Now, Contending for the Faith. In this regular feature of our program, Dave and Tom respond to questions from listeners and readers of The Berean Call. Here is this week’s question: “Dear Dave and Tom, I want to thank you for your newsletter, and now your radio program. They have both been a great encouragement to me to take the Bible more seriously. I especially like what comes off as a genuine enthusiasm, a real love, for the Scriptures. Each time I hear you or read what you write, you seem to be excited about the Word of God. I go away feeling the same way. But I’m curious. Do either of you have a special way of studying the Bible?”
Tom: Dave, I like that question because it’s about something that I really like to do, and that’s read God’s Word. I don’t have a particular way of studying the Bible. I just read it. And I find that…I like to encourage people to do the same—just read it, and read it, and read it—certainly with a prayerful heart, a sincere heart, a heart that wants to do what it says, but read it! Get familiar with it. That’s my approach.
Dave: Yeah, well, most of my study of the Scriptures these days comes either in preparation for messages, preparation for writing an article, writing books, or responding to questions, letters, that we get. But that’s the way I’ve been studying the Bible all of my life, because as you read the Scriptures, you inevitably come across something—“Well, wait a minute! What does that mean now?” So then, you’re going to have to probe deeper. You have to compare Scripture with Scripture. I believe the Bible is its own best commentary, so I think you do need—well, I use a Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance—I don’t know Greek or Hebrew, and I don’t think that it’s necessary to know that. It may be of some help, but if so, we have to be aware that we don’t put those who have studied a few years of Greek and Hebrew in a special category, and now they can have a deeper insight to the Scripture than the rest of us can. But the reason that I say Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance is it tells you where the same word is used, so when I see how this same word is used in other contexts, then it gives me a pretty good…
Tom: Scripture is still interpreting Scripture, that’s what you said.
Dave: Exactly. So I think it’s very helpful when you begin to dig a little bit deeper—I mean, the Bible is a deep book. You’ll never get to the bottom of it. What does it mean? And let’s not just read it superficially; let’s begin to understand the depths of what is being said to us. So that’s the way I go about studying the Bible.
Tom: Right, and of course the Bible encourages us, you know, 2 Timothy:2:15: “Study to show thyself approved unto God; a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” I mean, Jesus, over and over, said, the Scriptures—they—“You err because you know not the scriptures.” And that’s our heart. If we want to get to know Him better, it’s not that we’re making the Word an idol, but it’s His Words, which the Holy Spirit, who is within us if we’re true believers in Christ, gives us understanding. But that’s our basis for it, and to encourage people to read it and read it…you know, Dave, people say, “Well, you guys are into apologetics, you know. First Peter 3:15: “Be ready to give an answer.” That we’re apologists, and so on, and they say, “But we don’t have the discernment that you have.” We get letters all the time, and it’s amazing. We get letters from people who say, “You know, I’ve read the Scriptures so many times, that when I heard this man, or that man, or this pastor, say this, or this evangelist say this, it didn’t square with me! There was a check in my spirit. Because I’d say where did they get that idea? I don’t know that from the Scriptures.” Now that, Dave, that’s discernment! That’s how it comes.
Dave: Tom, we have to read the whole Bible. You can’t just know a verse here and there; you can’t just have favorite places in the Bible that you like to read over and over. So that’s the benefit of what you began by saying. You like to read through—we’ve got to read through it! I’ve got to know it from Genesis to Revelation.
But, you know, this is God’s Word, and I think that somehow maybe we’ve become a little bit too blasé, a little bit too familiar, I mean—the Bible, well, it sits on the shelf. People don’t read it. If you consider the fact that this is God—this is the Creator of the universe, who is infinite! And this is His love letter to mankind. It’s not just His love letter, it’s the Manufacturer’s Handbook! This is something that God is saying to us! I mean, if you had some great person on the phone, you would pay attention! Some famous personality…famous personality? This is Jesus Christ! This is my Redeemer! This is God himself, and I can’t understand it—how we could neglect this, so we’d better pay attention to it. And why wouldn’t we? I mean, this is interesting, it’s fascinating! It’s incredible! I love the Bible, because the more you study it, the more you see, you cannot escape this. This is God’s Word. And it really speaks to our hearts, so it really draws us in, to a deeper understanding.
Tom: Right. Well, I agree. I mean, that’s our heart. It’s the heart of this program to encourage people to that end. I would say the more time you can spend reading God’s Word—I mean, He’s given you all that you need. He’s given you His Holy Spirit to help you understand.
Dave: And meditate on it, day and night.
Tom: Exactly. Right, but in a biblical sense, meditation means to think upon these things and get to know Him better. And that’s what we want for everyone who is listening.