Have you ever tried to accomplish a task without the right tool?
A few months ago, my wife and I were at a company picnic when I spotted someone carrying a bottle of coke. My mouth begin to water - everyone knows that there is just something about an ice cold soda in a glass bottle that makes an instant connection with your mind and mouth. As I had not had a soda in this form in many months if not years, I quickly hunted down the source and soon was proudly holding a bottle in my hand. There was only one problem, a bottle opener was nowhere to be found. Being a man and of course not desiring to ask help, I tried a variety of alternate methods to get into my drink. After bending my fingernail, warping my key, and snapping a plastic piece of silverware, I finally relented and convinced my wife to ask her co-worker how he had managed to open his bottle. She returned smugly with a bottle opener on his key chain, and my afternoon was complete as I was refreshed and my endorphins were appeased.
When it comes to getting to know God, David - the wonderful psalmist - cried out in Psalm 42:
As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
Do you have that same hunger and thirst to know God and to have a close relationship with Him? This relationship is developed as we spend time studying the love letter that He has written to us in the pages of Scriptures. Within the Holy Bible, He lovingly and patiently reveals Himself to us through describing who He is and what He has done through the ages. He has also left us many promises about the future. A common problem that many have is that they read Scripture, but have a very hard time understanding what it is saying.
When studying Scripture, here are a few tools that are necessary to help gain a better understanding.
1. The Holy Spirit of God - If you have received Jesus as your Saviour, God has given us a wonderful teacher in the person of the Holy Spirit of God who lives with us and in us.
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. John 14:26
A Bible Handbook such as Halley's Bible Handbook - this tool will give you an introduction to each book and will summarize each chapter.
3. A Concordance such as Strong's Concordance - this tool will enable you to look up the usage of an English word you find in Scripture and to see its range of meaning in language as well as where else and how it is used in the rest of Scripture.
4. A Commentary such as Through the Bible by J. Vernon McGee - These are the meditations and thoughts of others as the have studied Scripture. There are hundreds of commentaries on every part of Scripture, but I would recommend that you begin with a commentary that covers the complete Bible and that is written simply enough for the common person to understand.
What resource are you using in your study of Scriptures? I would love to hear how you are growing in your relationship with the Lord and how your understanding of His Word is deepening. Feel free to leave a comment or a question.