Lord, Teach Me to Study
About the Guest
Why should we study the Bible? Today on the broadcast, Dennis Rainey talks with Moody Bible Institute President Michael Easley and Precept founder Kay Arthur about building your faith through basic bible study methods. Find out how Logos Bible software can help you understand the Word of God.
Why should we study the Bible?
Lord, Teach Me to Study
Jay: (From videotape.) And your name is …
Jay: David, that's a very biblical name.
David: That it is, sir.
Jay: Here you go – how long did it take God to create the universe?
David: A day? Eight days and eight nights?
Jay: From the look of it, it only looks like it took a day, but actually it took a little longer. Eve was created from?
Woman: Oh, from an apple.
Okay, no, Eve – Adam ate, no, let's see, I wouldn't want to say that.
Jay: Now, Chris, would you say you're a religious person?
Jay: So you know the Bible pretty well?
Jay: What was Eve created from?
Chris: Eve was created from the night.
Jay: The what?
Chris: The night.
Jay: The night?
Jay: What is Tony Roma's famous for serving?
Jay: What was Eve created from?
Chris: A cow?
Jay: What is Tony Roma's famous for serving?
Jay: All right, what was Eve created from?
Jay: That's right.
Jay: Cain and ...
Woman: The barbarian.
Jay: Cain and the barbarian? No, no, no. That would be Cain and Abel.
Jay: Can you name the children of Adam and Eve?
Man: They didn't have any kids.
Jay: Adam and Eve did not have any children?
Man: Oh, all of us, I'm sorry.
Jay: What did Jacob give to his son Joseph that made his brothers envious of him?
Woman: A new car?
Jay: A new car? What did Joseph wear?
Woman: He wore a brown outfit.
Man: A brown outfit?
Bob: You know, as funny as that sounds, it one regard it's not really all that funny. Here is the president of Moody Bible Institute, Dr. Michael Easley.
Michael: I was at the local churches and being part of it for over 20 years as a pastor, I think we really have failed. I think we've failed in our children's ministry, our student ministry, college ministries of equipping these young folks of what it means to study Scripture.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Monday, November 26th. Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. So just how well do you know your Bible and what can you do to understand things better? Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us. I was talking to a friend of mine recently who teaches at a Christian high school and teaches juniors, and she said in class recently, she asked these high school juniors, "Who can define justification for me?" And she said one student raised his hand and said, "That's when you make excuses or try to explain what's going on." And she said, "Well, that's one definition."
Dennis: That is one definition.
Bob: Of justification, but, she said, "In a biblical sense, what is justification?" She said there was silence in the room. High school juniors at a Christian high school and nobody in the room could define "justification." And she said to me, "Do you think we have a problem here?" And I said, "Yes, I think we've got a significant problem not just in your classroom, but I'm wondering how many of our listeners, Dennis. That's a great quiz right here at the beginning of the program …
Dennis: It is.
Bob: Could you define "justification," and if you can't, maybe we need to pull back and do some work.
Dennis: We have a couple of guests who can define it – Dr. Michael Easley of Moody Bible joins us, and Kay Arthur of Precept Ministries. Kay, Michael, welcome to the broadcast.
Michael: It's great to be with you guys.
Kay: I'm glad to be with you all, too. You know, I have thought when I have been teaching, and sometimes I've gone down into the audience, and I've said, "Okay, now, this row, you're going to take Romans 1, and the next row Romans 2," and I go through, and "you're going to get together and tell me the main teaching of each of those chapters of Romans." You should see their faces.
Bob: They get scared quick, don't they?
Kay: I mean, it's sad. They get scared quick, and yet I can tell you that there is a Christianized school here in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and all those kids could answer those questions because they're studying the Bible inductively even in the lower graders, and they're learning to discover truth for themselves.
Dennis: No doubt about it. Michael, give us the definition of "justification."
Michael: Well, we heard, as children, "just as if I never sinned," but, really, it's "just as if I've never sinned when I deserved wrath and punishment," that someone else has righteously put himself in my place. So I am just before a righteous judge.
Bob: I was driving my son to school this morning, and I was thinking about this story, so I turned to my 15-year-old, and I said, "Can you define justification?" and he said, "Well, yeah, Dad, it's being declared righteous before a holy God, not on your own righteousness of Christ."
I went, "Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Lord."
Dennis: One of those great moments as a parent, you know, this is an era, though, okay, if there has ever been a time when we need to get young people into the Bible and, frankly …
Bob: Their parents as well?
Dennis: Young married couples, that's where I was going as well – it's today, and I read a statistic the other day where it said one out of five Christian teenagers believes in absolute truth. In other words, if a parent turned to a son or daughter and asked them, "Do you believe the Bible is the ultimate authority on matters of choice and life and absolutes in terms of morality," four out of five would say no.
Dennis: And it's interesting, only one out of three adults agree with that statement, and if there's a need today, it is a need to get in the Bible and, Kay, that's what Precept Ministry has been all about. Barbara goes to Precept, she loves your ministry, she was there yesterday at the class here in Little Rock, and I just want to say, first of all, thanks to you for standing firm on the Scripture and then Michael, to you and Moody, a ministry of more than 120 years old, that has remained faithful the Scriptures.
Bob and I wanted to talk with our listeners about getting back to the Bible, and we thought what two better organizations that have supported the Scripture than Moody Bible and Precept Ministry. So, first of all, I just want to give both of you some kudos. You both have remained solid for the Scriptures and that's something we can't take for granted today.
Bob: Yes, that's right, and we do have, I think, like no other time in history, access to great study material, and yet, Michael, why is it that we have the level of – I want to say biblical illiteracy, but it seems to me that people know the Bible, they're just not sure how it all weaves together, you know what I'm saying?
Michael: I think the local churches and being part of it for over 20 years as a pastor, I think we really have failed. I think we've failed in our children's ministry, our student ministry, college ministries, of equipping these young folks of what it means to study Scripture.
When I served as a pastor, we were constantly asking, "How do we keep these kids' nose in the book?" And whether it's entertainment or seeker or emerging or any number of trends that sort of impact these churches, we forget we've got to teach them how to open that book, find a love for it, and study it, and, you know, I'm culpable. I think pastors, not to add one more load on us, but we have really failed.
And then parents don't know how to do it because the church hasn't taught them how to do it.
Bob: And, Kay, your ministry for years has been doing exactly what Michael has been talking about – teaching people how to be nose-in-the-book and understand it. Do you see the hunger for God's Word among His people growing or waning?
Kay: I think that there is a hunger, but they don't understand. They want to go deeper, but they don't know how. There is a longing, there is a hungering, and if you're a child of God, there is a hunger and thirst for righteousness, but the thing is, that we're not being confronted with the Word. In Hosea 4, he talks about his people perishing for a lack of knowledge, and he says, "Because you have rejected knowledge, I will reject you from being my priest," but listen to this – "Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children."
So we've got to reach the children and the adults and bring them face-to-face with the Word of God so that they know God, so they know how they are to live. And I think when we do that, we find that hunger, and they say, "Oh, this is it."
Dennis: Kay, I think that a lot of young couples, older couples as well, go to the Bible, and they don't know where to begin. You know, when you read a book, you usually start at the first book, and you read it cover to cover. The Bible is a series of books, and so it's not an easy read, as such.
Bob: Well, especially, you get into Leviticus and Numbers, and you go …
Dennis: A lot of people have perished there.
Bob: That's right.
Dennis: A lot of people have perished there, and some pastors have perished when they've attempted to speak on that. How would you encourage a couple to start? You know, there is some great software that's available now for folks to use that really brings the Scriptures alive in a fresh way. All four of us are big fans of Logos and the use of that software to be able to study the Scriptures and to be able to get into it in a fresh, different way, especially electronically, which is how many of us communicate today.
Kay, where would you coach a couple to start, though, if they were getting in the Bible for the first time, maybe using some software like this?
Kay: Well, first of all, I wouldn't send them to the software first. What I would do is I would send them to a book of the Bible. Now, when you open the Book, what do you look for? Just take the first chapter of the Book and ask yourself the five Ws and an H – Who is in this chapter; who, what – what is this chapter about? Who, what, when? Does it tell me when? Does it tell me where? Does it tell my why? Who, what, when, where, why and how?
And then you start making a list of what you see. Well, you're going to see, you know, what that chapter is about. You're going to see the who of that chapter, and things are going to begin to come to the surface, and then, as you mark key repeated phrases, or as you look at your main characters and find out what that chapter tells you about them, the meaning of that chapter, the purpose of that chapter, the subject of that chapter, the topic or the event of that chapter is going to come to the surface.
And so then you go from there, and this is what we do in "Lord, Teach me to Study the Bible in 28 Days," is we take you through the Book of Jude and through the Book of Jonah so you can see, okay, how do I study the Bible and discover truth for myself?
Michael: Kay, you mentioned earlier about the people having a hunger for the Word. This little 15-minute program that I had daily now through Moody, it's amazing the anecdotal feedback we get – someone is teaching the Bible.
Michael: And that's very convicting when you think about being in the pulpit, and people are catching a 13-minute program going, "This guy is actually explaining the Bible."
Secondly, I think that we have to show our congregations, our audience, our listeners, there is life in these words, and I think, unfortunately, it's academic, it's post-modern, it's relativistic, and if you explain to them, Dennis, your comment, "There is truth here." What does that mean?
Paul told Timothy the solution for all false teaching is sound doctrine.
Dennis: Yes, and the thing that Scripture does for me is it shows me how to live. It all of a sudden hit me as we're talking here, there has got to be a listener wondering, well, now, really, I hate to ask this question but why should we study the Bible? Well, it's for life. It's for the choices that are before you.
And Jesus said, over in John, chapter 15, he said, "If you abide in me and my words abide in you," and that word "abide" means to draw your life from. It means to pull out your ability to make a wise choice. It's not like Bible study is over here in this 10, 15-minute, 30- minute, one-hour segment of our day and then the other 23 hours a day is life.
Bob: Is real life, yeah.
Dennis: Is real life, it's like there's where life starts. This is what I want my kids to see, and it's why I met with them when they were teenagers at Kroger to eat a stale doughnut and get in the Book of Proverbs. I wanted them to understand how to be wise and not fools.
Bob: Well, Romans 12:1-2 says that "we're not to be conformed to the pattern of the world," and many Christians today, if you just look at the state of the church, you would say many of us are more closely aligned with the patterns of the culture than we are with the precepts of Christ. So how do we change?
Well, we are transformed by renewing our minds. And how do you renew your minds? By feeding on the Scriptures. Now, I have to confess to the three of you, one of my weaknesses in spiritual discipline is what I would refer to as devotional reading of the Scriptures. I'm not a good guy to sit down and read four chapters a day. In fact, a number of years ago I made the New Year's resolution, okay? I was going to read through the Bible in a year, three or four chapters a night right before I went to bed just to get through it.
I got to Genesis 6, okay?
And here's what happened …
Dennis: This is bad for the reputation, Bob.
Bob: You get to Genesis 6, and you say, "Now, the sons of men, the daughters of men married the sons" – and I'm going, "What does this mean?" Now, I couldn't keep reading because there were too many questions coming.
Dennis: Well, immediately, you were thinking about all the movies you'd seen.
Kay: You know, what I tell people to do is when you have those questions, just write it down and keep reading.
Michael: Write it down, yup.
Kay: Because Scripture was given for the common man. It's perspicuous. In other words, it is understandable.
Dennis: Hold it, Kay, Kay, what was that word?
Bob: Perspicuous – you don't know perspicuous?
Dennis: I'm sorry. It's been a while since I've had a word like that …
Kay: I learned that big word, and it's the one and only one I have, and I had to throw it out there for a minute.
Dennis: What does it mean, Kay?
Kay: It means that it is easy to be understood, or it is understandable, and God is not in a cloud. God really wants us to know Him, and He really wants us to know truth, and He is no respecter of persons. I am ADD, I am dyslexic, I mean, just in case you guys didn't notice, all right, and I am dyslexic, I do not have a degree, I have a temperature, but no degree, and I have trouble pronouncing things, I never got hooked on phonics, and yet I can know God's Word, and I can know it for myself.
I love Psalm 119, verse 102, and it's what Precept is all about – our goal, our passion. It says, "I have not turned aside from Your commandments, for You, Yourself, have taught me." And when I opened the Book, and I sat in front of that book, and I read with a purpose, and I read marking to understand, to know God, to know what He is saying and what He is doing and what He means, and I just keep working, and if I have a question, I write it down, and I keep going, because Scripture interprets Scripture, and the best interpreter of Scripture always is Scripture.
Martin Lloyd Jones said this – the measure of the strength of a man's faith always is ultimately the measure of his knowledge of God.
Dennis: I was just thinking, Kay, of a quote by A.W. Tozer who said, "The most important thing you think is what you think about God."
Dennis: Because as you think about who He is and His authority over life, and who you are in comparison to Him, all of a sudden, life takes on the right perspective, and if you know the right stuff about Him and hard things come your way, you're going to be able to interpret things. You're going to be able to suffer long if you know the right thing about God. But the problem is, many Christians don't know who God is.
Kay: And you know why? They don't – where do you meet God? You meet Him in the Old Testament. That's where you see Him. That's where you learn His names. That's where you see His character. That's where you understand His ways. And biblically, I believe the church is biblically ignorant, just collectively. They don't know God because they don't know the Old Testament.
In Isaiah, we were just studying, and God says, "As I have planned, so it shall come to pass, and what I have purposed, no one can thwart." Now, when I understand that, and I understand that God is sovereign and that He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth, when I understand that He creates good, and He creates calamity, when I understand that He sits on His throne, and His sovereignty rules over all – whew! What does that do to me? It gives me a peace, it gives me a confidence. I can look at my world that may be falling apart, but God is on His throne, and when I am going through these tremendous trials I'm going through now, I can walk with peace, I can walk with confidence, because I know my God, and I've talked too much, and I'm shutting up.
Bob: Michael, you've seen a lot of people who have connected with Moody from a distance through the correspondence courses that you guys have. They really do have a hunger to go deep in their understanding of who God is and what the Bible teaches.
Michael: One of the exciting things we are seeing, especially with men and women in careers who can't go to college, online courses, AM courseware, distance learning, it's very easy to take a course. It's interactive, it uses the Libronics Logos technologies, and so that really does energize a person teaching Sunday school. So there are lots of tools like that.
I liken the technology to – did any of you all, the three of you, use a slide rule?
Bob: I didn't …
Dennis: I tried to avoid those.
Bob: I saw one, but I could never figure out exactly how to use it.
Michael: Well, we have – you know, the slide rule – Kay will appreciate this – it really is the way we used to do Bible study. And the technologies now are the handheld computer and a notebook computer. And I agree with Kay, start with the Bible, the text, the book in your hand. But the engineers, the physicians, the attorneys, the person who has got a thinking mind beyond just reading a verse or two a day – if you want to dig and drill, these tools are unbelievable.
Bob: I've shown Mary Ann, because she's got the Logos software on her computer as well, and I've shown her how she can sit down and pull up a passage of Scripture, and when those questions come to mind, with a few clicks …
Michael: You're there.
Bob: She can get them answered and walk away from that with a deeper sense of satisfaction, if you will. She's met with the Lord, and questions have come up, but she goes, "Okay, now I get that." And it makes Bible study that much more exciting, that much richer, and the fact that it's all right there, one click or two clicks away, makes it easy.
Dennis: You know, the bottom line here is to get in the Book, get in the Book so the Book can get in you and so that, as you quoted earlier, Bob, the renewing of your mind, you learn to think rightly about who God is, therefore, you can begin to evaluate life through His perspective.
You're not swept away by false doctrine or a foolish choice, but you make the right choice because you're anchored on the rock of Scripture.
Bob: You know, it was a few years ago that we had someone from Logos Bible software in our offices showing us what this tool can do, and we decided at that point we needed to let our listeners know about it. We shared a little bit about the software on FamilyLife Today, and our listeners got excited, and so we went back to the folks at Logos, and we said, "We know that many of our listeners got really excited the first time they heard about your software. We'd like to be able to make the software available again to FamilyLife Today listeners but do it in a way that provides a little extra incentive for folks to get the software package that is right for their family."
And they agreed to that. In fact, if you go to our website right now at FamilyLife.com, and you click the red button that says "Go" on the middle of the home page, it will take you to an area of the site where there is a link to the Logos Bible software site. If you're interested in getting one of the software packages from Logos, you can do it at a discounted rate as a FamilyLife Today listener over the next couple of days.
So, again, got to FamilyLife.com, click on the red button that you see in the middle of the screen that says "Go." That will take you to an area of the site where there is more information about Logos Bible study software, and there is way that you can order this software, have it sent to you, and you'll be able to get it, as I said, at a discounted rate.
All of the details are on our website at FamilyLife.com. You can also call for more information. It's 1-800-FLTODAY, that's 1-800-358-6329, and someone on our team will let you know how you can get this Bible study software sent out to you and get it installed on your computer and start using it. It really is a remarkable study tool that I think all of us have agreed has been extremely helpful to us as we do our own personal Bible study.
Again, the website is FamilyLife.com. You can also call us at 1-800-358-6329. That's 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY. Give us a call, and we'll do what we can do to make sure you get this software sent to you.
You know, Christmas is four weeks from tomorrow, and during this time of year, I know there are families that have a lot of favorite family traditions. Last year there was a new DVD that was released called "The Very First Noel," and I think for some families, this retelling of the Christmas story in a fresh, creative way became one of their family traditions. This is an animated DVD that features Andy Griffith as the narrator, and it's a telling of the Christmas story from the perspective of the Wise Men.
This month we are making this DVD available to any of our listeners who can help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today with a donation of any amount. We are listener-supported, and that means that when you make a donation to FamilyLife Today, you're really helping us continue on the air on this station and on our network of stations all across the country, and we appreciate your financial support. That's why we want to say thanks this month by sending you a copy of this DVD when you make a donation of any amount.
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Well, tomorrow Michael Easley is going to be back with us. Kay Arthur is going to be here as well. We're going to continue to look at how you can make your Bible study better, and I hope you can be here for that conversation.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We'll see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ.
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