6/08/2015

Sola Scriptura

The last week consisted of long car rides, muddy adventures, late nights, and most importantly, Jesus. Yes, as I last posted about, I spent the last few days at Summer Church Camp. And as always when spending a great amount of time with Jesus and Jesus-followers, I learned so much and can't wait to share it with y'all! (That would be my Southern language showing through.)

This year, we focused on something of great power and yet great grace. We learned about something so accessible yet often overlooked. We dug into truths found long ago and built new foundations upon Jesus to stand upon. I talk about scripture, the Bible, God's Word. And I loved it! 

Sola Scriptura means "by scripture alone" in latin, and it provided the theme for this year's Church Camp. We learned of the Bible's authenticity and reliability, both in truth and in factual evidence. We reminded ourselves of God's overarching story of grace from Genesis to Revelation. We also humbled ourselves in recognizing Jesus as the central part of the story, the hero of every circumstance. 

But right now, I want to share with you a practical tool to understanding scripture and seeing Jesus more clearly. I want to refocus your time in God's Word with four simple but powerful questions that place our priorities in the right place. Even during the few days that I've been back, these questions have ushered in a new way of looking at scripture, and I pray that they aid you as much as they aided me!

(Disclaimer: I did not come up with these questions. The wonderful speaker for our camp enlightened me to this way of looking at scripture. Below are his concepts and my interpretations and applications for the questions he asked.)

1. Who is God? 

When reading a passage in the Bible, start with God. 

I know that this sounds simple, but think. How often do we like to start with us? How many times do we read the Bible in order to gain knowledge, pride ourselves on our spiritual understanding, or just to check off something on our to-do list? When I started thinking about this, I felt convicted that I can often start with me, when God should start everything!

But how do we start with God? Don't worry, it's not as hard as we might think. To start with God, read a passage of the Bible and find an attribute, characteristic, or movement of God in those words. Since God wrote inspired and dictated every word of the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16), we won't have to look long to find something divine. 

For example, take Leviticus 21:7-8: 

"Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the LORD your God. Keep my decrees and follow them. I am the LORD, who makes you holy." 

In these two verses, set in the context of God giving His people the covenant of the Law, who is God? 

He is the LORD. 

He is God, holy and righteous. 

But He is also loving and caring, demonstrated in the very fact that He gives such a Law to sinful humans in the first place. 

This demonstrates how we search for God first when reading scripture. 


2. What had He done (in Christ)?

Just like the first question, we keep our focus on God here as well, but this time we look for how God moves and where He goes. We pay attention to His kingdom moving, especially His Redemption Story. Let's look at Leviticus again. 

"Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the LORD your God. Keep my decrees and follow them. I am the LORD, who makes you holy." 

What is God doing here? 

He commands. 

He leads. 

He makes us holy, by His grace. 

Wow! 

But these actions only point to a greater covenant, a greater Law, and a holier Way. They all point to Jesus. The Bible surprises us again and again with how much of it points to Jesus, but this shouldn't surprise us at all because, duh, Jesus stands at the center of this story, the hero of it all. Man, thing get exciting now! 

3. Who am I? 

Now we can start to think about who we are. First, we established who God is and what He has done, but now we have to figure out where we fit in; who are we in the story? Where does our identity stand? 

"Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the LORD your God. Keep my decrees and follow them. I am the LORD, who makes you holy." 

We are the ones who needed consecration, the ones who needed a Savior. We are the ones who couldn't live holy lives apart from God's grace, but we are also the ones whom God speaks to, the ones whom God cares about. 

We are the needy. 

We are the loved. 


4. What should I do

And now, at the last, we respond. We have found out who God is, what He is doing, and who we are in Him, but what does this change? What does this have to do with us? 

Let me tell you, the Bible, if you let it, can change everything! 

"Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the LORD your God. Keep my decrees and follow them. I am the LORD, who makes you holy." 

What do we do? We live holy lives, and we obey God's commands. We know that we cannot live this life by ourselves, so we depend upon Jesus, who not only provided a way for us to travel to salvation but became the Way so that He may come to us and then bring us to Him. Mind-blowing! 

And in response to such holiness and grace, we live. And in this life, we serve the one who gives us breath. Inhale. Grace. Exhale. Worship. 

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience." (Colossians 3:12)

This expresses our response, our pathway of action following our belief. 

And then the real excitement happens. Then we can start to live and apply the truths discovered in God's Word, and Jesus make us look a bit more like Him. Small steps. Four questions. Ten minutes. Whispered prayers. Grace coming to us. Wonder among us. 

I pray that you begin to understand God's power and grace through scripture with greater clarity and joy, whether you use these questions or not. I pray that you recognize Jesus as the center of not only the Bible but the whole world and that this prompts you to live for His glory because of His grace! Please comment below how you approach studying God's Word. And feel free to ask questions and start discussions! God's grace be with you all, 

Princess Hannah

6 comments:

  1. These are amazing questions to ask yourself!!! I am writing these down and sticking them in my Bible.:) Thank you so much for posting these!!!
    Xoxo
    Grace Anne
    http://totallygraced.blogspot.com

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    1. I know! These questions blew my mind when I heard them too!

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  2. "4. What should I do?" <--- I've been thinking about this for quite some time now, in relation to God's plan for me, but I'm not sure. When I do find my Bible (my parents keep a hold of all of the Bibles in the house, but they don't know where they are) I will reflect back on this post!

    xoxo Morning

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    1. This question often stumps me too, but trust comes into play when we realize that even if we don't know what to do, God always does!

      And you can always use on-line Bibles or download the Bible app on your phone.

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  3. Hannah, Thank you for sharing these questions and verses to go along them. Sometimes reading the Bible can seem routine and it becomes easy to lose out on all the wonderful things God has packed into it.... But in stopping to ask these questions it helps refocus and enrich time in the word.

    How encouraging your summer camp must have been, thank you for sharing what you learned!
    xx

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    1. Thank you very much for your comment of encouraging words! I agree with you that the Bible can become a habit more than a life-source, and I pray that these questions help you and others get to know the amazing truths of Jesus! :)

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