I started my Bible Study Program a month ago. I wanted to give it 30 days before I started writing on commenting on what I’ve learned. The results have been amazing.
I grew up in a very secular household. My mother’s family was German Presbyterians, my father Italian Catholics. My parents never debated about God. No one was right or wrong.
For some reason, we never discussed religion. For my dad, God seemed to be a private and personal thing with him, and I didn’t want to intrude upon it. I grew up without religion simply because no one made any effort to teach me about God or any religion.
My father wanted me to be baptized by the Roman Catholic Church. I think this was more a tradition than anything. From the time, I was three years old until I was six my mother took me to a local Presbyterian Church. I attended Sunday School, but the lessons never stuck. When I six years old I told my mom I didn’t want to go to back to the church, and we never did.
After my parents divorced when I was ten, my Dad took me to Catholic Church once or twice a year. With my brief experience of the Catholic Church, I had no direct experience of the “Divine.”
The rituals of the Catholic Church seemed very formulaic. My memories are of sitting, standing, and kneeling. The congregation said memorized verses at designated times. The service finished with believers making the sign of the cross and saying, “In the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.”
The Catholic Church we attended didn’t seem to have a social connection. The whole experience seemed very isolating and without emotion. That is the sum of my religious experience and training.
Becoming a Christian
I felt a stirring in my heart to commit to Christ. I made a simple declaration to bring Christ into my heart. The decision gave me a sense of purpose I have not felt since I was deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.
My decision to follow Jesus Christ has changed my life forever. I am determined to get an education equal to the great task of serving the Lord. A sign of my spiritual decline would be my neglect of the Bible. When I started my Bible Study, I knew nothing of God or His word.
Now I see myself as a prayer warrior, an athlete in training. I try my best to study God’s word for at least an hour a day. Exposing myself to the inspired message of God has made me a happier and better man.
Going from non-belief to belief has been a transforming experience. My identity as a believer in God has changed my life. It has been a happy, satisfying, and comforting new way of looking at the world. I could never keep quiet the still small voice in my heart that kept speaking to me. I tried to be indifferent and respond to the gentle moving of the Spirit of God.
I knew the time had come to get serious about knowing the most person in human history– Jesus Christ. I didn’t know anything about His life, His teachings, or even His impact on the world. My Biblical knowledge was starting from scratch.
I know it wasn’t just about what I knew but that I knew Him.
Thru the Bible Network
I started with Dr. J. Vernon McGee, a Bible teacher, theologian, who was also a radio minister from the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. In 1967, he began broadcasting the Thru the Bible Radio Network program. Dr. McGee’s program is a systematic study of each book of the Bible, where he takes his listeners from Genesis to Revelation in a five year “Bible bus trip,” as he called it.
Dr. McGee has an easily recognizable, heavy West Texas twang. He sounds like President Lyndon B. Johnson. His 30-minute program is designed to guide listeners through the Old and New Testaments in just five years. I learned he died in 1988.
The world has changed a lot since the death of the Dr. McGee, but the daily messages remain intact and are an excellent reference tool for any beginning Bible student. Dr. McGee uses cultural references that date the program. (Still, every once in a while, you hear mention of the Soviet Union or the Vietnam War.)
I believe Dr. McGee teaches straight out of God’s word, and I think God honors that even though he has been dead for 30 years. His mission statement is ‘The whole Word to the whole world.”
How Bible Study has helped me
I use Dr. McGee’s book and study material. His commentary is helpful and has encouraging interaction with God through His Word. His book is full of discussion starters and suggested questions to help me with my study of the Bible.
I value the time I have with God’s Word. Studying it first thing in the morning allows me to make it a priority. I start each Bible study session with prayer. I humbly ask God to help seek the truth in what I read in the Bible.
The best way for me to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ is to live my faith through personal and physical example. Studying the Word of God has become one of my greatest treasures and hope in a new and better life.
Bible Study has helped me in four areas of my life:
- Help me to grow in my love for Scripture and the Lord.
- Gain wisdom and knowledge that the Bible teaches.
- Internalize the Word of God in a way that transforms my life.
- Getting to know Jesus Christ as my Savior and Redeemer.
I don’t know where the Lord is leading me. I am excited about the great adventure and blessings by walking with God in faith. I know God is always faithful to His promises.