For you, what is discovering a treasure? Is it scavenging through garish hangers at Ross, pulling aside yet another too silky, too neon, too everything top, only to reveal the most beautiful shirt you have ever laid eyes on? Is it putting on that skirt you haven’t worn in a while and having your hand meet with a wad of green folded bills in the dark recesses of the forgotten pocket? Is it browsing the library and landing on a certain unknown book that ends up making you laugh and cry and hug it when you’re done? Is it walking into a room full of strangers and leaving with a best friend?
Every one of those things would be treasures in my trove. But there is another treasure that the most gold-gilded chest would not be complete without. Proverbs 2:4-5 aptly describes this treasure above all treasures: “If you seek [wisdom] as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.”
Like most of you, I have tried to daily search the treasure of God’s Word, seeking wisdom and guidance for every day of my life. And at times, the seeking revealed so much treasure that I loved reading Scripture as much as if the pages were inked with silver and gold. But at other times, the search grew tedious, and the treasures seemed to be all mined out. Could there be anything left? I wondered. I’ve read through the Bible in a year, I’ve dragged out the 5 pound Strong’s and performed detailed study on the original words of specific passages, I’ve conducted topical studies, I’ve memorized chunks of meaningful Scripture, I’ve read through the Proverbs in a month, and I’ve done my fair share of random flipping.
Is there anything left? I know God smiles whenever I ask that. Because the real question isn’t, “Is there anything left?” but rather “Am I ready for what God has in store?” And all too often, the problem is simply that I am not ready, and the glittering jewels in the passage go unnoticed by my cursory reading.
A few months ago, I was just about to finish up my latest study, and I was praying about what God would have me to study next. Through God’s providential prompting, I discovered these ten simple questions on a website.
In all honesty, they have revolutionized my Bible study. I am ecstatic about what God has been doing in my life through His Word these days! God is giving me truths previously overlooked that change how I behave from day to day! I am truly seeing Scripture as God’s love message to me, His daughter. I can truly say with the Psalmist, "The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of coins of gold and silver. (Ps. 119:72)" And, most of all, this study has supplied the ingredient missing in much of my previous reading and study: serious, straightforward application.
Read through these questions from Rev. Alan Cairns and see if they don’t spark renewed excitement in Scripture!
1. What does this chapter teach me about God?
2. Specifically, what does this chapter reveal about Christ?
3. What are the doctrines taught in this chapter?
4. Who are the leading characters?
5. What are the leading events?
6. What sins and follies are stated or implied? Examine my heart in light of this list. Which things in this list do I need to confess and forsake?
7. What are some virtues evidenced in this chapter that I should seek after and cultivate?
8. What new thing have I seen and what old truth has the Lord brought with fresh blessing to my heart?
9. What are key words and phrases that call for further study?
10. Which one may I remember this chapter by?
I have gone through Habakkuk in this manner, and am currently working on Hosea. Each chapter takes approximately 10 days, because I begin with a “general overview” of the chapter. I divide it into several sections, with a short description of each section. I then look up each cross-reference for each verse and write down the especially meaningful ones. After that, I answer these ten questions for the chapter I’m working on, being sure to write all this down in a notebook.
So if flipping through the Psalms to find the shortest chapter to read is something you routinely do at 10 o’ clock at night, if in all honesty your Bible reading has been dry and dull lately, if you can’t remember the last time you actually studied the Bible, or if you would simply like a change, I challenge you to try these questions out! This is by no means the perfect Bible study method, but God has richly used it in my life lately. Tough questions mine meaningful answers, and gold and silver simply can’t compare.
Picture Credit: dentedup
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Questions used by permission from an article by Lisa Bode.