In my first Pastor’s Post I’d like to share a specific Bible study spiritual discipline that’s been fruitful and encouraging for me recently.
It’s been very simple. Read a chapter of Scripture, write down a verse or two that stands out, write out the truth of those verses in my own words, and write an application to my life. Pray that God would transform me into the image of Christ in that way and share it with some other people. T for Truth, A for Application, P for Prayer, and S for Share. TAPS!
The Word is our water. Drink it in.
Jesus said in John 4:14-15
whoever drinks of this water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life”.
As we turn on our ‘TAPS’, we will be drinking in God’s Word which will not only sustain us that day, but for all eternity. We will be like the blessed man in Psalm 1 who meditates day and night on the law of the Lord and as a result is “like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in season”.
The Word is our food. Chew on it.
Jesus said to the devil:
It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4
Jesus learned and ingested the Scriptures and knew the importance of spiritual food for every human being – saying that God’s Word is necessary to sustain life.
Martin Lloyd Jones said:
The more we partake of it [the Bible] the stronger we shall be. So if we want to be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might, one of the first things we have to do is to read and to take in and to masticate thoroughly this Book…you must not bolt this food. You have to chew it and to masticate it, so that it may be thoroughly digested and become a part of your constitution and build you up.”
So to get the maximum nutrients and goodness from the food, we don’t just bolt it down or skim-read the Word, but we chew on it (masticate it), meditate on it, analyse it, think through it, pray through it.
Just for the fun of making up another acronym, we start with Reading, but then also Analyse, Meditate / Masticate, then we Pray and Obey. So to get strong and prepared to fight spiritual battles, we can use a RAMPO approach.
Sharing our study with others multiplies the impact.
I have recently been sharing my truths and applications with a group of 6 other men in the morning, and with my family at night. They too share theirs with me, which means I benefit from up to 9 biblical truths and applications every day! What a great encouragement it is, and a great use of my mobile phone! And what great accountability for me to be faithful, accurate, and deep in my own studies, knowing that I have 9 other readers/listeners waiting to hear from me each day.
This builds strong and purposeful relationships centred around the Word. Why not start your own WhatsApp group or similar with others from the church, and share your studies each day with the group and your family / housemates?
Don’t just eat and drink the Word. Obey it!
The “O” of RAMPO was for “obey”. Obviously, there’s not much point reading and meditating on God’s Word unless we plan to get to work on obeying it, with the Holy Spirit’s very necessary help.
I once heard of a pastor who preached the same sermon to his congregation several times in a row. His job, he said, was not just to teach his congregation, but to ‘teach them to obey all that Jesus had commanded them’ (Matthew 28:20). And he didn’t feel that they were yet obeying the commands in that particular passage.
Perhaps we should do likewise? Before we read a new Scripture, we could Review whether we have been obeying the previous one? RAMPO becomes RRAMPO?
May we take to heart the simple directive from Proverbs 4:7 for us to study and apply the Word –
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”
If you would like a hit of motivation to get you started, I suggest starting with Psalm 119, finding a different verse or two to study, each day for a week.
May all of us at HBC recommit ourselves to growing in Christ by studying the Word, and may we say the words of Psalm 119 in unison to the Lord:
- “I open my mouth and pant, because I long for your commandments”
- “I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways”
- “Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous works”
- “I cling to your testimonies O Lord”