Day 8 Study - Living God's Word


Since the Bible is so important to us in every area of our lives, we need to fully apply ourselves to learning it.  In this chapther we are going to discuss some different ways in which we can get to know God's Word.  We must first know God's Word for ourselves before we can start doing the most important thing - Living God's Word!


Hearing God's Word

Our eternal salvation and our entire relationship with God is built upon our faith in Jesus Christ.  There was no good work we could do to merit our salvation - we had to receive it by faith alone.  We have learned that even the faith by which we first believed was in itself a gift from God.

The righteous will live by faith.  (Galatians 3:11B)


Now that we are Christians, we live our whole lives by faith in Jesus Christ.  Because we live by faith, it is of the greatest importance that our faith is aways growing stronger.  It is God's will that you grow in your faith everyday.


• Read Romans 10:17.  Explain where faith comes from ...


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God now increases our faith in the same way that He first gave us the faith to  believe in  Him - through His Word, Jesus Christ.  As we first heard God's Word, faith was born in us .  As we hear the Word now, our faith is increased.


It makes perfect sense that  God should work this way.  Our faith is in Jesus Christ alone.  The clearer we see Him, the  more our faith in Him is increased.  How can we see Jesus more clearly  than through the Word?  After all, Jesus Christ is the eternal Word of God!


Since hearing the Word increases your faith, you should seek to hear the Word constantly!  You need to be involved in good Bible-based teaching on a regular basis.  Church services, chuch school, Bible classes, and Bible studies are very important to you as a growing Christian.  Grab every opportunity you can to hear the Word of God!


Studying God's Word

You are probably going to be hearing many different people talk about the Bible and what it says.  Some of these people will have a good grasp of the message they are presenting, and will be trustworthy leaders.  Others may not be quite so accurate with their handling of Scripture.  It is very important for you to learn God's Word for yourself, so you are not at the mercy of every teacher you may hear.  You need to know whether the things you hear are true or not.  You need to search theScriptures for yourself!


• Read Acts 17:11.  How did the Bereans receive the messages Paul preached to them?


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• How did they make sure that what Paul said was true?


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We need to follow the Bereans' example, and check out everything we hear by God's Word in the Bible!


The Christians who read and study the Bible everyday will grow strong in the Word.  Many will become competent teachers themselves someday!  As you learn to handle the Word correctly, you'll grow in your personal knowledge of God, and you'l also be better able to reach out to help others.


Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the Word of truth.  (2 Timothy 2:15)


This encouragement from Paul the apostle is just as relevant today as it was when he said it over 1900 years ago!  We should all do our best to become a workman who correctly applies God's Word.  This means making Bible reading and study a priority!  Set aside time every day to read the Bible.  Start with the four Gospels, because they focus on Jesus Christ while He was on earth.  Then you should move on the the Acts of the Apostles, and keep going through the New Teestament!  It's great reading!


Remembering God's Word

I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you.  (Psalm 119:11)


What does it mean to "hide the Word in your heart?"  You "hide" something for safe-keeping, so that you don't lose it.  The "heart" speaks of the core of your being; the essence of all you are.  You must keep the Word where you won't lose it - safe in your heart, where it affects all that you do and all that you are!


• Read Colossians 3:16a.  What does this verse tell us we should let the Word of Christ do?


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We have seen that the Word of God is living and active, and we need to let the Word dwell (live) in us richly.  You should be continually storing up God's Word in your heart, becoming more full of Him all the time!  How do you store up God's Word in you?  Memorize it!


My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you.  Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.  Bind them on your fingers; white them on the tablet of your heart.  (Proverbs 7:1-3)


Did you ever tie a string on your finger to help you remember something?  The Jews kept tiny cases containing Scripture verses (called "phylacteries") tied on their hands or foreheads to help them remember God's Word.  When the verse says "Bind them on your fingers," it is speaking of remembering God's Word.  It is by memorizing His Words that you can "Write them on the table of your heart."  This is how the Word Begins to live and dwell in you richly!


• Read Deuteronomy 6:4-9.  Write down the different things the Jews were instructed to do to help them remember God's commands.


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Although some of these things do not seem very appropriate today, such as wearing phylacteries on our foreheads or hands, these things still contain some very good advise for us today.  You can carry a small Bible with you to read during the day.         (You can keep it in your  pocket or purse - rather than on your head!)  It's also a great idea to have plaques of verses that mean a lot to you hanging on your walls at home.  You should also talk about these things often.  The more you talk about something important, the less likely you are to forget it!  All of these things are ways to help you memorize God's Word.


The Jews took memorization very seriously.  When a rabbi ("teacher") received disciples ("disciplined students")  for training, they learned to memorize the rabbi's teachings!  This is how they retained what they had learned.  Sometimes they put the rabbi's teaching in the form of a poem to help them memorize it.  Sometimes they put the teachings to music, and sang them!  This is another great way to memorize!


As Christ's disciple, you should seriously apply yourself to memorizing His teachings. Then the Word of God can live in you, written on your heart!


Meditating on God's Word

Meditating on God's Word means to first fully concentrate on it and think it through, and then take time to ponder it and reflect on it.  By spending time meditating on God's Word, we see more clearly how it applies to our lives, and God shows us many things that we have a tendency to miss.  We need to give His Word time to find a place in our hearts, and give Him a chance to speak to us through it!


I have my hope in your Word.  My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises. 

(Psalm 119:147b-148)


A quiet time to meditate on God's Word is essential to hearing God speak to you through His Word.  The writer of this Psalm chose to stay up late at night when it was most peaceful, and meditate on the promises in God's Word for long periods of time.  He knew the great benefit of meditation on the Word, and he thought it was worth losing sleep over!


It is not necessary to stay up late at night to meditate; you can meditate on the Word anytime you chooose.  Many people prefer to set aside time in the mornings before beginning their day.  Even though you set aside a specific time every day to fully meditate on God's Word, you should also be meditating on His Word throughout the day.  There are many benefits of a habit of constant meditation.


Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.  But his delight is in the Law of the Lord, and on His Law he meditates day and night.  He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.  Whatever he does prospers.    (Psalm 1:1-3)


Psalm 1 shows us some great benefits of meditating on God's Word!  The writer uses the exampe of a tree to illustrate most of them:


1.  Health and nourishment   (a tree planted by streams of water)


2.  Fruitfulness   (Yields its fruit in season)


3.  Strength and vitality   (whose leaf does not wither)


4.  Success in the things we do for God   (whatever he does prospers)


Living God's Word

Take your time, and read the following verses carefully!  This is the most important section of our lesson this week.


Do not merely listen to the Word and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the Word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immmediately forgets what he looks like.  But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it - he will be blessed in what he does.    (James 1:22-25)


God's Word is like a light shining in a dark place.  It brings many things to light that were not seen before.  We learn the truth about who God is, what His plan for us is, and who we are.  God's Word reveals God's will for our lives, and teaches us what pleases Him.  God's Word is also like a mirror that reveals the secrets of our hearts, and sometimes the truth can be unpleasant.  God doesn't show us these things to depress us - He wants to change us and give us victory!  He wants us to grow!  When you apply God's Word to your life, and continue to do it, you will be blessed in all you do.  If you forget God's Word after reading it, and go back to yur old ways, you will actually end up being deceived, and never really experience the blessing which God's Word speaks about.


• Read Luke 11:28.  In this verse, who does Jesus say will be blessed?


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• Read Matthew 7:24-28.  What kind of foundation can you build your life on if you put God's Word into practice?


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What kind of foundation will you have if you neglect to put God's Word into practice?


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Summary

After hearing the Word, you should go on to read it, study it, memorize it, and meditate on it.  As God speaks to you and reveals Himself to you through the Word, you need to apply those things you learn to your life daily, and put them into practice.  It is not enough just to learn it - you must live it!  All of the promises of God's Word only happen when you continue in it.  Don't be a forgetful hearer - be a doer!  Live God's Word


•  Starting tomorrow, we will begin our series of five daily devos focusing on knowing God's Word.  Remember to pray and ask  God to teach you through His Word.  Also ask Him to help you apply it to your life everyday.  Be sure to thank Him for helping you to Live the Word!  Don't forget to read your Bible everyday!