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4 L's of Text-Driven Bible Study: Look Up To God

This article is part one of a four-part series covering the 4 L's of Text-Driven Bible Study.

Picking up a Bible can be quite intimidating. There are so many pages, the format is quite different from any other book, and there are words and phrases that seem impossible to understand. If you have thought this way about the Bible, you are not alone. As a pastor, these are some of the rebuttals that I often get from my church members about studying the Bible.

My goal over the next four weeks is to help calm your nerves, ease your worry, and give you some practical help about how you can study the Bible with confidence. The method that I am going to teach you is what is called the "4 L’s of Text-Driven Bible Study." However, before we get into the details of the method, let me give you some overview information about your Bible.

The Bible is God's revelation of Himself so that we might know Him. It is truly remarkable to think that we can know God. Not only can we know Him, we can know Him well. For God desires for us to know Him. He desires to know us to such an extent that He took time to reveal Himself to us through, what we call, the Bible.

The Bible is organized into two testaments. A testament is another word for covenant. You have the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament is God revealing to us His creation, His law, and His distinct love for Israel. Through God’s love for Israel, He brought hope and salvation to the entire world (Genesis 12). There are 39 books that comprise the Old Testament. The New Testament is God’s particular revelation concerning His Son, Jesus (Hebrews 1). In what is known as the Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – we read the historical account of the life of Jesus. Also, in the New Testament, we learn about God’s plan for His people. This plan is explained through the church. For the church is God’s plan for accomplishing His work throughout the world today. There are 27 books that comprise the New Testament. In totality, God has revealed Himself to you and me through 66 books.

Now that we have some of the basics, let’s begin looking at the 4 L’s of Text-Driven Bible Study. Here are the four L’s:

Look up to God
Listen to God
Learn from God
Live with God

We are going to look at the first “L” in this article, “Look up to God.”

Bible Study begins with prayer. I know that sounds too simplistic; however, you would be amazed at how many people begin their Bible studies yet they neglect prayer. Why must we “Look” up to God in prayer before starting our Bible Study? The simple answer is that we need to ask for His help. Studying the Bible is an act of humility. For we have to recognize that without God, we can do nothing (John 15). Therefore, we start our Bible Study by asking God to help us know Him.

The Bible is replete with examples, which admonish believers to ask God for His help when studying Scripture. For instance, Psalm 119:18 says, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.” The Psalmist is asking God to “open” his eyes so that he might know God through the Bible.

We can all remember good teachers and bad teachers from our childhood. The good teachers were those who were able to take the difficult subject matters and make them easy to understand. The good teachers would tutor us when we were struggling to comprehend. The bad teachers were those who did not really teach. They often put on movies or said things like, “Just read the textbook” or “Google it…I am too busy.” If you ever had a bad teacher, then I am sure you were discouraged.

The good news is that we have the best teacher when we study the Bible. For our Teacher is God’s Spirit. When we “Look” up to God, we are submitting ourselves to God’s Spirit who then becomes our teacher of the Truth. Consider these remarkable passages:

  • John 14:26 - “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

  • John 16:13 - “When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth, for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will declare to you the things that are to come.”

  • 1 Corinthians 2:12 - “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.”

As these verses demonstrate, we have the greatest teacher – God’s Spirit. Therefore, when we “Look” up to God in prayer to start our Bible Study, we are in essence entering into the Holy Spirit’s classroom and waiting for His instruction.

The first step of the 4 L’s of Text-Driven Bible Study is to “Look up to God.” We do this through prayer as we ask God to help us know Him. Here is what I want you to do. I want you to take time before you begin your Bible Study and pray. Write out your prayer to God asking Him to help you understand the biblical passage that you want to study. In your prayer, take the posture of a student. For God’s Spirit is our teacher and we are just humble students who are eager to learn.

For more information regarding the first L of Text-Driven Bible Study, Look Up To God, listen to the Text-Driven Podcast episode from September 4, 2023.


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