If you have read the Part 1 of this exposition, I believe your thirst to maintain a steady and interesting study life in the Word of God has been enhanced. Glory to Jesus. In this second part, we will be going further into discovering the right stages to go through in becoming a man/woman filled with the Word of Truth. Before we go further, it is good you take note of the following ‘7 important points’ concerning your study lifestyle:
1) it is not weird to realize you are not finding your Bible study time always ‘interesting’. (Acts 8:32-34)
2) the Holy Spirit is the One who opens the eyes of a believer to seeing ‘mysteries’ hidden in the Bible. (1Cor 2:10, Acts 8:29-35)
3) an everyday simple prayer as ‘…Holy Spirit, improve my thirst for your word and bless my Bible study lifestyle, in Jesus name..’ can cause a great revolution in your study life. (Jer 33:3)
4) You are not studying in order to show people around you that you know the Bible. (1Cor 8:1)
5) You are not studying in order to compete with the people who know the Bible. (2Cor 10:12)
6) You are not studying in order to know what is GOOD and what is BAD. (Genesis 2:17, Col 2:20-22)
7) You are studying in order to behold JESUS! It is in beholding Jesus that you know what is GOOD and what is BAD (2Cor 3:18)
If you have understood that, then we can move ahead! Like I pointed in part one of this post, I’ll love to use RUTH’s experience in the field of Boaz to explain how a believer can have a great experience in the ‘field’ of Scriptures; and these I divide into 3 stages namely:
– The ‘working as a GLEANER’ stage.
– The ‘collaborating with the REAPERS’ stage.
– and the ‘meeting the MASTER’ stage.
Ready? Let’s go!
THE ‘WORKING AS A GLEANER’ STAGE.
Let me give a brief background. Ruth was a Moabitess who returned with Naomi (her mother-in-law) to Bethlehem after the famine in Bethlehem was over. Now follow on as we relate her experiences to how believers can have a great study life.
‘And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and GLEAN EARS OF CORN AFTER HIM IN WHOSE SIGHT I SHALL FIND GRACE. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter.’ (Ruth 2:2)
Before I continue on the gleaning stage, I’ll like to reemphasize that you are to set your mind on FINDING GRACE…or SEEING JESUS…in your study life!
According to the dictionary definition, the word ‘glean’ has the following meaning:
1. to gather slowly and laboriously, bit by bit.
2. to gather (grain or the like) after the reapers or regular gatherers.
3. to learn, discover, or find out, usually little by little or slowly.
Now listen carefully: there is no believer today who is deep in the word, who did not go through this “GLEANING” stage. The gleaning stage is a gathering stage. At this stage, you learn to gather slowly, bit by bit, any word of God that comes your way. The gleaning stage is a conscious effort on the part of any believer who wants to grow. This is the most important stage in growing in the word. At this stage, it’s not really about UNDERSTANDING the verse! Though it’s an added advantage to ‘understand’ any verse quickly, the gleaning stage is more about KNOWING the verse. Like I earlier said, this is a CONSCIOUS effort.
Recently, while discussing with my wife, I said: ‘…when I was a sinner, God loved me…how much more now that I’m saved…’ So I asked, does that ring a bell to you? She replied, quoting Romans 5:8… ‘…But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us..’ That’s a proof she had once ‘gleaned’ into that passage of scripture… and a sure proof that the Holy Spirit can work with that verse to bless her at anytime.
The gleaning stage takes into cognizance two major gateways: the EYE gateway and the EAR gateway. At this stage, you will consciously absorb scriptures that make sense to you which you either SAW or HEARD. For example, you were reading a book, a Facebook post, a TV broadcast, etc., and you saw a verse that made sense to you, take time to write it down. Don’t just flip through! Get your Bible, open the verse for yourself and read it again. This is an example of gleaning through the EYE gateway.
Another example is when you heard someone quoting a verse of Scripture which made sense to you. It might be in Church, school, neighborhood, fellowship, etc. Note down the verse. If the person did not quote where the verse is in the Bible, get your Bible software and search out the verse. Get your Bible, open the verse for yourself and read it again. This is an example of gleaning through the EAR gateway.
Please note this: You DON’T have to start by reading the WHOLE Bible! There is no rule that states you should start by reading the Bible from Genesis to Revelation in a year! The Bible is NOT a university project workbook! Start by effectively and prayerfully ‘working as a GLEANER’! (Overtime, you may now decide to read the Bible through prayerfully).
Let me share my experience at this stage. Over 20 years ago, I developed an addiction to always ‘glean’ as much verses I can per time. I always want to be at a fellowship. As long as you are opening the Bible in the name of Jesus, I will sit down. If I’m passing by a church, whether C.A.C, or Deeper Life, or Methodist, pentecostal or Baptist…as long as you are teaching the Bible and people are listening, I will stand somewhere around the church building and be listening attentively just to hear an interesting verse I’m not aware of before. I get home and I open my Bible to see again for myself. One day, I gleaned into this verse of Scriptures:
‘…I have esteemed the words of his mouth MORE THAN MY NECESSARY FOOD.’ (Job 23:12)
With this, I made a personal decision not to taste anything or put any food in my mouth except I have ‘gleaned’ on AT LEAST one verse of the Bible in a day. So when I wake up in the morning, no matter how hungry I am, I refuse to eat unless I have read or meditated on at least a verse of the Bible. I must say: this has really blessed my study life!
Now hear this: If you are a diligent ‘gleaner’ of the word, then the Holy Spirit will direct your path to the proper ‘teachers’ of the word who will develop you appropriately, teach you scriptures in context and help make all you have gleaned over time to start making sense in your life!
This brings us to the second stage: ‘COLLABORATING WITH THE REAPERS’ stage. In essence of our study, the REAPERS are TEACHERS OF THE WORD OF GOD!
‘… And she sat beside the REAPERS: and he reached her parched corn, and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left…’ (Ruth 2:14)
At this stage, you will realize that you are being led of God to a particular teacher (or some particular teachers) of the word whose teachings just make you feel alive and loved by God always! Please don’t despise the office of TEACHERS! Some believers feel they can just read the Bible for themselves and get all accurate revelation they need. That is very wrong and also a sign of a proud heart! You need the ministry of the REAPERS! the Bible states specifically that TEACHERS are gifts from God for the perfecting of the saints and edifying of the church! (Eph. 4:11-12) Ruth’s mingling with the Reapers both enhanced her meeting with the Master and produced great favour on her path!
Now, Reapers can come in several dimensions. First, your church pastorate should have TEACHERS! This is why it is essential you carefully choose the Local assembly you worship with. No matter how sweet the choir sings or the prayer leader prays… If your assembly lacks a Spirit filled TEACHER, and you can’t see SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENT in your understanding of the Gospel. Your growth is at stake and your thirst for the word might not be enhanced.
However, Teachers are not limited to your Sunday pastors alone! Teachers can also come by BOOKS we read, SERMONS we listen to or ARTICLES we read! I personally have 3 teachers I addictively listen to! Hardly will a day pass without me listening to at least 2sermons of any of my teachers on my phone, computer or while driving. I also study commentaries a lot on verses I read. At times, I use about 12 commentaries just to understand ONE verse! Take for example, you were reading Hebrews chapter 4 and came to verse 8:
‘… For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day…’ (Heb 4:8)
The context here speaks of the Children of Israel…but Jesus was mentioned. Except you visit commentaries or read other versions apart from the KJV, you might not know that it was JOSHUA that this verse referred to! (This is because the name Jesus and Joshua have same Hebrew pronunciation). However, let the Holy Spirit direct you in reading commentaries as not all agree that Salvation is a ‘once and for all’ phenomenon!
One thing about collaborating with Reapers is that Jesus blesses a believer’s GLEANING work via the ministry of teachers. See what happened to Ruth:
‘… Boaz gave orders to his men, saying, let her gather among the sheaves …EVEN PULL OUT SOME STALKS FOR HER FROM THE BUNDLES AND LEAVE THEM FOR HER TO PICK UP…’ (Ruth 2:15-16)
Did you understand that? Ruth was an ordinary gleaner of grains that fall to the ground. But now, the master commanded the reapers to purposely put good harvests on her gleaning path….so that she will be gleaning HANDFULS …instead of few grains!
I call this stage ‘MEETING WITH THE MASTER’ stage!
After you have been a diligent and prayerful gleaner, the Holy Spirit leads you to the reapers who will both help you understand all you have been gleaning and also feed you more. As you are diligent in both the gleaning and mingling with the reapers, the Holy spirit will bring you to the ‘meeting the Master’ stage where what you glean will no more be shallow revelation… But deep and handful revelation… as Jesus would ensure that the reapers drop handful, helpful and transforming revelation on your path!
SEVERAL YEARS AGO, I was to write an exam which is generally perceived to be a difficult exam. Now, to the glory of God, I have been a believer who dislikes and also teach vehemently against the habit of cheating in exams! But as this exam date drew near, someone said to me: ‘…I have got someone who have access to the papers and will provide the answers for you on the exam day…’ Sincerely, as spiritual as I was,…it made sense to me! In fact, on remembering how tough the exam had been for those who had written it before, my flesh concurred to the ‘malpractice’ almost immediately! (I’m sharing this so you know temptations come to all…both Spiritual and carnal)! Few weeks to the exam, I woke up one night to GLEAN into the Bible (meditating on the book of Proverbs)… but this time around, the Master had dropped a HANDFUL revelation on my path! My eyes were locked on Proverbs 22:3
‘… A PRUDENT man FORESEETH the evil, and HIDETH himself: But the SIMPLE pass on, and are PUNISHED…’ (Prov 22:3)
Wow! I could hardly sleep back that night! It was as though I could hear Jesus saying to me: you have the choice to either be ‘prudent’ or ‘simple’! I got back to the person and cancelled all intending deals… I passed the Exam the next year without any assistance of any sort…and today I’m a blessing to many via that success channel! Praises to Jesus who dropped HANDFUL HARVESTS on my gleaning path!
Let me conclude this post by saying this: Learn to also share what you have gleaned with someone around you. Ruth also brings to Naomi what she gleaned. (Ruth 2:18) Share with your colleagues, friends, spouse, home devotions etc what you glean. A knowledge you share hardly leaves you! (That’s a fact). There’s a lot I would have written on this subject but I’m sure you must have been blessed by what I’ve shared so far!
Never forget to maintain these 3 stages in your study life:
– The ‘working as a GLEANER’ stage.
– The ‘collaborating with the REAPERS’ stage.
– and the ‘meeting the MASTER’ stage.
With this I welcome you to a world of UNENDING Revelation in the Word! I therefore pray for you…that henceforth,
– your study life receives the life of Christ!
– the Holy Spirit prospers your Gleaning processes!
– Jesus will direct you to the right Reapers!
– you will enjoy Handful harvests in your gleanings!
– Jesus will make Himself real to you via the word!
In Jesus name. Remain under Grace. Amen.