Study

It is really quite simple: a real student really studies.
For twelve years or so each American is more or less forced to be a student. However each student retains the option to study or not to study. Many of us studied just enough to get by. My own high school scholarship was based on interest: if I was interested in the subject, I studied. My grades testified of this eloquently. I was blessed that in my college and post graduate studies I was interested in everything! My grades testified of this, also.

True study takes motivation.
To study against one’s will is not to really study at all. Such students learn things long enough to pass the test and then they quickly forget most of what they “studied.” Motivation to study springs from interest in something. When this is the case we don’t even think of it study—we are just having fun, learning about something we really want to know about.

Today we have so many study tools to help us learn:

  • books, magazines and the libraries where they are found; the internet and EBooks and
  • documentaries on DVD, and computer programs containing amazing amounts of information.

It is practically true that we can study anything all on our own without ever setting foot in a classroom.

The unknown composer of what we know as Psalm 119 makes this intriguing statement: “Your decrees are my study.” We would have to say that this is an unusual hobby! There is no way to know why the Psalmist is so interested in the Law of the Lord for it to command his interest.

  • Perhaps his job was to prepare and present the music of worship and he wanted to make sure that his songs were full of truth.
  • It could be the composer simply loved the God he worshiped.

Study and Passion
This is more than a vocational, professional study; I see true passion in these words.

  • When he read, he read the Law.
  • When he settled into deep thought, he meditated on the Law.
  • When he met with friends, they discussed the Law.
  • When he walked through life making all the routine decisions that life demanded, he made those decisions based the Law he had studied.

His study of the Law shaped his life.

For us there is a difference between Bible reading and Bible study.

  • Bible reading is a devotional. It is an essential part of daily prayer. We read in several places each day: the Psalms, the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Gospel. We read prayerfully listening for the voice of the Lord in our hearts making application of the Word.
  • Bible study is topical. We research the Scriptures seeking to understand God’s will about a certain topic. Also we can study a certain author or a certain history. This is more than reading, this is compare and contrast, letting scripture interpret scripture. Bible study requires tools that are available today on the computer: commentaries, dictionaries, study Bibles, concordances and other helps. It is not difficult to study the Word of God.

The motivating factor makes the difference.
The Lord can give us the gift of a love for His Word. Like the Psalmist, it can be our study.

  • When we read, we read the Word.
  • When we settle into deep thought, we meditated on the Word.
  • When we meet with friends, we discuss the Word.
  • When we walk through life we make decisions based the Word we have studied.

Through our study of the Word, the Lord shapes our life.

It is really quite simple: a real student really studies.

Scriptures:
Psalm 119: 97-112
Oh, how I love your law! all the day long it is in my mind. Your commandment has made me wiser than my enemies, and it is always with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your decrees are my study. I am wiser than the elders, because I observe your commandments. I restrain my feet from every evil way, that I may keep your word. I do not shrink from your judgments, because you yourself have taught me. How sweet are your words to my taste! they are sweeter than honey to my mouth. Through your commandments I gain understanding; therefore I hate every lying way. Your word is a lantern to my feet and a light upon my path. I have sworn and am determined to keep your righteous judgments….Your decrees are my inheritance for ever; truly, they are the joy of my heart. I have applied my heart to fulfill your statutes for ever and to the end.
Ezra 7:8-10 NIV
Ezra arrived in Jerusalem in the fifth month of the seventh year of the king. He had begun his journey from Babylon on the first day of the first month, and he arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month, for the gracious hand of his God was on him. For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.
2 Timothy 2:15 KJV
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Psalm 119:9-11 NIV
How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I want this day to count for something so I will begin with a study of Your Word. Throughout this day, I will make my life a laboratory of study as I put Your Word to the test in my thoughts, intentions, and deeds. When this day ends, I will report to You in prayer my findings—Your Word is true and reliable for it stands the laboratory test of daily living; it holds up under close scrutiny, and it continuously reveals truth both old and new. By contrast, I will see the shallow philosophies of this world, the endless circles people without You must run, and the impenetrable darkness the wisdom of this world offers to those who can study nothing else. I will arise and shine for Your Light has come and it covers me. Thank You, Lord. Amen.

Song:
More about Jesus
Words: Eliza E, Hewitt 1887; Music: John R. Sweney

1. More about Jesus would I know,
More of His grace to others show;
More of His saving fullness see,
More of His love Who died for me.

Refrain:
More, more about Jesus,
More, more about Jesus;
More of His saving fullness see,
More of His love Who died for me.

2. More about Jesus let me learn,
More of His holy will discern;
Spirit of God, my teacher be,
Showing the things of Christ to me.

Refrain

3. More about Jesus; in His Word,
Holding communion with my Lord;
Hearing His voice in every line,
Making each faithful saying mine.

Refrain

4. More about Jesus; on His throne,
Riches in glory all His own;
More of His kingdom’s sure increase;
More of His coming, Prince of Peace.
Refrain

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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