«GettinG the Best from the selwyn hughes Applying God’s Word to everyday life and relationships Copyright © CWR 2001 Published 2001 by CWR, ...»
Applying God’s Word
to everyday life and relationships
Copyright © CWR 2001
Published 2001 by CWR, Wavereley Abbey House, Waverley Lane, Farnham,
Surrey, GU9 8EP, UK.
Registered charity No. 294387. Registered limited company No. 1990308.
Reprinted 2007, 2011.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in
a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic,
mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission in writing of CWR.
Some of this material originally appeared in 1989 in Getting the Best out of the Bible, part of the Waverley Study Series.
Scripture references, unless otherwise noted, are from the Holy Bible:
New International Version (NIV), copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by the International Bible Society.
Concept development, editing, design and production by CWR Printed in the UK by Nuffield Press ISBN: 978-1-85345-187-4 Contents Introduction Introduction to Biblical Meditation About Getting the Best from the Bible Week 1 – A Journey of Discovery Week 2 – The Purposes of Biblical Meditation Week 3 – The Rewards of Biblical Meditation Week 4 – Understanding What Biblical Meditation Is Week 5 – How to Meditate Week 6 – From Theory to Practice The Final Word Answers to Test Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by steams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.
Psalm 1: 1–3 Introduction from Mick Brooks The late Selwyn Hughes, founder of CWR, was passionate about helping people engage with the Bible in a meaningful way. Perhaps the best known vehicle for this passion was the Bible-reading devotional Every Day with Jesus, which he wrote every two months for over forty years, and which continues to be published today, ministering to nearly a million people worldwide.
Selwyn originally wrote Getting the Best from the Bible back in 1989 and it was revised in 2001. The copy you now hold in your hands is a new edition released especially for Biblefresh 2011, an initiative aimed at inspiring and equipping people to delve deeper into the Bible and let it ‘change their world’. At CWR we are delighted that, in support of Biblefresh, we are able offer this publication once again. And we are so grateful to our dedicated supporters whose generous giving has made it possible for us to give it away free of charge to anyone who has a desire to ‘delve into’ Bible reading. There are also some special vouchers at the back of this edition to help you continue with your devotions.
This book focuses particularly on the subject of biblical meditation.
In seeking to get the best from the Bible, biblical meditation is an important key. It is when we spend time alone with God and His Word, away from the noise and busyness of life, that we are able to uncover the life-transforming truths that the Bible offers. We hope and pray that through reading this book you will ‘catch’ some of Selwyn’s passion for the Bible and will benefit from the wisdom of a man who sought to immerse Himself in God’s Word.
Sincerely yours, in His name Mick Brooks Chief Executive of CWR Introduction from Selwyn Hughes Biblical meditation is one of the most important keys to Christian living.
Yet it is one of the most neglected – surprising, really, in view of the rich rewards God promises to those who practise it. This is what Getting the Best from the Bible is all about: teaching on this vital subject.
Meditation on the Scriptures is not a ‘cure all’. It should not be seen as a substitute for other spiritual disciplines nor an escape from responsibilities. Those who benefit most from such meditation are those who are obedient – hence the emphasis in this book of applying what is being studied. When glaring violations of Scripture go uncorrected in a person’s life the Bible will remain a closed book, no matter how much they try to meditate.
This does not mean you have to be perfect to discover the rewards of meditation, but it does mean that you have to have a willing and obedient heart. Throughout the ages the people of God have discovered that the more one obeys the Word of God the more light shines out from it.
There are several useful tools that can help you in biblical meditation.
You need a Bible of course! And while one translation such as the New International Version is adequate it is good to have two or three other versions, including a paraphrase, to compare the rendering of Scripture passages. Most Bible versions are available online – for example on www.biblegateway.com. A Bible lexicon is helpful for understanding the original meaning of Scripture texts. A good concordance will help you find your way around the Bible. You might also find a topical Bible such as Nave’s and a Bible dictionary well worth adding to your ‘toolkit’.
A visit to your local Christian bookshop could be profitable and point you in the right direction.
Whatever tools you choose to use with this study guide, my prayer is that through Getting the Best from the Bible God will do something dynamic in your Christian life and help you to walk closer with Him. I can guarantee that the hours you spend reading and meditating on the Scriptures will be the most profitable of your life.
About Getting the Best from the Bible Getting the Best from the Bible presents the subject and principles of biblical meditation on a step-by-step basis over an eight-week period.
Each week a particular aspect of biblical meditation is covered so that, progressively, the reader gains a firm understanding of the subject.
One of the best times to invest in this project is the time that already belongs to God – the Sabbath. This is why each week’s study begins on Sunday the day when we are more readily focused on God and His Word.
Saturdays give the opportunity to review the week and complete an exercise particularly relevant to what has been learned during that week.
Something that many Christians would like to be able to do is to memorise Scripture verses to encourage themselves or others. To help you get into a habit of memorising Scripture Getting the Best from the Bible includes a memory verse for each week. The memorising is reinforced each day through the writing out of the verse in the space provided. You can also help ensure that the memory verse stays with you by writing it on one or more small pieces of card and put them in places where you will see them during the day – for example on your bathroom mirror, fridge door, in front of the kitchen sink, inside the car windscreen, on your desk, PC, as a bookmark … To assist the reader each day, the material is set out using one of the main principles of discipleship: clear teaching of a particular point followed by the opportunity for the reader to apply or respond to what has been taught.
The daily layout includes:
TeaCHInG wITH THouGHT for THe Day Commentary to reflect on. This leads to aCTIon A Scripture reading and/or exercise. This leads to reaCTIon The opportunity to write down your own thoughts and response Prayer
DAy 1 | Sunday WEEk 1 This is the beginning of one of the most important journeys you can ever set out on: to discover the lost art of biblical meditation. Biblical meditation is the one certain way of maintaining spiritual peace, poise and purpose, yet many Christians dismiss meditation as an Eastern religions thing. David Ray, a writer and minister, used to think Christians who promoted Bible meditation were out of touch with reality. His attitude was, ‘Give me action and work – lots of work. Let someone else waste time staring at the end of his nose.’ But when someone introduced him to the principles of biblical meditation he soon became more aware of God’s presence than ever before.
As we go on our journey of discovery let this and every Sabbath be, as much as possible, the day of rest and reflection God means it to be.
Church activities are important, but so is being alone with the Lord.
Find time to be still and meditate on God’s goodness and beauty. You will find it time well spent. Jesus did.
This week’s Memory Verse is ‘Be still, and know that I am God’ PSalM 46:10 Write it down and find time today to let it sink into your heart.
This week you will learn something of the vast difference between biblical meditation and other forms of meditation, the important part played by God’s Spirit in meditation and, most important of all, how Jesus is at the heart of it all. Happy travelling!
DAy 2 | Monday WEEk 1 To get the best from the Bible we must be clear about its central message – the incarnation – Jesus coming into our world in human form. Some regard the Bible as a book they can delve into for magic formulas and facts. The Bible is not a book of magic but a moral revelation. It shows us that through the incarnation God invades humanity with incorrigible love. We do not have to find God – we simply let God find us. If you miss your way here you will come to wrong conclusions about God, life and salvation. In receiving Jesus we are one with God. Having been brought into a relationship with the Almighty through faith in His Son, we are then ready to increase our knowledge of the living Word through, and by, the written Word.
If we try to build up our personalities from any other starting point
than Jesus we will be like those of whom it is described:
They sail away on a sea of mist To a land that doesn’t exist ‘The Word became flesh …’ ‘Much light will yet break out from the Word of God, especially if the “Word of God” is the Word of God – “the Word made Flesh,”’ said Pastor Robinson, who ministered to the Pilgrim Fathers. Transcendental meditation and New Age type cults seek to get converts to empty their minds to find God. Christianity encourages converts to fill their thoughts with God, especially the Almighty’s highest thought – Jesus.
action reaD JoHn 6:25–35.
Write out and think about verse 35 How much are you allowing Jesus to feed your life?
reaction My thoughts, notes and prayers Prayer Father God, thank You for Jesus becoming flesh and that His coming is the central message of the Bible. With this key in my heart I look forward to knowing more about You as I learn to meditate on Your Word, guided by the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Memory Verse Write out this week’s verse and reference DAy 3 | Tuesday WEEk 1 It must be emphasised that when there was nothing we could do to climb up to God, Almighty God came down to us in the Person of His Son, Jesus Christ. This fact lies at the heart of the Bible and is the key to opening up its treasures. If you miss this you will miss the focal point of revelation and fail to fully benefit from Scripture meditation.
The Bible progressively uncovers as much of God’s nature as we are able to understand. God’s final and perfect revelation is seen in Jesus: the incarnation is the revelation. Everything else develops from this point.
Where the emphasis on the incarnation is weak the sense of revelation is weak and people go off into all kinds of ‘revelations’ that, in reality, amount to nothing more than fantasies. They discover ‘Christ within themselves’ – which turns out to be a Christ of their own creation.
The characteristics of Jesus, only begotten Son of God and crucified, ascended Saviour of the world, fade out and a weak, sentimental Christ takes His place.
That’s why there can be no place for New Age or transcendental meditation and the like in the Christian Church. ‘Leave your mind at the door’ said a notice at the entrance to one New Age type meeting.
Christianity, in contrast, encourages converts to fill their minds with God’s thoughts. And God’s highest thought is Jesus.
Thought for today I read books to get light.
I read the Book to get the Light.
action The Bible is God’s message to man, not man’s message to God. If the Bible is merely a collection of interesting writings about God it cannot be viewed as the final authority for life. The truth is that God, not men, initiated and inspired the Scriptures – the Almighty coming down to us, not us climbing up to Him.
Consider this as you read 2 Peter 1:16–21 and praise God for taking the initiative!
reaction My thoughts, notes and prayers Prayer Dear Lord, thank You that You came down to me through Your Son, Jesus, instead of leaving me to struggle by my own fruitless efforts to climb up to You. I am so grateful for such a wonderful key to unlock the revelation of Your Word. Amen.
Memory Verse Write out this week’s verse and reference DAy 4 | Wednesday WEEk 1 The Christian life is one of progress – in spiritual maturity, of getting to know God better and better, of being more aware, more sensitive to His presence and His ways. One of the most effective ways is through biblical meditation. Notice I say biblical meditation, for there are many forms of meditation that claim to lead people to God but which, in fact, lead them away from Him.
The only way a person can know God is through a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. The glorious message of the Bible is summed up in the fact that when there was nothing we could do to climb up to God, the Almighty God became the Son of Man in order that the sons of men might become the sons of God.
The Bible is the only way through which Christians can increase their understanding and awareness of God. Biblical meditation, along with an understanding of the power of God, will keep us from erring. Some Christians make the mistake of wholly concentrating on the Scriptures – past revelation – and ignore the power of the Holy Spirit who gives revelation from the Word: what God wants to say to us now. Others have experienced the power of the Spirit in their life and experience but do not know the Scriptures in any real sense. They too err, for we cannot correctly discern God at work in our lives and churches unless we continually check spiritual experiences with the revelation contained in the Scriptures.