Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Three Characteristics of Bible Study

Well, semester averages have been calculated and final letter grades have been assigned. It is now left to thank God and my students for a wonderful semester. On Monday, I did my best to communicate to them how deeply I appreciated their diligence in class this semester. I thought of the three Greek words Paul uses in 1 Thess. 1:3 to describe his readers in Thessalonica. He thanks them for "your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ." Here are the Greek words Paul uses for "work," "labor," and "endurance." 

Is learning Greek work? Absolutely. But it's more than just work. It's hard work. It's "labor." And this work requires endurance, perseverance, consistency, steadfastness -- however you want to translate the Greek hupomonÄ“. By the grace of God, these students of mine worked, and worked hard. Furthermore, they endured to the final exam and have now acquired the ability to read their Greek New Testaments with the use of a dictionary. Kudos to them. They offered God their time, their talents, their treasures, their worship. These are the proven keys to success. My prayer for them from now on is for a perpetual incense to burn in their hearts. If one thing is clear to them after 2 semesters of Greek, I hope it is this: Hearing God's voice is possible only when we read and obey his word. The end. We simply cannot manipulate God to speak to us when we ignore the means he has provided for us to do that -- the study of his word. Add in Greek, and Bible study becomes a divine opportunity to commune with God at a depth most of us have never experienced. That's exactly why we study Greek and Hebrew. That is why we work at the languages, and why we work hard at them, and why we persevere. 

The Bible has the power to speak into our circumstances, every single one of them. Our job is to open it. There are 774,000 words in there. And all of them were meant for us. 

Will you be such a reader?