong teeth will starve him.

What is strong food? What is milk? Who is suited for which? Study 1 Corinthians 3:1-23 and Hebrews 5:1-14  in preparation for the next session.

Exercise: plan your own personal feeding in the word of God. Make a plan and submit it to the group next meeting.  Compare and adjust and learn from one another. And remember that no plans are better than those you actually start doing. It is by doing that we see if the ideas we have are useful and practical.

begin by reading one book of the Bible at the time. Read it many times over, so start with a short book. Then begin by taking a shorter section at a time. Ask questions to both the writer and the author.

Use pen and paper and note what is said, note the commands and the illuminations. What are you taught about God, about salvation, about sin and about life in the fellowship? And then: apply to your self. We read the Word of God to be read by the Word of God. Remember the mirrors?

”Oh God as I come to your word teach me about myself and Yourself, as I see myself I also see how far I am off the mark, and I ask that you make me like yourself.”

Outline 7  ”Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” Heb 12:1

We are encouraged to ’look’ to Jesus. To learn from Him. To see who He is, and what His work and life means for us. Seeing Him we also see the Father who sent him. So behind the person of Christ stands the God and Father of mankind. He is the true representatuon of the invisble God whonlives in a light none of us can access. But Jesus steps out of that blinding light and shows us the Father.
I remind you that knowing him is not just a possibility but the very requirement for eternal life. John 17:3

It is a most profitable way of studying the Scriptures to do so by studying characters in it. The lives of people are held up for us as examples and as warnings. Their life story contains all the various elements that we may encouter in our lives. Just as He in all things was tempted and tested like we are, so we may anticipate seeing our own lives reflected in the lives of the saints and sinners from the pages of the scriptures. They met life as it is, and they responded to it as they could either from a standpoint of obedience to the Lord or from deliberate deviation from and defiance of the Lord.
Incidentally and in passing: ”theology” (from theos=God and logos=words) is the word of God translated into the real lives of men and women. ”The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”John 1:14

The lessons learned from the pages of Scripture will be both sweet and bitter. No man will take Cain or Esau or Achan or Absalom or Ahab as his idol or role model. Neither will he take the friends of Job at face value in all their advice to Job. (God expressly states that they had not spoken the truth about God.) (Job 42:8) 

The New Testament begins with the family tree of Jesus. Every name on that tree of ancestors contains a story that is told in the Old Testament books. Go to that first chapter of Matthew and invest time in studying every life  story referred to. Begin with Adam.  Follow Adam through the entire Bible. Take note of how Adam is set alongside Jesus.  What the first Adam caused the last Adam came to repair. You cannot fully understand Adam without Jesus Christ and the same the other way round.

Gen 2, 3, 4, 5  Job 31:33  Rom 5:14  1 Cor 15:22-45  Titus 2:13-14

In Hebrews chapter 13:7 we are told to study those who have been our teachers and leaders. Especially we should note their ’outcome’, it is: their end. How they lived and how they died. It is instruction for us to look at them. Hebr 11:13  says that ’all these died in the faith”. All their life stories belong to us who live by faith now. ”All these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect.” Heb 11:39-40  Imagine  Abraham, Moses, David and all the giants of faith waiting for your faithful life in order for them to be completed! They were waiting for us and still are. We study their lives to share in the common faith.

”Faith comes  from hearing, and hearing from the word of Christ” Rom 10:17

In the gospel narratives several important people are referred to by the Rabbi Jesus. He speaks of Solomon and Jonah, he mentions Abraham, Isak, Jacob, Moses and David and more. Obviously an understanding of these peoples and their lives are important for a serious student of the Word of God. Over time you will come to know them and see them as your family too.

  • The person study begins by finding out all about their background. Their origins and family information.
  •  Then you look for the way God calls them or involves them in His business.
  • Then you ask questions about how and by what means they responded to the voice of God.
  • You want to know how they responded to other people and how they handled setbacks and victories. Their sins and virtues may be found.
  • And then you summarize the way they lived and died.
  • And lastly you study if and how they are portrayed in all parts of the Bible.
  • Then: decide for yourself how to relate to that person.

If the Holy Spirit has seen to it that he or she is in the word, then for one reason or another they are an important part of the whole.

Exercise: Chose one of the Sons of Jacob and study his life. Or chose one of the Disciples. Or chose a central character like John the Baptist or Timothy. Prepare a short presentation to the group for next session. ” I would like to introduce …. to you”

Outline 8. ” For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luk 19:11

The bible  is not written as one would write a treatise of philosophy or theology. The need to organize and sort through the many things it says comes to us as a search for order in a very complex set of writings. The way this is done varies but all begin with searching the whole scriptures in what is best described as a ’topical’ manner. The phrase from Luke’s gospel gives four of the most important.

God’s son came to seek

God’s son came to save

God’s son came to the lost

These four simple words become very heavy theological concepts once the theological experts get going on them.  God’s son becomes the doctrine of the ”Incarnation and the deity and humanity of Christ”. To seek becomes ”God’s redemption plan”, To save becomes the doctrine of ”the Atonement”, lost becomes ”the doctrine of sin and depravity of man”.

But before any person can make a theory of how these things may be understood,  everybody can and must dig out all the relevant places and statements made about these four things. (In a while you will come to realize that even when all this topical material has been collected, several different ”theologies” can and have resulted from the same basic material.) So you do a study from Genesis to Revelation about each of these words. Call them key words if you like because they are a key to understanding the core of ”the whole counsel/purpose of God”. Acts 20:26-27. For most of us this is best done with the help of a Concordance where the individual words are listed  where they occur in every book of the Bible.  Another way of expressing this important necessity is to remind ourselves of the word of Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20 ”…Teaching them to observe ”all ’ that I have commanded yo; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

But for those who have no access to such works by other patient and gifted scholars there remains only one course of action. Read the whole Bible and make notes as you go along and sort out the use of these ideas in the whole Scriptures. (After all that is how those who produced the Concordance did it in the first place.)  When after some time you have a whole notebook full of ”Sin” then you have the basics for a broad understanding of what the Holy Spirit thinks of it and how it is viewed by the various writers. Always recall the truth of Psalm 119:160 The sum of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting. ”

Your final view of ”sin” will not be based on one or two proof texts,  but be a summary and inclusion of all the ideas shown forth by the many passages where sin is clearly mentioned. As you read and take note you will grow in understanding, it is a life-long treasure hunt. ”We all see in part” but when I share my understanding with you and you share your understanding with me, then both of us see more that either on their own. That is what is meant by ’fellowship in the Word.” Bible study is a lifelong quest to become fully mature in thinking and understanding.

 ”For we know in part and we prophesy in part;  but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.” 1 Cor 13:9-11
Notice the idea of growing from a childish one sided view to a broader and fuller maturer understanding.

It will not be long before you notice that none of these key words are standing alone. They are always linked with one or the other in this list of four, plus many others not here mentioned. The truth of God is not found in isolated snippets of bible text but in the wide spectrum of the whole. The whole determines the meaning of the part. And scripture explains scripture. The difficult is understood by the plain.

And a very important aspect is found in the idea of more than one witness. ”This is the third time I am coming to you. Every fact is to be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses.  2 Cor 13:1  The first occurrence of this demand for two or three witnesses is from Deuteronomy 19:15 ”“A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed.” The same applies to life and death matters, to criticism of the elders in the Church and of the relationship between the believers in the Church.

Truth is found in good company, lies dislike company and often stand on their own.

Exercise: Open the gospel of St John and read through it looking for every place where Jesus uses the phrase: ”I am”.  Compare your findings with what God said to Moses in Exodus 3:14 and Exodus  6:4

Remember: ”I am the first and the last”?

Outline 9: ”How blessed are those who .. walk in the law of the Lord.”

A most common bible study approach is the study of a chapter at a time.  The bible has 1189 chapters, each one is worth a good time spent on it. 929 are in the Old testament and 260 in the new. The middle chapter of the Bible is the 29th in the book of Job. The entire chapter is about a man who looks back on his life and takes stock of himself as he was before. But his story does not end there.

The various books of the bible have very different content and to some extent what we expect from a chapter, or as the case is with the Psalms, The Proverbs, Song of Solomon, Lamentations which all are structured along lines of poetry, must be aligned with the form of writing. Many think that poetry is less factual than prose, but the form allows for facts to be presented in a different way.

One of the Psalms will do well as an illustration of how to study a chapter in that collection of 150 songs. The psalms were the hymnbook of the congregation of Israel for many decades. The psalms are as inspired by the Spirit as everything else in the Bible.

The heading of this session is from Psalm 119. We have already referred to the 160th verse in our previous session on the mode of topical study. ”The Sum of thy word is truth.”
The poetic form most loved by the Hebrews was that of saying the same thing in different ways and using different synonyms, words of similar meaning in parallell lines. Therefore there are many seeming repetitions.The psalm 119 is all about our relationship to the Word of God. In our bibles it is divided into the same number of sections as there are letters in the hebrew Alfabeth. (It affords us a simple way of learning the hebrew alfabeth should we so desire.) Each letter starts a section, and every section has 8 verses. Every verse in the section begins with the same letter in the original hebrew.The chapter study is made easier because of these ready made sections. Reading and listening to them one by one and making notes as to the main thought in each section quickly gives you a survey of the Psalm and it’s content. The entire psalm is in praise of the ”Name” i e God himself, and especially of the law of God. 176 verses dedicated to the Law of the Lord, making this the longest chapter in the Tanach as the Hebrew Bible is called.

Each section will then give you a few thoughts or sentences that speak of some aspect of the law of the Lord. Remember that Jesus in the New Testament says that ’Heaven and Earth may pass away, but my words will not.” Matt 24:35 A topical study on the word ’the law’ will give you a very good understanding of what is meant by ”the law” in the former and the later Covenant.

Your notes on this Psalm will summarize the main thought in each section something like this:

Psa 119 1-8 Letter Alef  Joy comes to those who hold fast the commandments of God.That person will be firm in step and have sincere praise for God on their lips.

9-16 Letter Beith 
Purity of heart and purpose in life comes with a constant repetition of the words of God with my lips. The word in me prevents me from sin against you, Oh God.

17-24 Letter Gimel  The purpose of life is to live true to the word whatever anyone else does to me. I am a pilgrim on earth, depending on the guidance of your wondrous teaching.

25-32 Letter Daleth  The frailty of life is such that only your ways are good ways down here in the dust from which we are and to which we will return. I chose to be faithful, I cling to your words for Life.

33-40 Letter He  Teach me your ways, let me be delivered from falsehood, broaden my understanding to a wholehearted comittment to you and your word.

And so on until 169-176 Letter Tau  ”I have strayed like a lost sheep, search for your servant for I have not neglected your commandments.”

As you increase in your understanding of the Word of God your notes will become longer and deeper. The Spirit will guide you as you go through the written words with the Spirit at work in you to make the words come alive. You are from the beginning making what you read your own by thanksgiving and praise. You let the words look into your soul and the word that shows you your true self will also bring you to confess what you have been amiss in. And the same word will forgive and heal.

Depending on the chosen chapter there will be more or less content in your notes. But because you recall that ”all scripture is inspired and God-given”, you will not reject anything even if some things may not be useful for you today.  As you come back to  the text in later years you will see it in a different light and you will build on to what you saw the first time.

Exercise: Look up Jeremiah 45. It is only five verses long but it tells a long story in few words. Why was Baruch downcast and complaining? What is he hoping for from God? What does God promise him? What is the outlook for the whole world according to this passage? What will shake and who does the shaking? What is upsetting us here and what will give peace?

Outline 10: ”They came to a place called Gethsemane”

With few exceptions everything that happened in the entire history of the Bible happened in geographical places. Most of them are even to day clearly indentified. God made promises about this specific land to Abraham and history is today fulfilling prophecies made about the land, it’s people and even some places like Jerusalem.

The map and land of Israel is not only firmly rooted in physical reality, it is also a kind of ”spiritual geography”. To get to know the map is a way of making your bible reading more meaningful because you can walk alongside the acting persons in the narrative you read.  The salvation story is told in hill and valley, in river and desert, mountain and city testify to the spiritual journey of Gods people.

Come to Bethlehem
Let me illustrate: You have all probably heard of Bethlehem. The name is a combination of two hebrew words: ”beith” meaning house and ”lechem” meaning bread. Lechem means both the grain from which bread is made and the bread resulting from the needed work of milling and sifting etc. The word comes from another root word ”lacham” which means to feed, to nourish.

So we have a town in Judea, south-west of Jerusalem called the ”house of bread”. Significant events have happened there. Events that are absolutely central for the whole of both Israel and for the church of Jesus Christ. 

It is sometimes called Ephratha or Ephrath as in Gen 48:7, Psa 132:6, Micah 5:2
It is called Bethlehem of Juda, Judges 17:7-9 19:1 Ruth 1:1  1 Sam 17:12

The beloved wife of Jacob, who by then was known as Israel, was called Rachel and she gave birth to the last of Jacobs twelve sons: Benjamin. Rachel died at the birth of her second son and with her dying breath called him ”Benoni”, which means son of sorrow and was buried at Bethlehem. Gen 35:16-22 To this day the place is pointed out to visitors. Rachels dying gasps and lament is echoed in Bethlehem as the King Herod had all male children killed after the visit of the Magi to him telling of the birth of the new King of Judah i e Jesus Christ.

Matthew brings Rachel together with the lament of Jeremiah over the people of Judah in ch 2:17-18. You see how the Genesis story is used by the prophet  Jeremiah thousand years after her death and again  another 600 years later by Matthew as the mother’s of Bethlehem wailed at the slaughter of their children.

Genesis, Jeremiah and Matthew are linked around the death of children at Bethlehem. Everything in the books of the Bible is connected.

Rachels first son was Joseph. The very one who was sold by his brothers into midianite captivity. Gen 37 . But what they planned for his evil God turned into good.
God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt.” Gen 45:7-8   See also Gen 50:20

From the line of Judah came the carpenter Joseph, husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus of Nazareth. Matthew 1:1-17 And he was of the Judean city of Bethlehem where he had to go to be in the right place for the census ordered by Caesar Augustus and therefore the Bread of Heaven, who is Jesus Christ, was born in the city of David.

The royal city of Bethlehem produces both bread and kings. (He who calls Himself the bread of Heaven was born in the House of Bread. John ch 6:32-36) But in the book of Ruth we are told that there was a time of famine in that place. A famine that caused the emigration of some of it’s inhabitants to even the despised place called Moab. But the grandmother of David came back with the Bethlehemite Naomi and married Boaz.

You can easily see how significant the place is. And the place bears the spiritual history to this day to all who read the Bible along with a map of the land.

Such studies can be done about numerous places mentioned in the Bible and it will place the spiritual reality of the bible in your memory and shape your understanding of the entire plan and will of God. It will also help you understand what is happeneing in the promised land as you hear of things happening in Israel today. The most momentous events of tomorrow will happen in this strip of land.  See Zechariah ch 12-14

”Jesus must needs go through Samaria.
”Behold we go up to Jerusalem
”Are you not also one of his disciples, your galileean accent betrays you!”

”Two disciples were on their way to Emmaus on the day of His ressurrection”
”Come to Bethel to transgress”
”And when they came to a place called Golgotha, which means ’place of the skull, they crucified him.”

I think that you see what lies in store for you. Literally hundreds of hours of careful reading and taking note of how places and events are linked together. You will not be finished in your life-time.

Exercise: Read the Book of Joshua, the first five chapters. The events here are all centered around the river Jordan. (There are as many as 180 references to this river in the Bible) Find a map of the area and follow with your eyes and pointer/pen every move along the storyline. Write down what you see and what you notice. Share it with each other and recreate the map out in the field somewhere. Make a topographical map in a field. What you read and see stays much longer with you than what you only read. God gave us at least five senses. Use them all to learn.

Outline 11 ”In the beginning was the Word.  Behold the Lamb”

You will have noticed by now that bible study has been linked to ’eating and drinking’, to milk-food and strong meat food. You have become aware that the words of the Bible are closely linked to Him who is the Word of God.  You have seen that the Lord Jesus is the Lamb of God who lays down his life for us because we have forfeited our own lives because of sin. He took our place under the judgment of God.  And because he did that we are now reckoned to be justified and saved from the wrath of God to come.

So you see the Lamb and the Word together and it will be difficult to think of the one without the other. In deed you should never separate them.

”And the next day, as he saw Jesus coming to him he said:”Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the World.” John 1:29

This image of the lamb slain is borne home to us in another important passage. It was written by the Apostle Peter so it bears weight in a way that can best be understood when we remember that Peter denied His Lord most thoroughly but was brought back into fellowship with the Lord one morning by lake Galilee. (John 21)

”If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. 1 Pet 1:17-21

This Lamb is also the chief Shepherd, the seeker of the lost sheep, the one who is the very Word of God in creation. By Him God speaks and things are created through Him who is the Word.

If for one moment you will allow me to combine the two pictures you may see what Isaiah said about the Shepherd and the Mother Sheep.
Isaiah 40:11 ”Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs
And carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes.

If we are to desire the sincere milk of the gospel then the ’nursing ewes’ are our target. The udder of the ewe needs only buffing by the lamb and the milk will be let. In like manner it is easy to get ’milk’ from the word of God in the Bible by a rather simple and trusting approach to it. Small portions at a time until we have teeth. But then the teeth were not meant for drinking milk but for steady meat.

We need not understand or see the need for the lamb slain as long as we are fed by the nursing ewe. But there is no way of getting at the meat without understanding that Christ died for our Sin. His death on the cross was determined even before the foundation of the world. Only the slaughtered lamb provides the meat.  Would be preachers who do not understand the Death of Christ will have muffled messages. They are trying as it were to eat the whole lamb without killing it. Their mouths will be full of wool. No wonder there sounding forth is indistinct and often woolly headed.

This is where Paul is stepping up to the slaughter house terminology in 2 Timothy 2:15. He is using a deliberate term meaning ”to cut straight cuts” the greek word is   ”orthotomeo” meaning to dissect something with the skill of a butcher who knows what to separate from that which may be safely eaten. Carving up the lamb by it’s anatomy.

 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”
Or as the more literal Darby translation has it:

”Strive diligently to present thyself approved to God, a workman that has not to be ashamed, cutting in a straight line the word of truth.
Or as in the 21 Century King James Version holds it:
”Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman who needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Consider then with me the whole word of God as a lamb that is slain. It has been skinned and the skins used for clothing. (The first deaths that we know of occurred in the Garden of Eden in preparation for Adam and Eve to be cast out of paradise. Gen 3:21) The blood has been given back to the Earth because it must not be eaten. The life of every being is in it’s blood. The life came from God and belongs to God. Do not therefore eat the blood. But the blood is poured out also on the tree, both the lintel, threshhold and door posts of the house and on the ”timber” of the cross. Blood poured out is evidence of life given. As a lamb led to the slaughter. His blood given for us. As a lamb slain..

The skeleton of the lamb is not as such eaten. It is akin to the salvation and redemption story right through the Bible. It is the framework on which all other things are vitally joined. At the end of the day before the sabbath the body of Christ was taken down and ”not a bone crushed.”

The live animal had a vital structure of nerves that governed every response and act of the lamb. The nerve in the word of God is the Holiness of God and out of that flow both his Love and his judgment of those who disdain it.

At the slaughter we are told that some things were to be burned, the viscera, the guts and entrails and some of the other organs vital to the lamb alive but no use to the man eating it. These instructions are all in the book of Leviticus.

But I am confident that you see that the strong meat of the Gospel is only available from ”the Lamb slain.” Which brings us to the summary of this session.

Spiritual milk is available with little effort and allows the Word of God to remain largely untouched. Many survive for years on ’thumb verses’ or ’manna from a little box’. But any one desiring to become mature must by definition tackle the Death and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ as one of the crucial point of understanding what the Bible is all about. So the final exercise will be on that topic.

Exercise: Study the following passages in the New Testament and  bring to your fellowship how you understand the meaning of these statements about the death of Christ.
Luke 20:30-31, Gal 4:4,5, Eph 1:3-12, 17-22 Hebrews 7:27, 9:24-28, Acts 20:28, 1 Pet 3:18

Outline 12 ”Put on therefore the whole armour of God. And take the Sword of the spirit which is the word of God”

You may have started this twelve week course out of curiosity and the  desire to own a copy of the Bible eventually. Owning a bible is good but of no real use unless you know what to do with it and how to use it in life. If a man or a woman is hungry I may give them an egg or a fish to feed them for one day. But if I teach them to fish for themselves or care for a group of hens then they can live on their own and not be dependant on my provisions for them.

Giving a bible is like giving an egg or even a whole chicken. But to teach how to use the Bible goes way beyond that. It makes you a person who can stand with the Church in a battle line against a very fierce enemy.

When the Lord was tempted and tested He responded with the written words of God from the book of Deuteronomy. Three times over.
The Satan respected and acknowledged the authority of the Word. Matt 4

Read with me the 6th chapter of Ephesians from verse 10 to 19.

You are enrolled in a spiritual battle. Did you know?

The battle is personal and daily. The battle is not for those who turn their backs. But if they are pushed to the front of the battle without armour they will flee and turn their backs to the enemy. The armour is only for those standing firm and facing the enemy. That is why a firm grounding is so important.

The equipment is fitted to you individually. That is why you study the bible together and alone. You join the army together but you must dress individually. As the struggle is against spiritual forces we must use spiritual weapons. 4:12  That is why mere intellectual knowledge is of little use. The word of God is appropriated by prayer and petition, without ceasing. The struggle is always on so there is never a time when the armour is laid aside.

Notice that the loincloth of truth, well belted tight, which covers our genital area and therefore both our morals and our Christian demeanour between the sexes, is first in the dressing order. Then the covering of righteousness for our heart and other organs which is put on and does not come from ourselves is fixed in place.  Righteousness is imputed to us by the Spirit because of Christ.The feet are shod with the sandals of speed and readyness to go over rough terrain. Only in the presence of the ”Captain of the Army of the Lord” are the shoes removed. (See Joshua 5:14-15 )No shoes, then  no going where He sends us. The shield of faith is next. Well you already know that faith comes by hearing and hearing presupposes the word of Christ. (Rom 10:17)

Lastly the helmet of Salvation and the sword of the Spirit are taken up. The helmet speaks of under whose protection we are and to whom we belong.  Generally the emblem of the emperor was fixed to the helmet. ”The Word of God living and active, and is sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”Heb 4:12

What may start out as a casually assembled group for bible study of how to study the bible soon can change into a powerhouse of real disciplemaking. The word of  God never returns void, but accomplishes that whereunto it is sent. Staying faithful to the word is the only way in which God will committ Himself to our work and endeavour. We are meant to know His will and go into works  beforehand prepared by God for his people.

You have now been together for twelve weeks. You have sampled and tasted and seen that the Lord is good. You have been challenged to think the very thoughts of God in his fellowship and you have seen some of the ways in which the word can be studied. These are by no means all, but once these become part of your arsenal you will be at least able to be a worker not needing to be ashamed.

As your brother in Christ I adjure you by the mercies of God that you present yourselves to God as a living sacrifice, that is the only logical response  left to us once we understand what great things God has done for us.  There are only two things called ’divine service’ to God in the New Testament. The sacrifice of ourselves to God, and the sacrifice of praise from lips that honour His name. (Heb 13:15) Paul was most certainly Jew enough to have the daily morning and evening sacrifice of an unblemished lamb in mind when he suggested that total giving of our selves back to God every day. (Rom 12:1-2) Practice this giving and you will always be received by Him who promises to preserve to the end what you commit to Him.

Along with these notes follows my heart for all my brothers and sisters in Christ, everywhere.

Teddy Donobauer
Doncaster Uk

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