One reason most Christians fail in their Bible study is the fact they have seldom, if ever, experienced God through His Word. Oh, they believe the Bible is the Word of God. And they believe what it says about itself, that it is “given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16). In fact, they also understand the purpose of God’s Word and believe it wholeheartedly, “that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:17). Yet their spiritual life, and the time they spend in God’s Word, speak otherwise.
Do you know why? It’s probably because the promise above has a qualifier. And that qualifier means the promise is not for everyone, but only for “the man of God” (2 Tim. 3:17) But most believers today are far from what Scripture would consider a man of God.
So how does that change? What can we do to help thousands, if not millions, of believers who have never heard the voice of God, do just that? What is the process? What needs to be done?
First, we need to understand why it is so important to take personal responsibility for your spiritual life (see Romans 1:18-32). The church cannot ride on the faith coattails of their pastor, the hired holy man, no matter how hard they try. They must learn to mine the truths of God themselves. And this takes time and energy, and a commitment, just like everything else of value in life. Are you ready?
Next, we must ask ourselves some hard questions. And we must be honest about who we are regarding God and not who we think we are. Let me share a few of these questions with you.
• Do you understand what the book you hold in your hand really is? Are you aware of the constant attack against the sufficiency of His Word, and the integrity of His Word, that has been going on all around you for the last century and a half? And are you aware of how subtle this attack is?
• Do you believe the Bible is the Word of God? Or do you believe it contains the Word of God? And if it truly is the Word of God, of what importance would that be to you in the way you live your life? What would be more important to you than being able to know and hear from God through His Word?
• What is the final authority in your life? Is it you? How you feel, think, or what you choose? Or is it God? And if so, how do you determine what God’s will is in a particular situation you are facing? How does God, on a personal level, communicate His will or encouragement or instructions to you? And if He does communicate with you, do you take His Word as the final authority, or do you run it through the grid of your own feelings and then choose to obey Him or go your own way? Again, who or what is the final authority in your life? And how is that working for you right now?
• Has God ever revealed Himself to you in a life-changing way like He did to others in the Bible? Maybe like Moses (Exodus 3), Joshua (Joshua 5), Elijah (1 Kings 19), or Paul in Acts 9? Has God ever revealed Himself to you in a way that wasn’t life-changing? Didn’t think so.
• Have you ever truly experienced God in His Word? And if so, what was that experience like? How often and how long ago did it happen? Is it a common experience for you? Or is it something that seldom happens, if ever?
• If you haven’t experienced God in quite some time, or ever, is that something you would like to change? And if so, at what cost? What would it take for you to have the desire for the “mind of Christ” (2 Cor. 2:16) or to become a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam. 13:14, Acts 13:22)?
And this is just the beginning. There is so much more we will discover in this message. So join us as we look at the first few steps necessary to hear from God through His Word and grow closer to Him.