Somewhere I read that G. Campbell Morgan, the great British pastor and expositor, would read through a book of the Bible at least forty times before teaching it. Any less and he felt unprepared.
We pastors often set aside a few days on the church calendar for an intensive Bible study on a particular theme or book of Scriptures. Our denomination–the Southern Baptist Convention–has for many years promoted a “January Bible Study” or “Mid-winter Bible Study.” This time–January, 2019–it will be Revelation 2-3, “The Letters to the 7 Churches of Asia Minor.”
I’ll be teaching this for several days at a church near Birmingham, Alabama, and hopefully another place or two. But months in advance, I’ve been working on it, trying to learn all I can in order to feel competent to teach it. Never mind that I’ve taught through Revelation several times and preached sermons on these seven churches in the past. None of that means much at the moment. The challenge is not to dig out old notes and rehash ancient messages, but to listen anew for what the Holy Spirit is saying through His always-up-to-date Word. The Word does not change, but its application to our daily lives is as fresh as it’s possible to get.
Furthermore, I’ve changed. I’m not the same person as decades ago when I pastored churches. So, I open the Scriptures and tackle this delightful project with excitement about what the Father has in store.
So, it’ll be interesting to see how this Bible study develops.