By Dr. Bob Gray Sr
II Timothy 2:15, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
II Timothy 3:15, “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
I pastored for 33 years out of a 40 year ministry. The last year I pastored I would preach or teach the Scriptures 18 different times in a 7 day period. Today my schedule is not the same, but it still totals 7 to 10 times in a one 7 day period.
I have written 31 books and have several I am working on currently. I not only like to read the Scriptures and study them, but I have to read and study the Scriptures.
My last year of pastoring Longview Baptist Temple of Longview, Texas, I counseled 2,000 plus folks in one year. I would conduct 17 different staff meetings in a one week period plus I would answer 150 questions a week. I was responsible for Texas Baptist College, Longview Christian Academy, and Longview Baptist Academy. Our budget was $ 60,000 a week. I had 100 paid employees and my life had to be prioritized in order to accomplish all that I had to accomplish.
As pastor I spent a minimum of 14 hours a week reading and studying the Scriptures and I spend much more than that since my retirement from pastoring. I read 35 chapters in the Old Testament and 15 chapters in the New Testament everyday. I read a chapter from Proverbs, Acts, and Psalms everyday.
I READ THE SCRIPTURES ACCORDING TO MY TOP THREE PRAYER REQUESTS.
I pray for three things that top my prayer list. Power, wisdom, and love so in order to do that I read the three books of the Scriptures everyday that will answer my top three prayers.
Power – Acts
Wisdom – Proverbs
Love – Psalms
I realize those of you reading this have more to do than you can say prayer over, but I have as much to do as any one reading this. I would suggest that if you pray for power, wisdom, and love then you should read one chapter a day from Acts, Proverbs, and Psalms.
I JUST SIMPLY READ THE SCRIPTURES
It is more important to read the Scriptures than to study the Scriptures. Before you take the Concordance from the shelf, or take the Bible Dictionary down, or take down the Commentaries, or the book of customs, or books about the Bible it is more important that you just simply read the Scriptures.
Do not read Bible study books. You do not know the authors and you could be easily misled. The most important thing is to simple read the Scriptures. Dr. Tom Malone made a remarkable statement from behind the pulpit of the Longview Baptist Temple when he said, “I read the Bible until my heart burns!” He is so right. I read the Scriptures until God speaks. Now, I do read a predetermined amount of Scriptures each day because I know me and if I didn’t I would not stop reading. I have other things I must accomplish.
The most important thing about what the Scriptures say is what the Scripture says. The most important thing about Daniel and the lion’s den is that David went into the lion’s den and God kept him from dying. The most important thing about the 23rd Psalm is the Lord is my Shepherd and I shall not want. What does the Scriptures say, my friend, is the most important thing about the Scriptures.
So, I read the Scriptures and become knowledgeable about the Scriptures
I HAVE COME TO REALIZE THAT GOD DOES NOT REVEAL TRUTHS TO SELFISH CHRISTIANS
John 8:32, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Verse 32 is often quoted without reaching back to verse 31 for clarification and explanation of verse 32’s intent.
John 8:31, “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;”
Jesus makes it clear that the saved must “continue in” the word or Scriptures. So one truth obeyed leads to another truth to be obeyed. The word “disciples” simply means “disciplined ones.” So obeying the revealed truth sets you free to obey the next revealed truth and in that manner Jesus’ disciples continue on in the Scriptures. Discipleship is not accomplished by selfish Christians and that is one of the reasons Paul said, “I die daily.”
- I choose a portion, like a chapter, of Scripture and read it ten times.
- I read it slowly.
- I look at every word
- When the Holy Spirit points out a thought I write it down.
- I read the Scriptures for content – The Scriptures were written for our instruction not our confusion thus it is more important what the Scripture says than what the Scripture means.
- I determine the affect of the words in a verse to the content of the story.
- I look for companion verses.
- I look for ways to meet others’ needs and not my needs through the discovered truths – The Bible is not written to you to make you think selfishly, but it is written to you to make you think unselfishly.
- I read then for context of the verse.
- I use a Concordance to find other places this word or Scripture is used.
- Use an 1812 Webster Collegiate Dictionary for definitions
- God said rightly divide “the word” not the Greek or the Hebrew. The Scriptures always define Scriptures.
I’ve always thought that the Jews “who believed on him” in John 8 were only believing with their head, but not trusting with their heart. After all, Christ still considers them as children of the devil in verse 44 and tells them (the same group) in John 8:47 “He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.”
I remember seeing that as well. Very interesting that in the beginning of the chapter it says those that believed on him. Makes sense. They believe some of the things he was saying but they didn’t trust on him.