Faith – Essential Preparation for Bible Study
Unaware of Jesus’ Presence
The death of Jesus absolutely crushed the disciples. He had been their source of strength and comfort. Their hopes of power and prestige lay in the glorious future they envisioned for the Messiah. But a base betrayal by one of their own, a secret trial, and a few hours on the cruel Roman cross had changed everything. Now their Messiah lay lifeless in a cold tomb.
Strangely, some of the women in their group had brought reports of angels and an empty tomb that morning. It seemed far-fetched. Impossible.
Then Sunday afternoon, just hours after His resurrection, Jesus joined two of them on a journey to Emmaus. Heartsick, they didn’t recognize Him.
Jesus, the divine physician, listened to their complaints and then diagnosed their condition: “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!” Luke 24:25. It was their lack of faith in the inspired Word of God that had brought them to this miserable place.
Then Jesus gave them His divine remedy—a Bible study! “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” Luke 24:27
The result? “Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:32.
The Divine Prescription
How often is it like that with you and I? We find ourselves feeling alone, discouraged, lost. We come to God’s Word for encouragement but stagger away with our burdens. We are unaware that we have just had been in the presence of the King of the Universe and read His love letter to us!
Jesus’ diagnosis is still the same: We are slow to believe all that God has written. We often come the Bible and read it like any other book—something to be enjoyed, analyzed, and then set aside. His prescription is still the same: faith in God’s Word.
The Bible is a book like no other. It is the living and active Word of God. “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even the the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
We cannot approach the Bible like every other book we read. God’s Word was given by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16). It is “God-breathed”. We must come to our Bible study believing that this is God’s Holy Book and that every word of it is true and has the power to change our lives and answer our questions. “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 diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6
God revealed His truths to the prophets through dreams, visions and direct revelation. Then the Holy Spirit inspired them to write it down for us. Today, the Holy Spirit inspires us as we read God’s revelation in the Bible. It was inspired when it was written and it is inspired when it is read.
When we come to God with firm faith in the truth and power of His Word, we will be richly rewarded. God has promised that His Word will accomplish His purpose in our lives. “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11.
It is the work of the Holy Spirit to personally apply the Scriptures to our lives. As we read and study with a prayerful, faith-filled heart, the Holy Spirit helps us understand the Biblical application of the passages. Then He shows us the correlation and application of those truths to our daily life.
“The word of the living God is not merely written, but spoken. The Bible is God’s voice speaking to us, just as surely as though we could hear it with our ears. If we realized this, with what awe would we open God’s word, and with what earnestness would we search its precepts! The reading and contemplation of the Scriptures would be regarded as an audience with the Infinite One.” Ellen White, Testimonies, vol. 66 p. 393
Growing Faith in the Inspiration of the Bible
We all struggle with faith in God’s Word in some ways. So how do we increase our faith in the Bible? Practice these divine remedies:
- Pray: Confess your lack of faith and pray for God to increase your belief in His inspired Word. Pray “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!” Mark 9:24. Ask Him to speak to you personally, then praise Him for the things He has, and will, show you.
- Decide: Choose to believe that the Bible is the divinely inspired Voice of God to you and that every word of it is true and applicable to your life.
- Evaluate: Prayerfully examine your life to determine how to apply the things God has shown you in your Bible study. God’s Word comes to life when applied to our daily lives.
- Act: Discipline yourself to follow-through on the things God has shown to you. As you do, you will discover God’s power at work in you and your faith will grow.
God will speak to you through your study of the Bible! Come to Him this week, with a faith-filled heart and an eager expectation to hear His Voice. You will be humbled and amazed at the things God tells you. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1
How is it with you friend? Does God personally speak to you each day when you study the Bible? He will if you will come to Him with faith in His Word and a sincere desire to hear His voice! We’d love to hear about what He is teaching you.
2 Timothy 3:16-17, John 5:37-42, Luke 24:13-27, Psalm 119:25-28, 105, 116, 130, 133, 161-162; Romans 12:3.
Note: This devotional is part of a 10 part series on 5 Keys to Enjoying God’s Word. If you have not already, please take time to read the devotionals in the series. How to Turn on God’s Alarm Clock, Finding a Quiet Place Alone with God, Faith – Essential Preparation for Bible Study, A Willing Heart for Bible Study, How to Read the Bible, and Tools for Bible Study, Conversation with God, How to be Transformed by God’s Word, God’s Seven Tools for Remembering, Why God Wants You to Share What You Learn. Also, please see the related video devotionals with Pastor McKenzie.