Remembering Lines- How To Study The Scriptures
By Steph Nickel
Do you study the Scriptures on a regular basis? Do you take what you’ve read, and apply it to your life? Steph Nickel looks at the similarities between memorizing lines and “rightly handling the word of truth.”
Rightly Handling The Word Of Truth
My husband and I are in the Christmas play at our church. The cast has been working hard at memorizing our lines and making them our own. Which leads me to think of 2 Timothy 2:15, which says,
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (ESV).
At first, the cast of the play Mercy Shelter: A Threatening Storm read over our lines time and again. We set ourselves to memorizing our lines. And now we’re on the final phase before the performances in just a couple of weeks; we’re making the lines our own.
There are similarities between memorizing lines and “rightly handling the word of truth.”
Read The Scriptures
First, we must read or listen to God’s Word time and time again. It never gets old. It never gets stale. And there’s always more to take in.
Do you have a regular time set aside each day to read the Scriptures? Do you let other things infringe on this time? Do you diligently guard this time?
Be Familiar With The Scriptures
After reading the play and getting familiar with the overarching story, we set to memorizing our specific lines. There are two applications for our study of God’s Word. First, we ought to become so familiar with major biblical stories and specific passages that we can relate them accurately and in time, verbatim.
Do you approach your quiet time as just one more thing to check off your To Do list? Or do you quiet your mind and minimize distractions so you can really dig into the passage you’re reading? Do you go over and over the same portions until it really sinks in?
Observe, Interpret, And Apply The Scriptures
For the cast members, the last phase of the process, making the lines our own, is crucial. And this is crucial in the study of God’s Word as well.
The inductive Bible study method teaches us to observe, interpret, and apply the Scriptures. First, we must learn what the passage says, a simple matter of reading it over—ideally, several times. Then, we ought to learn what it means. This takes more time and intentional study. Supplemental resources are helpful in this area.
Do you regularly use study aids such as various versions of the Bible, commentaries, and online resources such as biblegateway.com? Do you actively listen to the Sunday sermon, taking notes and reviewing the verses and passages throughout the week? Would you consider taking Bible College courses, either at a physical school or online?
Lastly, we ought to learn how the passage applies to our life. We often jump ahead to this element of study, but we can’t “rightly handle the word of truth” unless we also know what it says and what it likely meant to the original audience.
If we, the actors, know our characters’ background and their motivation, we are better able to deliver our lines believably and draw others into the story.
If we, as Christians, know what God’s Word says and means—and how it applies to 21st century life—we are better able to live it out and point others to the truth contained in the Bible.
If each actor delivered their lines the way they wanted to, without any thought to how those lines apply to the overall story and the other actors … If they wandered around stage wherever they felt like it … If they refused to accept correction … Well, that would make for a disorganized and confusing performance.
We Must Ask God For Direction
The actors must trust and listen to the director. He has a vision for how the lines should be delivered and where each individual should walk and stand, in which direction they should face. He sees from a perspective that is beyond us.
We must approach God’s Word prayerfully, asking His Holy Spirit to teach us what we need to know and how to apply what we read. He is the greatest director of all time. He sees from a perspective that is definitely beyond our own.
There are many who study the Scriptures but have not received Christ as their personal Saviour. While they may have accumulated much insight and useful knowledge, they can never truly handle the Word rightly. Plus, they will never know how it actually applies.
Are You Rightly Handling The Truth?
How about you? Do you read the Bible and then go about your life unchanged? Do you read it and struggle to apply it in your own strength? Or do you submit to the Director, God’s Holy Spirit, and seek to go where He instructs, do what He commands, and speak words that will bless others and glorify God?
Where are you in the process?
Are you unfamiliar with the script? Have you only recently begun to look into God’s Word? Have you read enough to get the big picture but then go on with your everyday routine? Are you seeking to memorize your lines as it were, discovering how the Scriptures apply to your life, but doing so in your own strength, as you see fit?
Are you digging into the Word, studying reliable supplemental resources, and, at the Holy Spirit’s direction, “rightly handling the word of truth”?
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