PDF of Study Guide available HERE

We need a good source of direction for our soul. How do we answer the question, “What will guide my life?” How will we know what God desires and what is best? The Word of God is our best source. 

These are the beginning steps to come to terms with the Bible as the means of hearing God’s Word. Please understand, many read the Bible and even know the Bible, yet do not hear God’s Word. In order to grow as a disciple of Jesus, we must learn to hear God’s Word.

2 Timothy 2:15-16 (NLT) Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth. 16 Avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless behavior. 

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NLT) All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. 

Study the Bible

What Does it Say? Comprehending the words on a page is simple enough, but there are some tough passages in Scripture. At least, they seem tough. Why? Because, they may be very counter cultural to our time in history. The Bible discusses sex, gender, and the sanctity of life. These are not just hot topics of today. They may seem like current issues, but they have always been around. The Bible also holds passages that are culturally relevant to a time period or specific to the intended audience. But generally, the Bible is very straightforward. Most often we are not struggling to understand it, but to apply it. 

What Does it Mean? What is the context? To whom was it written? What is its purpose? The context of a scripture matters. And, we must be cautious of the lens we view it with. Our personal history, abuses, and values all contribute to our understanding of a given text.

What Should be Done? The most important part is obedience, compliance, and action. The Bible is a book to be applied and that is the key to “hearing the Word of God”. This study and application should not be pursued in isolation. The Bible clearly guides us to be among others in this pursuit. We need others to help us understand, apply, adjust, and grow.

Mark 4:23 (NIV) If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.”

Romans 10:17 (ESV) So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

Listen To The Word Of God

Build Your Faith. Once you begin reading, reflecting and doing, you will tune into God’s Voice. The Bible teaches us the language of God. The images, the symbols, the similes and metaphors are his language. Then, the epiphanies will come. God’s Word is not about knowledge, facts, and mere information. It is about revelation. That is why I distinguish between the Bible and actually hearing the Word of God.

Here is how it works. I take action on something I have found in the Bible and do what God says is right. Then I will make a discovery. Certainly, it may be a painful discovery, but it is nonetheless correct. One way or another, I will learn that God can be trusted. I learn this over and over. Every time I learn it, the lesson drives deeper and deeper.  I will also likely share the story. My story, then, becomes a gift to another. What I learn to give, I receive in abundance. So, our faith grows as our trust in God deepens.

Hebrews 4:12 (NLT) For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

Heal Your Heart. We are filled with wounds, perspectives, values, and weakness. The Word of God performs soul surgery as it is discovered and applied. This is not an intellectual pursuit, it never was. It is a pursuit for both the soul and the spirit.

There is more, better, deeper, and stronger guidance available to you. It is not rocket science. You do not need to be a theologian. You are a theologian simply because you have thoughts about God. But, you need not become an intellectual to hear from God. You simply need to learn, try, discover, share, and adjust.

James 1:18 (NLT) He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.

Powerful Stuff! This is the most powerful of ideas and practices. Hearing from God gives birth to our eternal life. It changes, encourages, empowers, and equips us for great things. This the disciple’s journey. It is an exploration and discovery of the Kingdom. This is your life! Not the Bible alone, but the Bible, coupled with hearing the Word of God through application, failure, discovery, and victory! Soo…

James 1:21 (NLT) So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.  

Do Something!

Replace the Junk. You cannot stop the bad, you can only push it out of your life. So start frontloading your life with the Good Stuff, the God Stuff. Push out the weaknesses, lies, strongholds, and the like.

John 14:23-24 (NLT) Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. 24 Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me…

Take Some Risk. Sooner or later you have to stop talking about walking on water and step out of the boat. The Book of Acts isn’t over. The best stuff is still to come. Take a step, get comfortable with failure, learn, adjust, and try again. Pretty soon you’ll be strolling across the raging sea of this life with Jesus.

James 1:25 (NLT) But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

Enjoy Some Blessing! We DESPERATELY need blessing. This is how you discover greater blessings. The trial and error of a journey with Jesus will open doors that you didn’t even know existed. If you are ready for some blessing then dive into the Word of God. Begin with, “What does it say? What does it mean? And, What should I do?” 

  • Read and Discuss 2 Timothy 2:15-16; 3:16-17. How are we instructed to use the Bible? Why can we trust the Bible? What makes the Bible difficult to trust?
  • In order to study the Bible, we must answer, “What does it say? What does it mean? And, What must be done?” If our ONLY SOURCE were the Bible, what other questions would you ask of the scriptures? How would they help you hear from God? Why?
  • Review the Scriptures in the Study Guide. Which ones encourage you the most? Why?
  • If your small group valued application of the Bible over knowledge of the Bible, how might your group change? How could your group do that? 
  • Extra Credit – Enjoy Psalms 119:1-16 this week.