Jesus called us to be his disciples (or informed learners). This is an action word that speaks of the practice of learning from Jesus’ teachings and example and then applying them to our life. As Lord of our lives, Jesus expects us to take his guidance seriously. In order to do that, we must read, study, and understand what He taught that was later captured in the Bible.
I learned a helpful tool (called the Hand) for approaching scripture from the Navigator’s, a national campus ministry with a similar mission and vision like Chi Alpha Campus Ministries.
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. How is your Bible intake? What is your strategy to develop a healthy and balanced input and usage of Scripture? How can we assist students to create and strengthen holy habits for handling Scripture in a responsible manner?
Here are five ways using the five fingers of a hand, moving from the pinky finger to the thumb.
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 of God 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.
Application – Healthy and consistent habits lead to an obedient lifestyle. This step corresponds to the wrist in the Hand illustration.
I have found the hand illustration a helpful tool for visualizing some basic approaches to spiritual practices necessary for growth. Each of the five components of the hand illustration are practices you grow into through practice and guidance.
After explaining the hand illustration, I expect that students will put these principles into practice in their daily life. A central concept of discipleship is being able to pass off what you have learned to someone else as a transferable concept. The hand illustration is a valuable tool to handle Scripture and help you to learn how to teach someone else how to do the same. Grow devotionally. As you utilize the five fingers, you will get a better grasp of Scripture.
Love is a verb,
©2016 by Mike Olejarz