Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Bible Study Method

I've gone back and forth between willingness to write in my copy of the Scriptures and hesitancy to do so. About a month ago the pendulum swung back to willingness at the same time I started reading through Isaiah. In chapter two, it just so happens that a certain wonderful and convicting verse repeats itself, saying something to the effect of,

"The loftiness of man shall be brought low,
and the haughtiness of man shall be bowed down,
and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day."

What a verse! I underlined those two verses and read on, noticing with some surprise that the same concept seemed to keep coming up in the succeeding chapters. Through underlining repeated words and phrases, I learned a lot about what God's message through Isaiah was. Often Isaiah referred to God as "the LORD of hosts" and spoke of things that will happen "in that day." He emphasized that the events of history are purposed by God, according to His counsel; He has spoken, and thus it shall be. He encouraged his readers to wait on the LORD, and explained that often things happen "that you may know that I am the LORD." And in the second part of the book, a major theme seems to be that God made everything, and He made you and me. But the primary theme indeed seemed to be the humbling of man and the exaltation of Jehovah.

When Isaiah closed, I didn't want it to end; but I also was unsure if the same method would work again. So I began Jeremiah with the intention of keeping my eyes peeled for repeated words to pick up clues for the theme(s). Wouldn't you know it, right off the bat was a chapter with the thrice-stated phrase "forsaken Me"! Could that be the theme? Continuing to read, I found that it seems to be just that. God sent Jeremiah to the people of Judah to warn them because they had forsaken the LORD of hosts and to invite the people to return to Him.

This method of studying the Bible is so refreshing. It makes me feel like a detective, truly searching God's Word to discover His will and ways. And it has given me a better understanding of previously confusing passages by showing me how they fit into the overall message of one scroll in the library of Scripture.

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