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Day 1429 – Thinking While Studying The Bible – Meditation Monday
13th July 2020 • Wisdom-Trek © • H. Guthrie Chamberlain, III
00:00:00 00:08:59

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Welcome to Day 1429 of our Wisdom-Trek, and thank you for joining me.

This is Guthrie Chamberlain, Your Guide to Wisdom

Thinking While Studying The Bible – Meditation Monday

Wisdom - the final frontier to true knowledge. Welcome to Wisdom-Trek! Where our mission is to create a legacy of wisdom, to seek out discernment and insights, to boldly grow where few have chosen to grow before. Hello, my friend, I am Guthrie Chamberlain, your captain on our journey to increase Wisdom and Create a Living Legacy. Thank you for joining us today as we explore wisdom on our 2nd millennium of podcasts. This is Day 1429 of our Trek, and it is time for Meditation Monday. Taking time to relax, refocus, and reprioritize our lives is crucial in order to create a living legacy. For you, it may just be time alone for quiet reflection. You may utilize structured meditation practices. In my life, Meditation includes reading and reflecting on God’s Word and in prayer. It is a time to renew my mind, refocus on what is most important, and making sure that I am nurturing my soul, mind, and body. As you come along with me on our trek each Meditation Monday, it is my hope and prayer that you, too, will experience a time for reflection and renewing of your mind. 

We are going to begin a new series this week on Meditation Monday, which will focus on Mastering Bible Study through a series of brief insights from Dr. Michael Heiser. Our first few insights will focus on study habits to build a strong foundation. Today let us meditate on:

Thinking While Studying The Bible

·      Insight One: Read the Bible with a Critical Eye –It Can Take It

Christians revere the Bible. That’s understandable. After all, it’s God’s Word, the authoritative source for truths we affirm, errors we deny, and the sort of character we strive to develop. Consequently, its sacred status might cause us to flinch at the suggestion that we should question what it says and scrutinize its contents. It feels a little like we’re judging a book that ought to be judging us. Is our hesitation biblical? Dare I ask, is it rational? Frankly, the answer is “no” in both cases.

The Bible has been fulfilling the roles described above for millennia despite repeated and relentless attempts to destroy it, undermine it, ridicule it, and marginalize it. After all of that, it’s still here. In fact, today, there are more Bibles in circulation in more languages than at any time in world history. How could we possibly harm it by asking it to make sense and then pursuing that goal?

The response that subjecting the Bible to critical analysis hurts us is equally incoherent, primarily because the Bible itself encourages its own scrutiny. Ezra is esteemed for his commitment to study (Ezra 7:10). Luke regards the close examination of the Scriptures as a virtue (Acts 17:11). Biblical writers not only quote Scripture but take care to observe minute details like the specific form of words (Galatians 3:16). We are God’s imager-bearers. God is the most rational being there can be. We share in his attribute. We are not commanded, nor does the Bible ever suggest, that we read Scripture irrationally or without the intellectual abilities for rational thought that God shares with us. Have you ever tried to read anything irrationally? It sort of defeats the purpose of written communication. Critical thinking is akin to any other human ability—speech, strength, creativity, resourcefulness—and it’s ours to employ in loyal service to the true God. Approaching Scripture with a passive, anesthetized mind will not protect Scripture from criticism. It needs no protection. Intellectual laziness in search of truth is no virtue.

·      Insight Two: Thinking Is Better Than Memorizing

Dr. Heiser shares that when he was a freshman in Bible college, one of my professors was something of a zealot for Bible memorization. During the semester, he had them memorize 150 verses, punctuation included, using the King James Version. Dr. Heiser went on to say that he had an excellent short-term memory, so the feat wasn’t that hard. He has since read the Bible in several versions, but I still recall a lot of Scripture in the KJV. In that respect, I’m still living off the capital of that investment in memorization. I personally have had a similar experience.

I’m thankful for the discipline of that memorization. With that said, I feel compelled to state something obvious: memorization isn’t Bible study. Memorization is, well, committing something to memory for later recall. But being able to recollect a verse with precision does not mean you understand it.

You could memorize your tax forms, but that isn’t going to resolve any confusion that may arise from what they say. It’s the same with Scripture. I could memorize the entire Bible, but how does that nurture my comprehension? My precise recall would be the same as simply reading the text word-for-word had I never bothered to memorize it. Whether reciting or reading, I might not know what any of it means in any given place.

My point is not to call for a memorization boycott. Nor is it an opportunity to consider that memorization was not beneficial. Rather, my aim is for you to realize that memorization and study are not interchangeable concepts. Real Bible study demands thinking. Memorizing words is not the same as pondering what words mean. For example, you could easily commit the following sentence to memory: “New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group.” Knowing what the words mean, though, takes some reflection ... and a sense of humor.

Many things we read, especially in the Bible, aren’t as easy to parse as this headline. Many readers will have memorized Ephesians 2:8-9: God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

But how many of us have bothered to ask the obvious question: What is the gift of God? Is it grace? Faith? Both? Something else? How would we know? Memorizing these verses is a good idea, but understanding what they mean is even better.

That is a wrap for today’s Meditation, next week; we will continue our trek on Meditation Monday as we take time to reflect on what is most important in creating our living legacy. On tomorrow’s trek, we will explore another wisdom quote. This 3-minute wisdom supplement will assist you in becoming healthy, wealthy, and wise each day. Thank you for joining me on this trek called life. Encourage your friends and family to join us and then come along tomorrow for another day of ‘Wisdom-Trek, Creating a Legacy.’  If you would like to listen to any of the past 1428 daily treks or read the daily journal, they are available at I encourage you to subscribe to Wisdom-Trek on your favorite podcast player so that each day will be downloaded to you automatically.

Thank you for allowing me to be your guide, mentor, and most importantly, I am your friend as I serve you through this Wisdom-Trek podcast and journal.

As we take this Trek of life together, let us always:

  1. Live Abundantly (Fully)
  2. Love Unconditionally
  3. Listen Intentionally
  4. Learn Continuously
  5. Lend to others Generously
  6. Lead with Integrity
  7. Leave a Living Legacy Each Day

I am Guthrie Chamberlain….reminding you to ’Keep Moving Forward,’ ‘Enjoy your Journey,’ and ‘Create a Great Day…Everyday’! See you tomorrow!





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