Last week I mentioned how much a Bible study with good teaching and accountability has helped me. I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t talk about other ways to get into the Word and get the Word into us.
Some time ago someone shared the above illustration with me. I think it’s a good an applicable illustration. Each activity is represented by a finger on your hand:
1. Hear (Pinky)
It is important to listen to sound preaching. Scripture is full of exhortations to listen to teaching about God, such as in Psalm 78:1.
However, experts say that people remember only 10% of what they hear. That statistic applies in the case of hearing scripture as well as in other disciplines. How many times have we heard convicting sermons and left “on fire” to respond to what God was saying to us that day, only to forget all about it before the week was out?
2. Read (Ring Finger)
I’ve heard it said that you can find Christ on every page of the Bible. Reading the Word of God helps us see the big picture and know our Savior better, I think at least in part because He is the Word of God. (John 1:1-4)
Did you know that people used to be careful never to put anything on top of Bibles? I believe it was because they revered the Bible, understanding that the Bible and Jesus are both the Word of God. I think there may be spiritual depth to that concept that our finite brains—well, mine anyway—cannot really understand.
3. Study (Middle Finger)
4. Memorize (Forefinger)
Psalm 119:9 and 11 were the very first verses I memorized after I became a Christian. It makes sense that these would be the first verses in a Bible memorization program, for they explain why we should memorize.
I remember once when Tim and I were talking, and I found myself getting angry at him. (I, of course, no longer remember why!) The Lord brought to mind a verse I was currently memorizing, Luke 10:20. Even though I was memorizing this verse under the topic of “joy,” God used it to convict me that I shouldn’t be focusing on the small thing that was irritating me, but I should instead be rejoicing because my name is written in Heaven, exemplifying the truth of those verses in Psalm 119!
5. Meditate (Thumb)
In Joshua 1:8 God promises that our way will be prosperous and we will have good success if we meditate on His Word. I believe this is the only time in scripture that we are promised success. (This verse also speaks to what God considers success, which is so very different from what we often think it is!)
I have found that often God reveals things to me about scripture that I didn’t see before I meditated on it. Take for example the verses I mentioned above, 2 Timothy 3:16-17. I was having some trouble keeping the list of things that scripture is profitable for in the right order. As I was thinking about it (meditating), I realized that there is a natural progression of the words: doctrine (teaching a person how to stay on the right path), reproof (showing a person how she’s gotten off the right path), correction (how to get back on the right path), and instruction in righteousness (how to stay on the right path). Really cool, huh?!
Now back to our hand illustration. Notice some things about it that are also true for grasping God’s Word:
- The best grasp comes from using all four fingers and thumb.
- The weakest grasp comes from using just your pinky finger. Adding your ring finger helps just a bit.
- If you had to choose only two appendages to use to grasp, the best two would be your forefinger and your thumb.
My goal is to memorize and meditate on one verse a week. Psalms 119:105 (NKJV) says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” I don’t know about you, but I really need that illumination in my life!