Better Bible Skills
If the Bible seems dull, don't give up. Develop better Bible skills.
Have you ever started to learn something that excited you only to find out that it was much harder than to do than you thought? What did you do? I quit.
When I was in my mid-twenties, I decided that I wanted to learn to play the guitar.
My musical career came to an abrupt end at barre chords.
The first few chords came easy. D. Got it. G. No problem. C. Yep.
I was playing a few songs and making premature plans to join Third Day. And then came the F.
The F chord is like playing Twister with a guitar. I couldn't do it. Mac Powell never called. My instrument ended up in a closet next to those shoes my wife never wears. I quit guitar.
The Bible has a lot of F chords. There is a lot of stuff in Scripture that is hard to understand. Don't let it get dull. Build better Bible skills.
Hebrews 5:11-14 addresses a group of people the Bible describes as "dull of hearing."
About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.Hebrews 5:11-14
The problem for these people is that they were content with their dullness. They were unskilled and unconcerned. The hope for the author of the passage is that their "dull hearing" was a temporary problem that could be easily remedied (Heb. 6:9-12).
So if the Bible has become dull and you've hit an F-chord, develop these skills.
- Study Skills - Some things in the Bible that are "hard to explain." Use the commentaries, lexicons, and other resources available on a great website like BibleStudyTools.com.
- Listening Skills - We are a distracted society with a short attention span. As a result, we have lost the art of listening. The best part of your pastor's sermon is not an entertaining story. It is his exposition of Scripture. Train yourself to listen for the good stuff, not the funny stuff.
- Journal and Discuss - Two of the most underrated skills for advancing your understanding of the Bible are personal journaling and personal accountability. I love the language of verse 14, "powers of discernment trained by constant practice." This describes someone who is really trying to flesh out what they've learned by evaluating it in everyday life. A personal journal and a weekly meeting with a spiritual mentor to discuss things will help you get deeper rather than dull.
Don't let it get dull. Develop skills.
Read 2 Timothy 2:14-19.
- List the commands to be obeyed.
- From the passage, what are the dangers of "wrongly handling" the word of truth?
- Create a list of principles from the passage. Some of them may be expressed as "negatives" in the passage. You may have to discern the positive and write it down as a principle. For instance. "Avoid irreverent babble for it will lead people into more ungodliness." That statement is negative. State a positive principle. "I do not want to study the Bible for the sake of winning arguments, but for the purpose of living godly."
The phrase "rightly handling the word of truth" in 2 Tim 2:15 is translated from a word that describes how a butcher cuts meat. He is skilled in what he does. Interpreting the Bible takes skill. Take some time to read the following article as an introduction to interpreting the Bible. How Should We Interpret the Bible, Part 1: Principles for Understanding God’s Word
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