|Josh and me at the park|
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” Ephesians 3:14-18
The Apostle Paul prayed often and was greatly burdened by the responsibility of not only winning souls to Christ, but teaching followers about Christ. He spent hours in the temple and teaching halls, once preaching so long a parishioner fell asleep and tumbled out of a window (Acts 20:7-12).
Paul’s prayers emphasize the urgency with which he wanted new Christians to be “rooted and established” in the love and knowledge of Christ. He knew firsthand how difficult the road of the cross is and what it took to be strengthened for the journey.
One way we can do this is to read our Bibles and pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance for discernment. I’ve heard many people say they don’t understand or wish they had a better grasp of the historical setting of the Bible or a deeper intellectual understanding of the basis of the Bible. Or they don’t know how to follow a particular topic thread through several books of the Bible. They yearn for answers, yet sadly, some Christians aren’t taught directly from the Bible in the churches they attend. Even when they are, time constraints of worship services don’t always allow for in-depth study to answer all of our questions.
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” 1 Peter 3:15a
While Peter’s admonition mainly refers to a Christian’s testimony, being able to have a dialogue with a non-believer or fellow Christian about the Bible’s origin or history or answer questions about our faith is imperative. We live in difficult times, as have most believers, and being saturated in God’s Word and having a clear understanding of it is not optional, if our faith is challenged. It also leads to a deeper relationship with God.
I’d like to share two reliable, time proven resources I’ve utilized in Bible study. These will take you deeper than many contemporary Bible studies. Think of these like having access to a Bible seminary on your computer.
J. Vernon McGee was a leading authority on the Bible during the mid to late 20th century. His program “Thru The Bible” is still heard worldwide and can be accessed through their website. The program methodically goes through the entire Bible in five years. That will give you an indication as to the depth of his teaching. Tons of free downloads including Bible book notes and outlines, study guides, and audio programs are available. All of his materials are designed in such a way that you can go through them on your own or along with his radio broadcasts. For years, I’ve listened to Dr. McGee, and his passion for Christ shines through all his teaching. His program can still be heard on some Christian radio stations including the Bible Broadcasting Network (BBN) out of Charlotte, NC. And speaking of BBN…
It’s my other recommended resource. Several years ago, this nationwide radio network added a Bible Institute to their website. Click here to access, then click "browse courses." I’ve taken a few of their courses after consulting my pastor as to their credibility. (I really had no doubt, but his endorsement made me feel better.) Whether it’s studying individual books, Bible characters, doctrine, end times, discipleship, relationships, leadership, etc., BBN Bible Institute has dozens of free classes to choose from, and you work at your own pace.
Please let me know if you decide to use one of these resources to deepen your Bible knowledge and how you liked it.
What Bible study have you participated in that you would recommend to others?
While you’re here, if you have a prayer request, I’d love to pray for you. Leave a comment or e-mail me confidential requests. There’s also a prayer list at the top of the blog if you’d like to join me in prayer for these needs.
© Laura Hodges Poole
Bible image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.