Better is One Day
One day with God is better than a thousand elsewhere. That’s three years. This morning I spent a half day with God, so that was only better than a year and a half doing anything else.
I sang some songs, I read Galatians 2, I went on a prayer walk with Dora the beagle and prayed through Psalm 42, and then I decided to read Proverbs. That was the highlight. I only made it through the first four chapters, but I was very motivated again to renew a disciplined pursuit of wisdom. Chapter 2 says that if we will memorize Scripture, pray, and study, then wisdom will enter our hearts and knowledge will be pleasant to our souls. And then, once wisdom is your delight and your soul is satisfied, you will be delivered from evil men and forbidden women.
Here’s an excerpt from a Fall 2002 sermon on Proverbs 2:
Our small groups in this church are not Bible studies. We don’t apologize for that, we believe that our small group time is best used encouraging one another, confessing our sins to one another, praying for one another. So studying the Bible is something that must be an individual discipline for us. Charles Bridges in his commentary on this verse writes that the real profit of Bible study can only be reaped in retirement. We may read the Scriptures in company, but to search them, we must be alone with God.
I’m coming to believe that the multitude of Bible study helps available to us in this generation has actually weakened our ability to do personal Bible study. We’ve come to believe that we need some big library or some special technique to study the Bible. But I want to commend to you a simpler approach. Just get alone with a Bible and a pen and paper and start in on a book. Write down key repeated words and phrases, try to make an outline of the book, look for the macrostructure of the narrative or of the argument. And then when you think of questions that you can’t yet answer, start searching the Scriptures for other verses that will shine light on the one you are studying. Here’s where I would urge you to have a Bible with cross references down the middle so that you can follow a thought throughout the Bible. If you prayerfully persist in that search, God is going to bless you.
This kind of study does take time. This is a different discipline than your daily meditation on the word. In my experience, I find Bible study really kicks in about the middle of the second hour. So let me encourage you to try this. Get out your date book and make a two hour date with God once a month. And get alone with Him with nothing but your Bible, pen and paper and start searching.
And here’s a link to more Proverbs sermons: link