I never have known the words that were adequate to reveal my appreciation for the Bible. It opens my window to God's mind. The words of human language are woefully inadequate to reveal the whole of God. Yet, God's revelation of Himself through human language exceeds our intellectual power to comprehend.

Just as Solomon realized that the universe was inadequate to contain God (1 Kings 8:27), I am in awe of the fact that human language is incapable of revealing all of God. This is the marvel: God used human language to reveal His existence, His love for us, and His will and purposes for us. He made our relationship with Him possible.

As a much younger Bible student, I thought that the essence of Bible study was discovering facts. The Bible was a factual document, and sound Bible study discovered and assimilated the facts. I felt confident--facts are simple to master.

I grew and matured. I now thought that the essence of Bible study was answering questions. The Bible answered questions. Properly focused Bible study searched for the right questions and their right answers. I felt confident--every question has a simple, obvious answer (I thought).

I grew and matured. I next thought that the essence of Bible study was solving problems. From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible addressed people problems. In good Bible study, you defined the problem, understood the problem, and allowed the Bible to address the problem. I felt confident. Facts and questions are simpler than problems, but (I was certain) any problem can be understood and addressed.

I grew and matured. I began understanding that the essence of Bible study is to learn how to live. God was and is concerned about the way we use life. I began seeing that God wants us to use life in particular ways. If our personal world is tragic, unjust, filled with suffering, defined by hardship, burdened with struggle, or provided advantage and opportunity, God wants us to use life His way. Regardless of the circumstances in our personal worlds, life has the same basic objectives.

Good Bible study constantly leads the person to new levels of understanding and insight about how to live. Bible study is the endless quest of learning how to use life. Learning how to use life is not simple. In fact, it is extremely complex. It involves using your understanding each day in every situation. Constant requirements are faith and an open mind. And the more I understand, the less I know. God's mind continually awakens me to my spiritual immaturity.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 20 April 1997

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