Green Aeroplane

Which wing is most important?

Friday, July 14, 2006

Using the Flight Manual

Now we are in the plane with our Captain. He again checks the basics of the plane's structure. He places His special manual, the
Bible, in our lap. He looks out the cockpit window at our Bible wing. 'Looks a bit thin', He says. He looks kindly at us as we fumble with His book. 'Do you know how to read and use it?' He asks. 'Knowing and using your flight manual is essential for sustained flight, and everything I say to you - the words I speak to you in this Book, are spirit and life.' (John 6:63 2 Timothy 3:16.))

We sit and think about it. By now we have a user-friendly version of the Bible with print big enough to make reading easy.
Then we check what we know about reading and understanding the Bible for ourselves.(2 Timothy 2:15.) We could ask ourselves these questions:

How often have I opened my Bible today and read it?
What part of the Bible am I reading and why?
Am I reading a Gospel regularly so I can get to know the Lord Jesus better?
Or am I reading an Epistle so I can learn how to be a Christian; how to behave and grow in the fruit of the Spirit; how to witness and learn what the Gospel is 1 (Peter 2:2).

Or am I in the Old Testament, reading Genesis about Creation, or Isaiah about the coming Saviour? Or Psalms for encouragement and comfort?

Which books of the Bible have I never read?

Sidlow Baxter, a preacher and teacher of the 1950s, said 'to get to know the full person of Christ you need to read the whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation. If you only read your favourite portions you only see the Lord's hands or feet, not his whole person or Godhead.'

Anywhere in the Bible is good to read, and even in some of the 'hard' books the Holy Spirit can help you get something out of it (Jn 14:26). The important thing is to read some of the Bible every day and ask it questions to help you understand what you read.

One way to get an understanding of the Bible is to ask it questions. Take the portion you are reading today and ask:

Where is this taking place?
Who is speaking in these verses?
Who else is there?
Is this message for me or for the people of the day, or for both of us?
Is there a sin to avoid?
Is there a promise to pray for my situation?
What can I learn about the character of God or my relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ?
Is there a verse to memorise and share with others or pray for others?
How does this apply to my life and situation?
Is there an example to follow?
Is there a command to obey?

Ask the portion you are reading any question you can think of - the answer will be in the Scripture - if not where you are reading it will be elsewhere. Get a concordance and look it up or ask another Christian to help you. If you have a cheap version of the Bible you won't mind marking verses that really stand out to you. Some folks use a paper-friendly marker pen for this, others make a mark by the verse. I get a pen and mark the verse number. I keep a better Bible free of marks for showing truths to others - less distracting. Our Bible is a work manual. It contains the words of life and much necessary life instruction,(Hebrews 4:12.)Use it as students use their text books. Read it, study it, memorise it,listen to it, and meditate on it. Meditation means think deeply about a verse or passage with a view to applying it to your life.

Another question to ask is, do I feel near to the Lord Jesus at the moment or far away? In Philippians 4:4 he says, 'Let your gentleness be evident to all the Lord is near'. If we feel distant from the Lord, guess who moved! Somehow. we have gone to the back of the plane and are not by Him in the cockpit. To get back up front and near the Captain keep your nose in His manual, the Bible, and talk to Him daily.

But what do you say to Him when you are in His company? More next time.

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