In the short time that I have been a Christian, and especially since I began writing TWG, I’ve only really had the Bible itself to guide me. I love that the verse I’ve quoted above actually begins with the words: Until I get there… I have had no training at all, to speak of except for the reading the Bible. So I am greatly encouraged that, until such time as I can train in a more formal way, receiving guidance from others who are much more experienced in scripture and the ways of God than I am, I can still focus on the Bible and encourage the believers in my church, sharing with them what I have found. Also, I find that without formal bible or pastoral training, it is nevertheless possible to begin training for Godliness on my own initiative. As I act on the message of faith and the good teaching I hear preached at church and read in the bible, I begin to see how it is possible to be an example to others though the way you live, love and demonstrate your faith.
1 Timothy 4:6-13 NLT
If you explain these things to the brothers and sisters, Timothy, you will be a worthy servant of Christ Jesus, one who is nourished by the message of faith and the good teaching you have followed. Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly. “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it. This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Saviour of all people and particularly of all believers. Teach these things and insist that everyone learn them. Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them.
Having given the impression that I have only ever studied the Bible alone, I feel I should say that I did attend a weekly bible study for a few months this summer. Also, last year, I read the NIV Bible in one year which had an email commentary by Nicky Gumble (who created Alpha) to accompany it. Both of these have greatly helped me gain a great deal from my personal bible study and I would recommend reading the whole Bible in a one year format to anyone who has found reading their bible hard to do on a regular basis. My goal is to continue, as I have been all this year, sharing something of what I have understood from scripture each day. But in addition, as I have mentioned occasionally over the last few weeks, I mean to investigate the possibilities for more formal and serious training opportunities in the hope that they might take my faith to another level, much in the same way, I imagine, Timothy must have learned greatly from spending time with Paul.
Jeremiah 33:1-34:22, 1 Timothy 4:1-16, Psalms 89:1-13, Proverbs 25:23-24