Friday, September 03, 2010

Motivating people (young mothers in particular) to study the Bible

The lovely Carol was planning to discuss this topic today, and I jotted down the below. She encouraged me to post it, so here it is....
Why is it that we think this is important? If we can answer that, maybe our answers will have counterparts that resonate with these young mothers.

First, without understanding the Bible, I won't recognize truth vs. lies. If someone says something, either explicitly or implicitly (think advertising), how can I tell whether it's true or not? Yes, I have rational intuition, but I've been wrong before. Acts 17:11 is a New Testament example of this. I also think of Josiah (2 Kings 22:10-13) vs Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 36:23-27).

Second, and this is related to the first, I read about guys who completely went off the rails: David with Bathsheba, Solomon going off into idolatry, many many evil kings of Israel and Judah -- or in the present day, politicians and celebrity golfers and preachers and CEOs getting into adultery and embezzlement. To tell the truth, I'm a little afraid of going off the rails myself. Think of it -- David, the man after God's own heart, made some catastrophic decisions that cost many lives, not to mention betrayal and disgrace. If David could go off the rails, so could I! I'm going to guess that if David had been reading and studying the word, this might have helped him to steer around that temptation.

Third -- and as I think of this, I wonder if this might be the thing that works for these young mothers -- there is a lot to figure out in life, many little decisions, and sometimes I don't know how to decide them. What I need is a word from the Lord. So something as simple as reading a passage and asking:

  • Does the passage mention a SIN I need to forsake?
  • Or a COMMAND I need to obey?
  • Or an ERROR to avoid?
  • Perhaps a NEW THOUGHT about God or my relationship to him?
  • Is there an EXAMPLE for me to follow?
(the initials spell out SCENE)

Fourth, studying the Bible -- including its historical context etc. -- has given me a clearer idea of God's amazing love. "The Bible is God's love letter to us" -- I heard that many times, but when I understood what Genesis 1 was about, well, it still almost brings tears when I think about what wonderful news this must have been to its hearers. The good news about God begins with the first line of the first book of the Old Testament, but I never appreciated that until I heard about the Enuma Elish and its great contrast with Genesis 1.

Well, that's a half-hour's worth of thought on the subject. I read and study the Bible because this activity gives me a better idea of God's love, because I need help and guidance, to avoid going off the rails, and to be able to discern truth.

Don't know how well those will resonate, but anyway there it is.

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