Tuesday, July 18, 2017

7 Ways to Grow Biblical Literacy

Biblical literacy is the first step to developing discernment. Since discernment separates good from evil, we must understand what qualifies as good and what qualifies as evil. We gain this understanding through biblical literacy.

So how do we gain biblical literacy?

First, by taking responsibility. It is easy to think a church is responsible for your spiritual growth, and it is even easier to blame the church when you fail to grow. But you cannot rely on others. You must take personal responsibility for your study of the Scriptures.

Second, by making a commitment. Gaining biblical literacy is hard. It takes work. It takes time. It takes patience. So unless you decide that you want to grow and that you want to start growing now, you will never get around to developing your biblical literacy. You will always have something else to do, something more “urgent” to attend to, something more fun or pleasing to distract you from learning of biblical literacy.
Third, by reading the Bible yourself. Sermons, devotionals, and the studies are all helpful tools. They teach you ways to feed yourself and fix spiritual food you aren’t yet ready to prepare yourself. Yet in each of these cases, you are ultimately relying on someone else to feed you. If you are relying on these outside sources for all or even most of your spiritual nourishment, then someone else is telling you what the Bible says and defining what is good. This isn’t biblical literacy nor does it lead to discernment. You must learn to feed yourself from Scriptures. Otherwise you are no different than an infant who depends on others for his care, or a person who eats out all the time, which can take a high toll on both health and finances.
Fourth, by reading the Bible daily. I don’t care whether you read only a few verses or several chapters. I don’t care if your plan is structured or flexible. The amount and method aren’t as important as the consistency. After all, you eat physical food every day. Shouldn’t you do the same spiritually?

Fifth, by taking notes. Thanks to the hard work and courage of many men and women, we can enjoy the Bible in our native tongue. Our familiarity with the language, however, makes it easy to skim the biblical text; we “read” the words without really seeing them. So when you read, keep a notebook or computer handy. Jot down notes. Ask questions. Summarize. Note observations. This will help you stay engaged with what you are reading.
Sixth, by chewing on it. You probably eat more than once a day. Your body takes several hours to process the food eaten. What is true physically is true spiritually. A fifteen-minute snack once a day doesn’t provide much nourishment. So find a way to “eat” throughout your day. This can be done in many ways. Break up your study into several mini-sessions. Or try leaving your Bible open in a common area to be referenced several times during the day. Memorization is another popular technique. If you are on the move a lot, carry an index card with key thoughts as a reminder. The key is to find a method that works for you and then do it.
Seventh, by remembering you don’t have to start with a gourmet meal! Often we fail to even try because o f discouragement. We look at a pastor or favorite Bible teacher and say, “I can’t get what they get out of the Bible.” Of course you can’t—at least not when you’re first starting out! These men and women have invested years of hours to arrive at where they are today, just like a master chef has spent years training himself to cook. You can’t expect yourself to be able to fix a gourmet meal from the Bible even after a few months of study. Rather, grant yourself the permission to start with a spiritual PB&J. It might not be fancy, but it’s still nourishing!

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