Listening to God in Scripture

Avoid these common errors in studying God’s Word.

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“Many of us do not know how to listen to the voice of God in Scripture, because we were trained to view the Bible as a series of verses strung together like pearls on a string, each having its own meaning in itself. We were trained to resort to that treasure trove whenever we felt a need for something from it, plucking the gem that satisfies our quest at the moment,” says John H. Stek. How can Christians remain open to God’s message while studying Scripture? Do topical studies really glean the truth?

Table of Contents

SCRIPTURE: Psalm 37:4; Jeremiah 1:5; Matthew 19:3–9; 22:23–32, 41–46; John 8:31–47; Acts 17:26–29; Ephesians 3:20; Hebrews 12:9


    • The Issue

Sample questions:

How has dividing Scripture into chapter and verse misled readers?

What is wrong with using Scripture to find out about a certain topic?

What do we do first in studying a particular book of the Bible?
    • The Scriptures

Sample Scriptures:

John 8:31–47: What determines whether we rightly hear the Word of God or not?

Matthew 19:3–9: How did the Pharisees hear only the parts of Scripture they wanted to hear?

    • The Application

Sample application questions:

Do you read whole books of the Bible at a time? Do you sometimes find yourself using the “string of pearls” method?

What can you do to be sure your mind is open to God’s teaching? How can you come to a topic of study without being hampered by preconceived ideas?

    • Interrogating the Bible, by John H. Stek.

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