Friday, May 6, 2016

Throw Away Your Bible In A Year Plan; Pursue Meaningful Study Instead

I remember the nutritionist stating to my wife, "You have a choice: continue staying on your prescription medications or stop taking them. You may have good reason to continue taking them; discuss that with your doctor. I am not telling you to stop taking them, I just believe there is a better plan."

My wife went from seven prescription medications each day to one, a thyroid medication that she will take for the remainder of her life. She made that choice over three years ago–her blood pressure has dropped to normal ranges, her cholesterol blood work has been consistently good, and her other complications have been under control. She is living a normal healthy life and enjoying those benefits with the help of her nutritionist.

If you are under your pastor's direction to read the Bible in a year, that is between you and him or her. If you have not read the Bible through twice, cover to cover, I recommend reading it in a year so that you catch the big picture. But to many people, a daily Bible reading plan may have stolen your precious time.

There is wonderful, glorious, and exciting joy in digging into the Scriptures, and that is what I propose as an alternative. Make your time meaningful. Renew your time with the Lord.

I have been teaching a Bible study based on my soon-to-be-published books: Daniel Chapter 2: A Workbook and Discovering Emphasis in the Bible. This small Bible study group is helping me improve the quality of those two manuscripts while they learn a new tool. The Daniel workbook uses sixteen lessons as reveals intricacies in chapter two; each workbook lesson draws from the reference book, Discovering Emphasis in the Bible. Both books teach how to make your Bible reading more fulfilling.

Last night I used Chapter One of Discovering Emphasis in the Bible as the basis for our study. I again presented the DIG approach which is at the core of this teaching: Discern the literary structure; Identify the emphasis; and Glean the Holy Spirit’s individual message for you.

We first read Psalm 43, a very brief psalm yet one that may seem confusing. Here is that psalm from the NASB:
1 Vindicate me, O God,
And plead my cause against an ungodly nation;
Oh, deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man!
2 For You are the God of my strength;
Why do You cast me off?
Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

3 Oh, send out Your light and Your truth!
Let them lead me;
Let them bring me to Your holy hill
And to Your tabernacle.
4 Then I will go to the altar of God,
To God my exceeding joy;
And on the harp I will praise You,
O God, my God.

5 Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God;
For I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.
Everyone in the group last night expressed some confusion: "Why does this psalm seem to contradict itself?" We then read Chapter One of Discovering Emphasis in the Bible. Not only did they see the advantage of literary structure from that chapter, they understood why a year-long march through the Bible limits their study. That half-hour, or whatever time is allotted, could be much more productive and thereby more satisfying.

If you would like a free copy of Chapter One of Discovering Emphasis in the Bible, please send me an email to Tom at ThomasBClarke.com. In return, I will send you the five page PDF that we studied last night and will add you to my mailing list which announces the publication of new manuscripts. I will not sell or otherwise misuse your information, for it is an honor to send this occasional marketing material to you.