Where the world comes to study the Bible

Introduction to Practice Makes Perfect

One of greatest joys in life is being able to read and understand something for yourself. Such is the ultimate goal of this Bible study program. We want you to be able to feed your own soul from God’s word and then turn around and help others as well.

George Burns once said, “I’d rather be a failure at something I enjoy, than a success at something I hate.” The good news for Christians is that these are not the only two options; why not be a success at something you like? We want to help you become a success at studying God’s word; studying it faithfully, honestly, prayerfully, obediently, and intelligently.

But, studying God’s word is not easy, per se. There are no overnight successes in this venture, but there are numerous rewards, surprises, and encouragements all along the journey. There are two basic strengths you will need to cultivate if you are to be a good Bible student (e.g., studying, applying, and teaching others). First, you will need a “stick-to-it mentality (Philippians 4:13). At first, failure (at least in your eyes) may come often. Did you know that one of Monet’s (the famous French artist) first jobs as an artist was doing sketches for a local paper? Did you also know that only one of the scores of sketches he produced was ever used? These initial setbacks obviously did not hang him out to dry—nor should they us. Success is not found on the path of least persistence! Examples abound. Calvin Coolidge may have overstated the case, but only slightly:

    Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with great talent. Genius will not: unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence, determination alone are omnipotent.

      Ninety percent of success is just showing up. Never quit!

      The second quality that you and I need to develop in order to be good Bible students is the appropriate “know how,” that is, “understanding” specific to our task. We need to learn—and never cease learning—how to study a book like the Bible. And that’s what we’re here to help you with. Until we are helped, most of us are in a fog regarding how to study the Bible. But, what a great experience it is when the fog rolls away and understanding illuminates our hearts. Clarence Edward Flynn expressed it this way:

      Peering into the mists of gray

      That shroud the surface of the bay,

      Nothing I see except a veil

      Of fog surrounding every sail.

      Then suddenly against the cape

      A vast and silent form takes shape,

      A great ship lies against the shore

      Where nothing has appeared before.

       

      He who sees a truth must often gaze

      Into a fog for may days;

      It may seem very sure to him

      Nothing is there but mist clouds dim.

      Then, suddenly, his eyes will see

      A shape where nothing used to be.

      Discoveries are missed each day

      By men who turn so quick away.1

      So we’re going to teach you a method in this paper that will dispel the fog and give you more certainty regarding what the Bible says and what it means by what it says. The ultimate goal of this material is to create in you a deeper love for Christ—a love expressed in an intelligent understanding of his word and a lifestyle that reflects the amazing grace that has brought you thus far and will someday lead you home!


    1 As cited in Robert A. Traina, Methodical Bible Study: A New Approach to Hermeneutics (New York: The Biblical Seminary, 1952), 33.

    Related Topics: Bibliology (The Written Word), Teaching the Bible