September 1: Philippians 1
1) key verses – v. 6 (key to Christian life), v. 12, v. 21
2) Paul talks a lot about suffering and how he uses it to grow and to win others rather than to get discouraged. He bases his entire life on Christ.
3) applications: v. 3 – I should be thankful for Christian friends. v. 6 – God has put me here, and I must trust Him to work in my life and provide for me. v. 12-14 – I should not cause trials to make me complain and gripe and have a bad attitude. I should accept them from God as ways to help me grow. v. 21 – I need to try to make Christ my purpose for living, and not always dwell on other things. He should be my everything. v. 27 – I should eliminate things in my life that are not becoming to a Christian – i.e. attitudes, bad language, griping, strife with others.
When I started to read the Bible for myself, someone gave me very simple guidance to help my time be profitable. She encouraged me to get a notebook, choose a book of the Bible, read a chapter each day, and write down what I learned. Each day I wrote down key verses from the passage, a brief summary of the passage, and personal applications.
This simple plan was effective, because it helped me to do the three important things mentioned in my previous blog entry. It helped me to read with direction, as I read through a book from start to finish. It helped me to read with comprehension. In order to write a summary, I had to understand what I was reading. It also helped me to read with purpose, as I looked for key verses and for how the passage should affect my life.
One thing she didn’t tell me, but that I found helpful for my spiritual health, happened very naturally. Within two months, the way I wrote started to change. The application section started getting longer, and it started to take the form of prayer. Instead of “I should . . . ” and “I need to . . . ,” my words changed to things like, “Help me, Lord, to . . . ” and “Thank You, Lord, for . . . .” In other words, what started as a seeking of truth quickly became personal, as God spoke to my individual needs through His Word and as I responded to God about what He was showing me. That’s what time in the Word of God can and should do. Writing down what one learns is a very helpful tool, as it forces the reader to clearly identify what he has learned, rather than sliding by with an assumption that understanding has happened.
“Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, for I delight in it.” Psalm 119:35 (NASB)