In this episode, we explore the value of Scripture and the motivation for studying it. We all do what we perceive to be best for us. Scripture helps unveil what is truly in our best interest. Fear often keeps us away from The Bible because we have been told there is condemnation in it. We have confused acceptance and approval. Clarifying that distinction is a key to unlocking the value of Scripture and the best process to approach it.
What made you passionate about Scripture and teaching about Scripture?
Our greatest fulfillment comes in doing what God created us to do. He made us to serve others by doing what we do best for their benefit. What is interesting about that is the Bible always presumes we’ll do what is in our own best interest. When it tells us to love our neighbor, it tells us to do it “as you love yourself”. It presumes a pursuit in self-interest and tells us to love others the same way. We easily see this in our lives and the lives of those around us – people seek what they perceive is best for them. And stewarding well, serving others, is in both our best interest and the most beneficial for those around us. So our problem is not in motivation; we don’t need to be taught to do what is best for us. The problem is our perception, truly understanding what is best for us. That is why The Yellow Balloons podcast is so focused on a true perspective – it is the key to everything.
The Great Commission calls us to steward our authority to baptize and teach obedience to others. This is our command – show the way to God (baptize) and show how to be fulfilled in God (obey his commands). The way we live is our greatest testimony – people see what we do and they see God (through our living and speaking). Understanding God’s word is an enormous help in that endeavor.
Unfortunately, The Bible has become shrouded in a lot of mystery. It is actually a pretty simple book with a pretty simple message. We bring our biases into it and that muddies the water. But it is a great benefit to people. It shows us the best way to live, how to get what we are truly after and serve one another.
What has been your experience and what is your process?
Initially, Scripture was an uncomfortable daily routine. Not really a happy thing, but an obligation to be done. There is a fear of finding condemnation in Scripture. This is a byproduct of not really understanding the difference between acceptance and approval. Acceptance is unconditional; approval is a consequence of doing what is right. But acceptance is not a consequence of approval; it is unconditional.
The word “save” in the Bible is used in a lot of ways. Not always about Heaven and hell. We’re often afraid of not being saved because of failings related to the approved list of behavior – and terrified the Bible will point that out. We import our assumption that “save” in Scripture always means from hell to Heaven. But meaning is determined through context. What is being delivered (saved) from what? Most of the time, the Bible is talking about being saved from bad consequences to good ones. When we discover this, there is no longer a need to lead with fear. It allows us to see Scripture as a way to celebrate life and live well.
Tim observes a four step process for studying Scripture:
1) Observe – what does it say.
2) Interpret – what does it mean. Most of us come looking for it to say what we already think; we are not really observing or interpreting; just validating. We ought to go to The Bible to listen rather than affirm what we already assume to be true.
3) Correlate – how does that fit with the context of the passage?
4) Apply – what does this mean for my life? What changes do I need to make?
***All study resources mentioned within the series can be found here.