Spiritual Growth Starts With You

I remember how it felt to study the Bible for the first time -the first time I really started to dig in and apply some method to my study. It was both exciting and scary!

I was driven to it because I was taught from an early age that I was responsible for my own spiritual life. That does not mean that I actually listened to such teachings at first. But before too long, as I faced the prospect of getting older and realized my own mortality, I started to take Bible study more seriously. I started asking some difficult questions.

What if my core beliefs were wrong? What if my teachers and preachers made some serious mistakes in study? How would I know if I am safe from spiritual harm? These kinds of questions troubled me. So I was driven to try to find some answers. And like I said, the process was both exciting and scary.

The scary part came in questions like, “What if I get this wrong?” and “How would I know if I am wrong?” Eternity is a long time to be wrong, but I knew the alternative was to trust someone else’s ideas. I could look at commentaries or ask preachers, but they are also fallible. What if they were wrong? How could I know it?

To be honest, I was scared for a long time. I did not realize that there were ways to help ensure that I found the truth when I studied the Bible. I did not even realize that there was any kind of a process. I thought it was a matter of sitting down and reading the Bible. Then I had the idea of stringing verses together using a concordance. I wasn’t sure about contexts or how I would know if I took the verses and twisted them out of context. It just seemed to be how my preacher studied. He gave lessons based on different topics, so I studied that way.

Little did I know: that form of study is the easiest to get wrong. That’s not to say it is unimportant, but it should be handled with more skill that I possessed at the time.

When I learned a “proper” method of study, I was floored. I was impressed and excited about digging into the Bible and learning all I could. That doesn’t mean that I immediately started spending hours each day in study. Far from it. But it DID mean that I now had a way to understand just about anything the Bible said, and prove that it said. I could verify my conclusions.

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I distinctly remember a time when I realized that my study skills had begun to change my life. It was a time I spent studying a text and reading a commentary related to it. During my studies I actually discovered that the commentator made a mistake. He got something wrong and I caught it. I’m not thrilled that he made a mistake. I am thrilled that I knew it was a mistake and knew why it was a mistake! That moment became important because it was the time I started to have the confidence I needed to venture out into the unknown and find out for myself all the things God wanted me to find. I learned that I didn’t have to take anyone’s word as Gospel. I could find out for myself.

It’s been years since I first began this trek of Bible study. Since then I have learned many techniques and skills. I hang on to that memory though. It was a small victory, but if you have not experienced it, I hope that one day you do.

I’ve developed a podcast and website just for this goal. Constructing Faith is about learning to see the Bible yourself. It’s about finding faith in God that is built on your own knowledge of facts. If you are interested in this idea, I’m here to help.

I don’t mean to imply that you will never learn from others or listen to them. I am simply saying that you can learn the Bible yourself. If you are like I was, you are wondering how to do it. You might even be a little scared of getting it wrong. There’s no need. Now you can build your own faith.

Ready to get started? Click the link below to go to an episode. This covers the first two steps in a multi-step process, but it is an action lesson. As with all of my episodes, I walk you through each step of the process by showing you how to do it. We take texts of the Bible and study them, step by step so you can see the method in action.

Here’s to your own spiritual journey! What excitement lies ahead for you?

Jason Sparks
Constructing Faith

Your spiritual growth can start here!

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Episode for Keywords and Outline

The episode above begins a series of episodes on Mark 1:16-39. It’s a great place to begin because it walks you through the steps in detail.