“You need to renew your mind.” I heard a mother speak these words to her child one day at our home fellowship. I asked her, “What does ‘renew your mind’ mean?” She taught me that it’s simply to change your thinking from thoughts that are not the Word of God to those that are. This can be done by children and, yes, adults too. Renewing our minds is God’s will (Romans 12:2). Doing so is diametrically opposed to being conformed to this world. An important step in the process of renewing the mind is to study the Word of God. By studying the Word of God, we learn more of His will for us, and we learn what thoughts we should have when negatives of the world start to get us down. We learn what is available from God and what God promises us. We can trust God’s Word because He magnified it above all His name—He endorsed it (Psalm 138:2). As we study His Word, we can build confidence in the fact that no matter the situation, God cares for us, and His Word has the solution (I Peter 5:7; II Peter 1:3,4). In this article, we will cover three practical keys to help us study and apply God’s Word.
Our first key to help us study and apply God’s Word is to enjoy reading the Word of God, the Bible.
I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.
The greatest key to being a workman of the Word is to learn to enjoy reading the Bible. By reading the Word, we can make it our delight. There was a time, before the printing press, when the written Word was not so easily available. What a privilege it is that in our day and time this is no longer the case. We instead have abundant access to the Bible. Therefore, we have abundant access to God’s heart for us. By enjoying our time reading God’s Word, we receive light and understanding (Psalm 119:130). Our heavenly Father wants us to know Him, and we can do so by reading and enjoying His Word.
Our second key to help us study and apply God’s Word is to build Biblical understanding. By digging further into the Scriptures, we fill ourselves with a greater perception of the truth. The Bible is an Eastern book that contains customs, traditions, and figures of speech that are literally foreign to those unfamiliar with them. And sometimes words in verses don’t mean the same thing today that they did when the Bible was translated into English. So it’s by following principles of Biblical research that we can get back to the accuracy of the Word as originally given. And we also need help from teachers and ministers to build our understanding of the rightly divided Word of God.
And Philip ran thither to him [the Ethiopian eunuch], and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
By way of ministry classes, research books, and home fellowships, I learned (among other things) that the Greek word for “study” in II Timothy 2:15 has a deeper meaning than the English word indicates. It’s “to expend a diligent effort, remembering the brevity of time,” or to give your all and use time wisely. I also learned that the Word of God is of no private interpretation (II Peter 1:20) but that all Scripture interprets itself in specific ways—that is, in the verse, in the context, or in its previous usage. By building Biblical understanding, God’s Word will open to us like never before.
Our third key to help us study and apply the Word is to guard our hearts.
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
To “keep” our heart is to guard or protect it. The heart is the innermost part of the mind, and out of it flow the issues of life. The thoughts we have in our hearts are the things we are fully persuaded of, and they are the essence of who we are and what we will become.
For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he….
We can be very selective when it comes to what we allow to stay in our minds, what we consistently think. We want to remember the rightly divided Word we read and study. A good habit to form is to think about what we think about. We can identify patterns and replace those contrary to God’s Word with the Word we are learning and studying. This is how we can guard our hearts, which helps us renew our minds.
Our God wants us to renew our minds. An important step in the process of renewing the mind is to study the Word of God. Some keys to studying and applying God’s Word are to enjoy reading the Bible, build Biblical understanding, and guard our hearts. As we apply these keys, we focus our minds on God’s Word so we can have a life full of God’s blessings.