“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that
by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have
tasted that the Lord is good.” —1 Peter 2:2-3 NIV
When it comes to personal spiritual growth, God’s Word supplies the essential nourishment. Some of the Apostle Paul’s last spoken words to the Ephesian eldership underscore this. In Acts 20:32 we read, “And now I commend you to God, and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you the inheritance among all them that are sanctified.” That which would build up these Christians will do the same for us. Bible study and personal spiritual growth go hand-in-hand.
Hopefully these suggestions will encourage you to dig deeper into the vast riches of God’s Word. Then, like the eagle that rides the thermal into the sky, you will be equipped to soar to new heights of personal spiritual growth.
First, assuming you have a couple of standard translations nearby, find a more recent translation that you enjoy reading. This will help you to more readily understand the dated terminology in the older versions. Some of these are: New American Standard Bible; New International Version; and New King James Version. For further reflection and study, you might want to pick up a contemporary translation such as The Message, by Eugene Peterson, the Contemporary English Version or the New Living Translation.
Second, make a commitment to read and systematically study through the entire New Testament (to start with). You can pick up reading charts from the wall trays at the sound booth. We will also be providing links to reading schedules on the church web site. Following these will help you stay on track. Whatever you do, make the commitment and follow through on it!
Third, you might find a chapter by chapter analysis helpful. One way of doing this is to ask a series of questions of each chapter like the following:
1. Are there commands that I should obey?
2. Are there examples worthy of imitation?
3. Are there promises for me to cherish?
4. Are there warnings that I should heed?
5. Are there sins or unwise choices that I should avoid?
6. What are the main ideas developed in this chapter?
7. How do these verses help me come to know God better?
8. How will my life be shaped for God’s glory as a result of reading and applying this chapter?
We must keep in mind the fact that personal spiritual growth is not the only thing at stake. There are always emerging generations of Christians who need spiritual mentors. You could be one. The first step is to draw closer to the Lord and stronger in the faith? Digging deep into God’s Word each day will give you the guidance you need to lead others into a deeper knowledge of God. You never know who might be following you as you follow Christ!
Remember, there is no foolproof formula for growth. These suggestions are intended to help you spend quality time in God’s Word, which will increase the vitality of your walk with God, while helping you to experience the joy of personal spiritual growth.
© Bill Williams
November 29, 2007