Let's kick off a series of tips for studying specific books of the Bible. Today, the book of Genesis.
First tip – Don't worry about all the "begats".
The first book of the Bible is a great place to start studying God’s Word. It is the “book of beginnings”. Reading two chapters each day will finish off the book in under a month. Kay Arthur’s notes in The New Inductive Study Bible divides the book into two sections. Chapters 1-11 describe four great events (Creation, the Fall, the Flood and the Dispersion) while chapters 12-50 look at the lives of four great people (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph).
Here are some things to look for as you read through Genesis:
Firsts – Of course Genesis tells of the first man and woman and so on, but it also describes the first act of worship. Interestingly, the first mention of love in the Scripture occurs in the context of a father’s love (ch. 22). That story of Abraham and Isaac is one of my favorites in all of Scripture.
God’s Revelation of Himself – God becomes more personal as the story unfolds. From Elohim in the opening words to God Almighty and the God Who Sees, God displays more of His character to His people
God Initiates – Everything we are and have comes from the will and hand of God. He made us, revealed Himself to us, and sought a relationship with us. After man’s failure, God’s in love and grace initiated redemption for a hopeless humanity. The story of His pursuit of us begins in Genesis.
What have you learned from your studies of Genesis?
- You will remember more of what you read.
- You brain will connect old and new information.
- You will gain confidence in your handling and understanding of Scripture.
Believe it or not, a key component to your Bible study is memorization. I know, we think memory verses are for kids, and we have way too much to remember NOW. Adding Bible verses will cause a total system shutdown.
What if it was easy?
Would you be willing to give it a try?
Kay Arthur has the easiest method of memorization I've ever run across. All you have to do is read. She says read the Scripture three times, out loud, in the morning, at midday and before bed. Just read. Look at it the whole time. Don't worry about trying to remember it. In seven days, the verse will be locked in your memory.
Try it for yourself and let me know how it works for you.
My Bible study group is working through Kay Arthur’s study of Psalms, Praising God through Prayer and Worship, and this week we hit Psalm 23.
Psalm 23 has been commented on maybe more than any other passage, and there is much comfort to be found in the promises of provision and protection. A shepherd is a person, but I looked at “shepherd” more as a verb, to guide.
First, a detour- I got side-tracked in the dictionary… I shall not want. The shades of meaning for want are significant. I shall not be needy or destitute. I shall not feel “need” or even have “need”. I shall not have an independent desire to come and go or be. I shall not have a strong desire for anything else. I shall not put my energy into hunting something with the intention of apprehending it. If the Lord IS my Shepherd, then I don’t want anyone or anything else. He is the source and supplier for everything. In Him there is contentment, rest and peace. To walk away from Him is to trade away those things for cheap, illusory copies.)
So where does He shepherd me?
Green pastures – abundant, easy-to-obtain nourishment. He will lead Me through His Word to feast on the riches of His Truth.
Still waters- Sheep won’t drink running water. He understands my frailties, and graciously works through those.
Restores my soul- He so desires a relationship with me that He will shepherd me through the tough process of repentance and restoration, so that nothing stands between us.
The valley of the shadow of death- First off, it’s a shadow. While it’s the size and shape of death, it’s only a shadow. He’s with me. He’s still leading.
The presence of mine enemies- To prepare the table, He had to get there first, before me. No matter what the enemies have in mind, the Shepherd is one step ahead.
Anointing- Healing, favor, selection, identification, consecration, commissioning… Anointing was used to show all these things.
None of these places is a one time stop-over. We revisit them as often as needed according to the Shepherd’s assessment, timing and purposes. The ultimate destination is the house of the Lord – He will finish the job, and will safely bring us into His eternal presence and glory.
The sheep is not responsible for figuring all this out, for trying to solve all these problems. The Shepherd, who led the sheep there, is the One responsible. He is Shepherding. Am I “sheeping”? I was not made to be a free-agent, but to glorify God through obedience.