HOW TO READ THE BIBLE
"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16,17).
PERSPECTIVES WHEN STUDYING GOD'S WORD
A proper approach to God's Word requires a certain frame of mind. This involves humility, honesty, and fervency--but goes beyond that. Every person is prone to read the Bible through an intellectual filter. For some, it is the particular emphasis of their denomination. For others, it is a private view that reflects personal opinion rather that Divine will. In a sense, God has provided us the templates through which the Word of God is viewed. When read with these realities in mind, the Word of God comes home to our hearts. These templates have been revealed in Scripture, and reveal the thrust of revelation.
Studying the Word with the Promises in mind
The promises of God are an elixir for the soul wearied by "this present evil world." They lift the veil sin has spread over the future, causing the light of the glory of God to flood our souls. The promises of God, when believed, connect us with the glorious future. The Word of God is filled with promises, and they are intended to lighten the burden of life, bring assurance of participation in the world to come, and neutralize temptation. You should read the Bible wth the promises of God in mind!
Becoming partakers of the Divine nature
To become like Jesus is not a moral goal, but a spiritual reality. This is the determined purpose of God--to be "conformed to the image of His Son" (Rom 8:29). How does one become like Christ? How can we "participate in the Divine nature?" The promises of God are the appointed means to this realization. "For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust" (1 Pet 1:4). The well from which the promises have come is God's "glory and excellence" (verse 3). The Lord has, in His promises, exhibited His most comely traits. More of His Person is in the promises. There His will for humanity is expressed. In the promises proper objectives for mankind are identified. The promises are "precious and magnificent," or, as the King James Version translates it, "exceeding great and precious." They dwarf everything with which they are compared. When placed beside the very best the world has to offer, they tower high above them. Once you see the "precious" promises, it is easy to abandon even "the treasures of Egypt," as did Moses (Heb 11:26). They are transcendant to everything that is made. The promises of God also have a value of their own. They are not precious" by comparison alone. Nor, indeed, are they "precious" because they are scarce. They are to be found in abundance, yet remain priceless. They are also "precious" because they enhance our spirits, gladden our hearts, and satisfy our inner thirst. No wonder they are the means through which we become like our Father! Read the Bible with the promises of God in your mind. Look for them! Feed upon them! Believe them!
All of the promises are Yes and Amen
There is a universality to the promises. What Jesus brought was for "all men." The message of salvation is truly "good news of great joy that will be for all the people" (Luke 2:10). With this in mind, the Spirit witnesses, "For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through Him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God" (2 Cor 1:20). If we wonder if the promise of remission of sin (Jer 31:34) is for us, the answer is "YES!" If you question if the promise of "seasons of refreshing" (Acts 3:19) is for you, the answer is "YES!" Read the Bible with the promises of God in mind, and dare to believe they are for you--that God says "YES!" to you! Then shout the "AMEN!" back to Him, glorifying Him for His grace!
The promises become an incentive for godliness
If people are lagging behind spiritually, the promises become an incentive to recover from the devil's snare, and go on to perfection. How vividly this is depicted in second Corinthians. The words speak for themselves. "Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE, says the Lord. AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And I will welcome you. And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me, Says the Lord Almighty. Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God" (2 Cor 6:16-7:1).
See yourself as Abraham's seed
One of the aspects of God's marvelous promises is their absolute fulfillment in Christ. There are two verses in the book of Galatians that reveal this truth in a foundational way. Dare to believe these things are true--for you! "Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, And to seeds, as referring to many, but rather to one, And to your seed, that is, Christ." There is no question about the intended receivers of the promises; Abraham and his seed, or offspring. That Seed is particularly identified as Christ. The Spirit is not finished with this thought, however. He continues in the 21st verse. "And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise" (Gal 3:16,21). The promise of blessing belongs to you through Christ Jesus. Now, read the Bible with the promises of God in mind!
Inheriting the promises
"Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust" (2 Pet 1:3-4). The promises can be inherited by you. It is not an automatic procedure, but one that requires your personal involvement. "And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises" (Heb 6:12). Keep believing! Stay in the race! Do not give up, and you will inherit the promises--the "exceeding great and precious promises!"