For the word of God is alive and active... ~Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)
When all your favorite preachers are gone, and all their books forgotten, you will have your Bible. Master it. Master it. ~John Piper
A new year brings for many new resolutions. For some of us it may be to not just read, but study God's word. For a renewed passion for this ancient, holy book that breaths and speaks to us.
One pastor likened the studying of scripture to scuba diving versus snorkeling. The two might as well be cousins, except for one glaring, fundamental difference: depth. Snorkelers can enjoy the the surface view and see a great deal of beauty whilst skimming the waves: colorful fish, vibrant corals, and swishing seaweed. An enjoyable experience to be sure, but snorkeling is also easy. If we were to hit the warm beaches, the instructor would give a couple directions--five-minutes top--before releasing us with our goggles to explore the water's veneer.
Scuba diving on the other hand, requires some training on the person's part. All training requires time, effort, and intentionality, but it almost always reaps the greater reward. A far different vantage point is that of the sea diver: They plunge into the ocean's depths to experience and witness the life abounding there. They swim at a different rhythm. They become immersed in that which those who float on the surface only glimpse at vicariously. They are the ones who uncover the treasures hidden at the depths, which cannot be genuinely known to the snorkeler. The greater the depth, the richer the experience. It's not possible any other way.
So it is when it comes to studying the Bible. Those who stick to reef-level will see and appreciate the wonder and beauty there, but those who are intentional and put in the effort, reap deeper realities and treasures. We have our reasons for sticking with our snorkeling ware, because it's comfortable, nice, and has little challenge to it. Diving takes training to do it well, but diving into scripture means seeing life at a deeper level.
I certainly want to take that time to train, so that I can dive in... so I can adventure in God's Word. Throughout these cold winter months, I hope you'll join me with this series on how to study scripture ourselves, no matter how "seasoned" you may think you are in the discipline. Deeper still we can go, and exhausting the exploration of these depths is impossible.