THE WONDERFUL THINGS YOU’LL DISCOVER!  Sharings from Marja:

 

Thirsty for knowledge?

Having trouble understanding sermons you’ve heard at church?

Want to know more?

Wondering if everything you read in my posts is biblically sound?

 

It’s a good idea to check further on your own.  Doing so is not hard at all, nor is it boring. In fact, it’s an adventure to find the many treasures your Bible holds, maybe some you never realized. Although reading books is excellent, you don’t need to read great volumes to gain spiritual wisdom. Spending time with the internet for bits and pieces that interest you will take you a long way.

A warning though. Not everything on the internet is reliable. You will have to be judicious in the material you select to study. Don’t waste time on sources that may not represent your own faith. Some websites have amateurish designs, reflecting viewpoints that might not be as well-informed as others.

Explore to your heart’s content. By doing this, I have personally gained much understanding of Scripture over the years. It has helped me develop the devotionals I send out. When ideas germinate within me, I develop them by doing such searches – bouncing from one site to another to see what others have to say. I always find the process enjoyable. When I focus on a topic I’m interested in, the learning process becomes all consuming. It’s hard to tear myself away.

If you’re a facilitator of a peer support group, exploring Scripture like this can help you prepare material to present to your group. Consider your needs; consider the needs of your group. What has God said about them? Where can you find his best words of comfort and encouragement?

Here are just a very few examples of topics you might want to google. The possibilities are endless.

  • what is grace?
  • humility and pride
  • Jesus and his character
  • repentance and forgiveness
  • suffering and transformation
  • King David, Solomon, etc.
  • Bible passages

When you do a search, there are at least three types of sources you might want to look at. Add one of these to your google request. For example: “humility and pride sermon” or “humility and pride scripture.”

  • Scripture
  • sermon
  • commentaries

 

ABOUT SCRIPTURE:

The original manuscripts that became the Bible we have today were written in Hebrew and Greek (with a few sections in Aramaic). Translations make it possible for us to read and understand it in our own language.

From www.exploregod.com:

“There are dozens of different translations of the Bible, often known by their abbreviations: King James Version (KJV); New International Version (NIV); English Standard Version (ESV); New Revised Standard Version (NRSV); New Living Translation (NLT)—the list goes on and on.

“Each of these translations is valuable. Some Bible readers appreciate the formal approach of the ESV or KJV. Others have turned to The Message to get a fresh perspective on the ancient collection of books that makes up the Bible. Many find the accuracy and readability of the NIV most appealing. Whichever translation you choose, the words will be easy enough to understand. It is the meaning of those words that you will have to wrestle with!”

The wordings used in the translations may give passages a slightly different slant. That doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It’s only a different way to say pretty well the same thing. By checking different translations you should be able to find one that will best help you understand the meaning.

A good way to check how a piece of Scripture reads in different translations is to go to www.biblegateway.com.  At the top of the opening page enter the passage you’re interested in. To the right, it is easy to click on any number of translations.

 

ABOUT COMMENTARIES:

The following is part of Mel Lawrenz’ How to study the Bible series at Bible Gateway.

(https://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2016/02/how-to-use-bible-commentaries/)

“Serious Bible study will always involve reading the insights we gain from commentaries on the Bible. There are different kinds of commentaries for different purposes, and we ought to use them at select times in the process of study, but the use of commentaries is essential.

“A Bible commentary is an explanation of the biblical text by someone (usually a scholar) who has immersed himself or herself in the language, context, and form of biblical texts. The Bible commentator delivers to us details that we simply don’t have by the simple reading of Scripture, like archaeological discoveries, historical details, linguistic particularities, and details about geography and culture.”

 

FINDING SERMONS:

Sermon Central is an invaluable resource, providing sermons on every imaginable topic. When you scan the previews you will see the preacher’s denomination and the Scripture passages used in the sermon. The ratings given for each sermon will help you decide which you would like to start with. Go to https://www.sermoncentral.com/

When you google your topic, followed by sermon, you will find many others.

Such a smorgasbord!

If you’re interested in reading sermons on a topic, don’t stop at only one. Every writer/preacher handles topics in a different way. Go exploring. Some sermons might not appeal to you as much as others. Some may inspire you in a big way. Check what you read against your Bible. Does what you’re studying satisfy your understanding? If not, you should probably do some more investigating.

 

ARE YOU READY TO BEGIN?

I hope what I’ve shared here will whet your appetite. I hope exploring your Bible in this way will be as enjoyable for you as it has been for me. And I pray that you will find yourself growing in your understanding of the words God has for you.