My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. – Proverbs 2:1-5
I’m not a doctor or lawyer. In fact, you won’t find any letters behind my name. The truth is, I just didn’t do what it took to be a successful student. I had a very poor attitude about schooling and blamed my lack of scholarly success on most anything and everyone else. I had a terrible attitude which was reflected in my lack of effort to anything relating to study.
Most of us understand that to gain any degree of success in any given field, one must apply a substantial amount of effort resulting from a commitment to learn. Yet when it comes to the Bible, we tend to acquire a lazy attitude which is often displayed with the comment, “I just can’t understand the Bible.” To sound more spiritual, we might say, “I believe in Jesus, but all those sacrifices and stuff I can’t relate too” and therefore allow ourselves to remain Biblically illiterate. We end up being content to sitting in our favorite pew on Sunday morning and let the pastor spoon feed us the Word – just as long as he’s finished by kick-off time.
Here in Proverbs 2, the first 5 verses seem to indicate that in order to gain some knowledge of Scripture, we need to follow a simple 4 step plan: Decide, Listen, Ask and Search.
Decide – Verse 1 says we are to “receive” and “treasure” His words. That sounds like something I didn’t do well in school. Decide to make the commitment. Go into the Word with an attitude that you will treasure His Word. It’s important to you because you’ve decided it is.
Listen – I think listening is a lost art. In verse 2 we are to “make our ears attentive” We might hear things, but we don’t listen. At least my wife claims I’m guilty of this on too many occasions. Next time you are sitting in church (or listening to Christian radio or television) play attention! Keep your ear attentive and your heart open to His Word.
Ask – One of the great pleasures I have from any teaching I’ve done is to have people ask me a question. Look at verse 3, “call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding.” Whether it’s after a gathering or as part of small Bible study group, ask questions. Even if you don’t get any answers at that time, ask questions.
Search – To me, this is one of the most rewarding things about Bible study. Verse 4 tells us to “seek” and to “search” for it – meaning wisdom and understand of His word. But this takes some effort. You might need to look up a passage in multiple versions. Or plow through references in a concordance. Sometimes, just reading a passage many times and then quietly thinking about it is a great way to better understand a perplexing verse.
Notice however, when we take this kind of effort, the payoff is verse 5. “Then you will understand the fear of the LORD” This is a promise! God wants us to know His Word! He wants us to be successful at knowing Him and gaining knowledge. All of us, not just pastors, can have a working knowledge of the Scriptures.