What are the best times each week to hear, read, study, memorize, and meditate on God’s Word – the Bible? Hopefully you hear (and read) the Scriptures taught each week in your Chi Alpha large group meeting, as well as in your small group. I trust you have a regular Bible reading program as part of your quiet time that you follow on a daily and weekly basis. The YouVersion app has a tremendous amount of varied reading plans which can also help you study, memorize, and meditate on the Scriptures. But hearing and reading is not enough to grow deep in God.
I remember a key lesson my dad taught me when I was learning to drive in high school. Besides looking in the rearview mirror and the left side mirror to see if any vehicles were coming from behind me from that side of the car, he said to turn and look over my left shoulder as an extra step of preparation before pulling out to the left and/or changing lanes. The reason why was that there might be another car in my blind spot.
I still to this day, remember his advice when I think about changing lanes. I have avoided being sloppy by just relying on the left side mirror. On a few occasions my additional effort to turn and look over my left shoulder has revealed a car in my blind spot and an accident was averted.
Read Deuteronomy 6:1-9.
Moses commanded the Hebrew people to make a consistent effort to take in the words of God each day. They were to talk about them as well as practice following them in their lives. The commandments of God were to be internalized at home, at work, and in every situation (v 6-7). They were not just to be heard, but talked about and practiced.
I have used the Hand Illustration as a teaching tool when our children were young as well as with college students. The Navigators created the Hand concept to help people know how and why to hear, read, study, memorize, and meditate on God’s Word. All five practices are critical.
Training can help us pursue what is good and avoid what is bad. The Bible is God’s instruction manual for human flourishing in relationships, finances, service, and life. But just owning a copy of it is not enough. It must be heard, read, studied, memorized, meditated on, and obeyed!
Here are a few suggestions for building a Christian reference library to help you implement the Hand idea. First, purchase a New International Version Study Bible, which will complement your digital version (such as available via YouVersion). Second, purchase a one volume New Bible Dictionary and one volume Bible Commentary, both available from InterVarsity Press. Third, add a copy of “How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth” by Fee & Stuart, as well as their companion, “How to Read the Bible Book by Book.” The first one will help you know the ground rules to read, interpret, and study the various genres (i.e., kinds of literature) in Scripture, while the second gives you a brief overview of each of the sixty-six books of the Bible.
Listening to my dad’s driving advice enabled me to steer clear of trouble on the road. Learning and implementing the five fingers of the Hand illustration helps us avoid destruction while pursuing the kind of life God created us to enjoy. By practicing the Hand, you can stay on the right path and look over your shoulder(s) to see your blind spots earlier. Think theologically. You need more than just hearing the Word of God to grow. Use the Hand illustration to strengthen your intake of God’s Word and deepen your roots. Get a better grip on Scripture.
Love is a verb,
©2018 by Mike Olejarz