In Part One of this series, we covered how to get our minds right – five attributes of the mind-set we need to help us understand the Bible, and therefore, defeat the dust that sets up shop when we avoid opening God’s word. Now that we have our minds right, we can move on to some practical actions that can further our understanding of the Bible and keep the dust beasts from ever returning.
This is where we take the dust-busting to the next level (bonus points if you just pictured a little hand-held vacuum thingy from the ‘80s). Here are five actions that are sure to turn you into the biggest, baddest, dust-slayin’ Bible nerd this side of the Mississippi. Ahem – a very humble dust-slayin’ Bible nerd, who is growing closer to the Lord, that is.
Heller!? We can and should ask God to help us understand His word. This seems so obvious, but I find myself time after time, knee-deep in God’s word without so much as a thought of asking Him to help me. (Note to self: see the “dependence” mind-set in Part One.) The Psalmist said in Psalm 119:18 “Open my eyes that I may see wondrous things from Your law.” And in 119:169, “Let my cry come before you, O Lord; give me understanding according to your word.” May these be our prayers too, as we seek to understand the Bible.
What does it mean to meditate? It simply means to think deeply or carefully about, often repeatedly – to chew on (Brandi’s dictionary). We meditate on lots of things – people we’re bitter towards, someone we’re in love with, things we’re worried about. But Psalm 1:2-3 says a man is blessed if, “His delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law, he meditates day and night.” I also like this from Paul in his letter to the Philippian church (Philippians 4:8) “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true…noble…just…pure…lovely…of good report – if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.”
I don’t know about you, but my busy mom brain makes retaining things difficult. My brain has to periodically dump stuff out to make room for new things, like remembering to feed my kids, do laundry, and get to work on the right days and times. Unfortunately, my brain dumps really awesome truths from God’s word, and it is so helpful to read and learn them again (and again). Peter seems to think so too when he wrote in 2 Peter 1:12-13 “…I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. Yes, I think it is right…to stir you up by reminding you…”
Placing yourself under good teaching can make all the difference in understanding. For instance, I took Calculus in college — lots of Calculus (shudder). Sometimes I barely scraped by. Sometimes I did quite well. I found that my understanding of the material was best when I had professors that were particularly good teachers, and I made a point to choose my professors based upon this factor.
*Unfortunately, not all teaching is sound. Don’t take anyone’s word for it. Always check teaching against God’s word.*
(See Acts 17:11 for an example of people in the early church who did just that.)
In a study1 of students conducted by some smart folks in the education field, it was found that discussion enhances learning by increasing engagement, helping to retain and remember information, confirming what has already been learned, clarifying prior learning through receiving feedback and asking questions, and deepening understanding. There are many examples recorded in the Bible of how discussion, simply talking with another person, increased understanding. See Acts 10 for an example of Peter dialoging with a dude named Cornelius. Spoiler alert: Cornelius’ understanding grows, and he gains eternal life. Peter begins to grasp God’s plan to include the Gentiles in the church. Discussion for the win!
There you have it. Five more awesome, practical ways to grow in your understanding of God’s word. The dust may get the best of us on our dressers, blinds, pictures, nick knacks, book shelves, furniture… But never again will the dust win on our Bibles! Who’s with me?!