Studying the bible should be a HUGE part of the life of a believer. I said, "HUGE!" :in my best Donald Trump voice:
The reason is simple:
God uses His Word to reveal Himself to us.
Have you ever come across something inspirational on FB or IG that seems like it was written just for you? A gentle reminder or message of love that felt like a handwritten note addressed just to you, meeting you right where you are in that moment? Don't you just love how God does that? That, my friend, is grace in real life.
Usually when that happens I take it a step further. I pray for the Holy Spirit to show me a scripture that drives home the truth of God for where I am. Because as good as FB and IG posts are, nothing has the power to transform us like the Word of God. This week I saw:
And it got me thinking about the sovereignty of God. If you were to look up the word sovereign, it speaks of ultimate, absolute, and unrestricted supremacy. Sounds like God to me!
One of my favorite ways to study scripture is through a process called "verse mapping." When you map a bible verse, it involves more than simply reading it. This method allows you to dig into the verse so you can really digest it and let its meaning pierce your heart, and in turn, transform your life (See: Romans 10:17).
Verse mapping can get really intense, but for me it involves looking carefully at the word choice, Hebrew/Greek translations, and definitions. I'm BIG on contextual definitions (See: 2 Timothy 3:16). When I'm mapping I break the text down and then rebuild it.
Let's map out 1 Chronicles 29:11, KJV.
Read It: choose a version and then take a look at 1-2 other versions.
"Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all."
Examine It: What are the key words/phrases?
Instantly some key words should jump out. Here's what we notice in this verse. In addition to the KJV, both the NIV and the NLT (my personal favorite) use the same adjectives to describe God's sovereignty:
Greatness. Power. Glory. Victory. Majesty.
Define It: What does each word really mean?
Grab a dictionary and a concordance and dig a little deeper.
Greatness: dignity, distinct
Power: might, strength
Glory: beauty, honor
Victory: enduring, eminence
Majesty: splendor, excellence
Apply It: What is the real-time application of the verse?
When we put it all together we see that God is greater, more powerful, more glorious, more victorious, and more majestic than we could ever imagine. And as if that wasn't enough, He holds everything in His hands.
We may not understand the "whys." We may not have all of the answers. We may not know what the future holds. But we do know that we can rest in the One who has it all under control.
"We adore you as the One who is over all things." 1 Chronicles 29:11
We serve a God who has no limitations. Zero. Zilch. Nada. He is the ultimate source of all authority. He reigns with all greatness, power, glory, victory, and majesty.
He rules with love. He covers with grace. He inspires with hope.
Once our minds grab ahold of these amazing truths, our hearts and souls are compelled to bow before the King of kings. Understand that everything you face, whether good, bad, ugly, or indifferent, is ALL under His control and will ALL work for your benefit in the end! (See: Romans 8:28)
No matter what difficulty, hardship, or uncertainty you may be facing right now, take comfort in knowing that when you map it all out, God is sovereign. That's a promise that you can take to the bank.
When's the last time you really studied a verse? Try it today. Grab a highlighter and a dictionary and dig into the Word of God!