Andy Puleo was a campus ministry colleague of mine at Ohio University (OU) in the 1980’s. He was the director of The Navigators and befriended me as a campus minister when I showed up in September of 1982. He was a few years older than me but I remember him taking me under his wing and encouraging me in many areas of student work.
One was the area of personal growth. I did not have much perspective, theology, or practice yet on how to intentionally grow myself.
Andy shared a few practices that Nav staff used to model, teach, and inculcate in their students, one of which he called the Hand illustration. He drew an image of the five fingers of a hand gripping the spine of a book. Andy said that the Word of God was essential to the growth and maturity of any follower of Christ. If we were going to “make disciples” of students on campus like Jesus demanded in Matthew 28:18-20, we need to “take in” in the Word as a holy habit and be able to pass it on to students as a transferable concept – one they can readily understand, practice, and pass on to others. He said 2nd Timothy 2:2 started with us as staff.
The Hand illustrates five ways that we can get a grasp of the Word of God. Each one of them is important and vital to our growth in Christ.
Hearing – Romans 10:17
God has called leaders to preach and teach the Bible to us. Each of us needs the instruction and encouragement of hearing the Word taught on a regular basis.
Reading – Revelation 1:3
In order to gain an understanding of God’s work and plan from beginning to end we must read the Bible. The whole Bible can be read in as little as 80 hours by the average reader. Reading the Bible gives us breadth.
Studying – Acts 17:11
Studying the Word gives us insight into the meaning of God’s message to us. Studying the Word gives us depth.
Memorizing – Psalm 119:9,11
Choosing select passages and memorizing the Word is valuable both for our own personal growth but also for ministry to others. We can share the gospel message with those who don’t know Christ and share the Word with fellow believers.
Meditation – Psalm 1:2-3
Meditation on God’s Word is the thumb of the Hand. The thumb is able to touch each of the fingers. Likewise we can meditate on the Word as we hear it taught, read through it, study it and memorize it. Meditation is considering the implications of God’s Word for our own lives. It is reflection on the Word for the purpose of personal application.
Of course, the practice of healthy and consistent habits leads to an obedient Christ-honoring lifestyle. Grow devotionally. How is your Bible intake? What is your strategy to grow yourself and then assist others in developing a healthy and balanced input and usage of Scripture?
Love is a verb,
©2014 by Mike Olejarz