What is one of the things you run into over and over again in campus ministry, one of the things that drives us crazy, one of the things that threatens to choke the roots and shoots of growing faith?
It is a desire to abandon the basics.
Now, I understand wanting to move beyond basic tools.
But don't leave them behind.
The more familiar you are with Scripture, the more you need to lean on basic Bible study tools to engage the actual text. Familiarity blinds you to what the biblical text actually says.
How do I know? It happens to me more than I'd like.
I'm familiar with Scripture. I've read the Bible cover to cover. Several times. I've memorized portions of it, sang sections of it, preached parts of it. It's holy ground, but it's well-worn.
And in seasons of my life, I begin to notice that the Bible feels dry, repetitive. The words lay flat on the page. There's no sense of the Spirit hovering over the surface of the text. Everything feels previously read. I reach for the fast forward.
It is here, in this moment of staleness, that we need basic tools. The temptation is to look for new tools, better tools ... to assume the problem is with our tools. But the drying out of our experience of Scripture is the result of a wearying in our hearts. The problem is in us.
And, in the simplicity of these tools, lies their usefulness.
If we want to continue to be nourished and fed by Scripture over a lifetime, we'll need to maintain our grip on basic tools: observation, inductive Bible study, lectio divina. These are tools that can be used at a moment's notice, that can turn the tide in an instant, that are always available and always easy to use. They are basic and that's what makes them beautiful.
What are you doing to strengthen your grip on the basics?