One of the most important exercises to help me gain insight into the book of the Bible that I'm about to start reading is to read the background information of the book. The background material would include, among other pertinent information, the date of writing, a discussion of who the author is, the purpose and main themes that are present in the text.
I just completed my reading of the Pentateuch, and I'm starting to read Joshua. As I began to read the background of Joshua, I came across the following guidelines. The author thoughts resonated within my mind. I saw value in them and want to share with others how to enter into the Biblical text.
The message of Joshua can encourage and have a wonderful impact on one’s life. For that to occur, however, we need to be serious in our study of Scripture. For those who want the message of Joshua to positively influence their lives for God, the following four words are offered as food for thought:
The psalmist wrote, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” (Psalm 42:1-2, NIV). Sadly, men too often seek to fill the void in their souls with things that never truly satisfy. We were all created with a void that only God Himself can satisfy. The psalmist recognized this and after the analogy of the deer thirsting for water, spoke of the thirst in his soul that only God could fill. But then there was the question, “When can I go and meet with God?” One time and place where we can do just that is in our Bible study. The most effective Bible study occurs when we study out of a thirst to know God. May it be so as we study the book of Joshua.
In our fast foods, mall-oriented society where we expect everything to be quick and easy, we too often approach our Bible study in the same way. Effective Bible study is hard work and requires diligence as in anything worthwhile if we want to accomplish much. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).
We can heat a cup of water in a microwave in a minute and quickly mix a tablespoon of our favorite instant coffee and have something hot to drink, but the greatest blessing usually comes from meditating, reading, and spending time in God’s precious book.
Again, in a world so full of man’s ideas, theologies, ideologies, and philosophies, we will get the most when we come to the Scripture with a teachable spirit asking God to teach us His truth, for it is His truth and only His truth that sanctifies and sets us free (John 17:17; 8:32).
As you read this study, hopefully with your Bible in hand, may these four ‘Ts’ be in your mind and heart. (1)
I want to do all I can to remember and apply these actions to my daily Bible reading. As I strive to lead the most important people on earth, the people of God, I'm constantly reminding myself that I need God's wisdom to take them where He wants them to go. His Word is a lamp unto my feet and light unto my path (Psalm 119:105).