Have you been devilishly duped? Have you bought into lies propagated as truth within culture or even the mainstream church? Betsy and Michelle talk about discernment: the need, command, gift, and the lack of it in Christian circles today. Don’t be duped! Get discerning!
In lieu of a blog post regarding our past week’s podcast – speaking the truth in love – I felt it was necessary to provide some helpful resources to first know what the truth is. If we don’t rightly understand the truth, there is no way we will be capable of speaking truth in love. If we don’t know the truth, our first priority should be understanding the truth that has been revealed to us, before speaking it to others. I’m not saying we must be the most knowledgeable before we can point others to the truth of the Gospel, but we should know the truth and the Gospel well enough to adequately discern what is true and what is false, and to say what the truth actually is. If we know His Word, we can know truth (John 17:17)
That being said, below I have compiled some resources to help you in your study of God’s word. I pray this will encourage you and provide you with tools to dig deeper into God’s word to know Him and the salvation He has purchased for His people.
Personally, I found combining these two methods to be really helpful, allowing you to get your feet wet in all of scripture and also becoming more intimately acquainted with passages or a couple verses.
Birds-eye view approach (broad lens, focusing on the overarching narrative of scripture)
- follow a “whole bible” reading plan at whatever pace is manageable for you
- Read Old and New Testament each day
- Make sure you begin at the start of a book, not somewhere in the middle
- Read like you would any other book!
John MacArthur study method:
- follow an “Old Testament in a year” plan
- Read the New Testament, one epistle/Acts/gospel (or section of an epistle/Acts/gospel) every day, for 30 days
- You’ll become very familiar with the text and maybe even memorize scripture along the way!
- once the 30 days are up, continue onto the next section of the gospel/epistle or when you’re finished with it, pick another!
Christ Church has a Facebook group that reads the Bible every day together, with thousands of other women. Join their group and pick up wherever they are! Enjoy reading with women across the world!
- Find all links for this, here:
Inductive (a concentrated effort on smaller sections of scripture)
- Context (who wrote it, when was it written, where was it written, to whom was it written, why was it written)
- Write out the basic information of the text. The “plain-Jane” information presented
- Ex. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus, our Lord
- Death is earned as a result of sin
- Eternal life is a free gift of God
- Eternal life comes through Jesus
- Jesus is Lord
- Ex. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus, our Lord
- Make note of transition words (therefore, for, but, etc.) and what they are alluding to/referring to
- Look up words, from the text, in a Bible dictionary
- Read the text in other reliable translations
- Look up cross-references
- Note the questions you may have about the passage
- Paraphrase the passage
- How does this point to Christ?
- What shadow of the Gospel do you see?
- Is there a Christ typology in the passage?
- Check your paraphrase with a trustworthy commentary
- Look up questions you still have about the passage, from trusted sources
- Listen to a sermon/podcast or read articles on the passage or a concept in the passage, from trusted sources
- Journal a prayer to God
- Pray the Word
- Application (S.P.E.C.K)
- Is there a sin to avoid?
- Is there a sin I need to repent of?
- Is there a promise that applies to me?
- Is there an example to follow or not to follow?
- Is there a command to follow?
- What does this tell me about God and his character?
- Scripture to memorize
Always remember to pray! Pray before you begin. If you are struggling in your study, pray! If you don’t want to study, pray! Pray thanksgiving to God for His Word and the Spirit to understand!
Jen Wilkin also has a great and thorough method of study. In her book “Women of the Word” she outlines this method. You can also find a quick reference guide for her “6 Principles for Solid Bible Study” here: https://static.crossway.org/excerpt/bookmark-women-of-the-word2.pdf
Below I have listed some reliable sites that have reference materials and resources you can use for both types of study!
Online Reference Sites
Blue Letter Bible
– A free, downloadable Bible Study Tool (iphone app available)
https://www.ligonier.org/ (iphone app available)
Table Talk Magazine
- a great resource if you need direction on what to study, with daily devotionals, reading plan, and related topical articles. Available online(for free) and in print(for an affordable subscription price, and free trial)
Grace to You Ministries
This list is not exhaustive, but a great starting point and contain solid, trusted ministries.
If you know of some resources you think would be a great addition to this list, email/message us and we would love to share them here for others to utilize!
More than anything, I pray you see the absolute necessity, command, and blessing we have been given in studying God’s Word. He is a great God, the God of our salvation, and we can (and should) know Him through His Word. Thanks be to God for this gift!
Speaking the truth in love. There are many misconceptions and misapplications of this phrase. So what does this mean? How should we be speaking the truth in love – to believers, unbelievers, and to those with influence? How can we be sure we are speaking truth, and grounding it in love? The girls give answer to these questions amongst a myriad of giggles.
Okay, so maybe reading the Word isn’t always as easy as we think it should be, but that doesn’t mean we get to neglect it. It is essential to our walk with Christ to be steeped in reading and study of scripture. Before we move forward, let’s take a peek at what the Bible says:
Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
1 Timothy 4:13 “Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.”
2 Timothy 3:16 “All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,”
Job 23:12 “I have not departed from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food.
Of course this isn’t an exhaustive list of what scripture says about the importance of reading the Bible, but I think the point is clear: we need to be in the Word. This may not come easy to us. In fact, I’m gonna say it’s going to be really difficult at times. Our sinful nature causes us to be rebellious and not want to obey the commands we are given (Eph.2:1-2). But if we are in Christ, then the Holy Spirit dwells within us to convict us of sin and enables us to be obedient (John 15:26). So, we are not alone in this effort and Praise God for that!
First off, we might need to adjust our perspective on how we see the Bible. The Bible isn’t about us. It’s about God. If we are approaching our time in the Word with a focus on ourselves then we are going to miss the point of it all. Yes, there is scripture for practical living (Proverbs…like all of them), but if we open our Bibles and then ask, “What is this saying about me?” then we are limiting what the Bible is really saying. Instead let’s ask, “What is this teaching me about God?”.
Second, we cannot let our feelings guide our study. I’m not saying that reading scripture should be a cold heartless act, but I am saying that we can’t be led solely by our emotions since our hearts are deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9). If we are constantly depending on the Bible to engage our feelings then we will easily skip over scriptures that may be difficult or confusing to us. Trying to maintain these feelings can be tricky and defeating as well. If your time reading the Bible doesn’t meet that emotional expectation then you will quickly be disheartened and you’ll be missing out on so much more. Mark 12:30 commands us to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Let’s obey this command by also loving God with our minds! Let’s get our brains in on the game!
Bible literacy should be important to all of us. It isn’t only for teachers, preachers, and scholars. Being Bible literate will keep us from falling into error. We will grow in discernment and will be able to know when something that is being taught is harmful or incorrect. We will be able to defend our faith based upon the Word of God not our opinion, share the Gospel the way it’s intended to be shared, and obey the great commission (Matthew 28:16-20) by discipling others rightly – in the Holy Scriptures.
Okay so how do we start? First, pray and ask God for help and guidance. Don’t skip this part. Then get out your Bible and read it. Do not flip to a random page and start reading wherever your finger lands. Pick a book of the Bible and begin reading it from the beginning. Read the major prophets, read the gospels, read the epistles, read Genesis all the way to Revelation. The Bible is literature so we can treat it as such. There are also many study methods that can be used – some simplified and some more complicated. Pray about which method you should try and maybe even read a book on how to study the Word (We love “Women of the Word” by Jen Wilkin). Join a bible study at your church. Encourage your group to actually study the Bible rather than a topical or subject study. Ask your pastor for help.
Reading the Word of God is a habit that all professing Christians should share. It will take effort and discipline, but it will be worth it.
“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.”
Psalm 19:7-11 ESV
You’re looking hungry! Have a seat at the table to hear about the Word our souls can feast on. We discuss: What is the Bible? Why can we trust it? Do we really need to read it – how much, and how can we? This may seem elementary to some, but see the feast the Lord has given us in fresh light and renew your craving!
Make sure to listen to the end, as we announce a super amazing PRIZE! You don’t want to miss out on this!
This past week, Betsy and I researched the victimhood mentality that has grown to full bloom in our culture at large. We see it in our interactions throughout the day, when insignificant slights (purposeful or accidental) are taken as grandiose insults to our personal character or group in which we identify. In these slights, we often seek out the public to validate our “victimization.” We turn to social media or the immediate witnesses to our “crime” to engage in our piling on of sympathy and outrage. And we feel good about it, feeling as though our victimization has given us a special kind of righteousness. A righteousness that can stomp our oppressors into the dirt and lift us up as the victor. All while making a public spectacle. This mentality has even invaded the grounds of the local church body. We often consider our various “victim” status as a source of pride and/or righteousness, destroying the very relationships we are to nourish and seek to serve.
No matter if our victimhood is developed by a genuine victimization or just one of our own imagining, we can have hope in Christ. Praise the Lord.
This week we remembered that Christ offered Himself up as a sacrifice, laying His life down for the redemption of His people. In a sense, He was the only true “victim” that has ever walked the earth – because He was completely innocent, yet endured the just punishment for His people’s sins. However, he willingly laid his life down, out of love. Even more so, He was raised three days later, securing our victory over death and sin.
So how does this relate to the victimhood mentality of our day and age?
- We don’t need to fashion for ourselves “fig leaves” to cover our shame. Christ is our covering
In our search for righteousness, we attempt to procure our own in the form of victim righteousness. We stomp over others, at any and every mistake/slight that is in our direction, to lift ourselves up. But with Christ’s righteousness applied to our own guilt and shame – our offenses that were toward a holy, perfect, and good God – we can rest from our scrambling. We can lift others up to see the righteousness we have been given in Christ. A righteousness that we could never earn by our works or by our claim to victimization.
2. We have hope in the victory of Christ
When we are truly victimized; whether by circumstances, evilness in the world, or our own sinful nature, we have an everlasting hope in Christ. We can rest knowing that our own wrongs won’t be punished on us for eternity, because if we are in Christ, our punishment has been absorbed by Him on the cross. We also know that whatever hurt we experience in this life, no matter how grand or painful, we will be glorified – wholly renewed in our mind and bodies. When we are resurrected to life with Him, we will have no tears, no sin, no hurts.
3. We get to answer evil with love and justice
Because of Christ’s work on the cross, we are gifted with the Holy Spirit. He conforms us to Christ’s image. A character that doesn’t revile back, but sacrifices his life for his friends. When evil is done to us, we don’t have to worry if the government, the public, or ourselves can handle dealing just punishment. We know that God is sovereign and just. He is trustworthy and punishes all wickedness – either in the unrepentant sinner in eternity or for the repentant, on His Son. Because of this, we get to focus on showing His great love – to which we have been recipients.
So family, I entreat you to trust Him who judges rightly, and also who forgives our iniquities against Him. Run to Christ. Seek refuge in His work and His righteousness. Trust his justice and cover a multitude of sins in love, as He has done for you.
Blessings in Christ,
In this episode of Women of the Table the girls discuss victimhood mentality. How the world uses this to elevate self, gain attention and validation. They also look to the Word of God and to the sacrifice of Jesus to put this all into a Godly perspective.