(These notes can also be found online at amite.church, under the TEACHING tab.)
I Dare You to Be Biblically Based
2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21
Sometimes we get discouraged at the slow pace of our own spiritual growth. But remember that Jesus spent three years with his disciples teaching them, encouraging them, sometimes even rebuking them when they needed it. Even then, they had a long way to go. This is a process, not a speed contest. Unlike the disciples, we don’t have Jesus with us in the flesh. But we do have several powerful aids to our spiritual growth, one of them is God’s inspired and authoritative Word. Following Jesus as his disciple means learning from Him so that our lives begin to conform to his teaching and value system. Since Jesus is not here in the flesh, the best way to learn from Jesus is to read his teachings in the Bible. By developing a daily habit of being in God’s Word, we are seeking God’s instruction and presence in our lives. I dare you to be Biblically based, it will transform!
God’s Word is our guide, authority and conscience in everything. We stand firm where it stands firm and remain flexible where it is flexible. (2 Timothy 3:16)
Because God Wrote the Bible
The Bible is not just another book. We call it Holy Scripture because it has been inspired by the Holy Spirit. The word “inspired” means “God-breathed.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21) The Holy Spirit worked to guide each Bible author in a 1,500-year span of time. It wasn’t usually dictation, but each writer recorded God’s message accurately in their own words. They lived in a particular culture at a certain point in history and wrote in their own language. As we understand what the writer meant to say in his own cultural and historical setting, we can hear God’s message to us. Most of the Bible wasn’t written “to us”, but all of it was written “for us”.
Because the Bible is Our Authority and Guide
Since Scripture is inspired by God, it is authoritative and guides us in our personal lives, our families, and our church. We believe that the Bible speaks with God’s authority to direct our faith and lives in every area about which it teaches. We stand firm where it stands firm and remain flexible where it is flexible.
Because the Bible is not primarily a LAW book; it is first and foremost a LOVE book
Some Christians get legalistic, acting as if the Bible were a law book. It is not. Rather it is God teaching his people how to live. Once Jesus was asked which was the greatest commandment in the Old Testament. Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40) These two commands – Love God and Love your neighbor – are the basic commands. The teaching of Jesus and the apostles in the New Testament largely explain how to live out these commands in our everyday lives. This teaching is also freeing, not some kind of heavy burden on our lives. Jesus told his followers: “”Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
How to be Biblically Based:
- Devote Daily (John 8:31-32) – One of the most important disciplines you can develop is that of daily Bible reading. Setting aside time in which to read the Bible and pray will literally change your life and supercharge your growth in faith. This is literally a day to day decision to put God first in our lives.
- Choose Biblical Truth Over Feelings and Opinions (Hebrews 4:12, Proverbs 3:5-7) – Everyone is tempted to follow their own insights, feelings, and desires over against what God says. That is our fallen nature. We need to learn to be doers of the Word rather than just hearers.
- Use God’s Word as a Life and Ministry Training Manual (Psalms 119:105) – God’s truth changes lives. The Bible is a kind of training manual in how to live. As you read and begin to internalize its contents, you will grow stronger and more powerful in the Lord. (1 John 2:13-14) You will also be able to speak into other people’s lives. The source of these sudden insights and inspirations is the Holy Spirit at work in you. Since the Holy Spirit inspired the Scriptures in the first place, it is not surprising that he will illuminate them to you as well. Trying to read or teach the Bible without the work of the Holy Spirit is like trying to drive a car without gas. The Spirit works with the Word.
When the Bible Seems Boring
Sometimes when you sit down to read the Bible it will seem boring – you just can’t get into it, or your mind won’t focus so you can’t even remember what you just read. Sometimes your spirit will be sluggish or your mind tired. Do not be too hard on yourself – “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” Try making some changes. Pray aloud before you read. Change your position: stand up or kneel rather than sitting. Read less that day or study a single verse or paragraph. Reading aloud might help. Some days you won’t seem to get much out of your Bible reading time, but keep at it. Over time you will find that regular Bible reading will change your life.
Start with an icebreaker question to get everyone talking. Then choose questions that will work well with your family/group.
- Icebreaker: If you could meet any historical figure and spend one hour, who would you choose and why?
- Explain what you think a “day” in the life of a disciple might look like for those that followed Jesus around during His life before His death on the cross. How is the life of a disciple of Jesus similar or different in today’s world?
- What does it mean that “spiritual growth is more like a marathon than a sprint”?
- Name some reasons why the Bible is essential for spiritual growth.
- Talk about your own practice of daily devotions. What have you learned?
- What are some suggestions you would give to other believers who are just now learning to devote daily?
- What might the enemy do to keep you from daily devotions? How can you stay on track?
- Read and Discuss Scripture about God’s Word: 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21, Matthew 22:37-40, John 8:31-32, Hebrews 4:12, Proverbs 3:5-7, Psalms 119:105
Take Action – Lead your group to help each person identify their next steps.
- Get into walking daily with God through prayer and regular Bible Reading (see below).
- What are some practical steps you can take to take the challenge of being biblically based?
- Pray about joining a Disciple Group in the Fall.