There are certain activities that are foundational for a healthy Christian walk. These include consistent Bible study, prayer, and sharing the message of the gospel with a lost and hurting world. Even the most seasoned believer and the most astute theologians need a reminder never to stray far from these basics of the faith for they form the crux of what we are to be doing on a constant basis. Pastor and author Stuart Briscoe in his excellent book Getting into God: Practical Guidelines for the Christian Life, explores this triad of the faith.
As Briscoe aptly notes in the introduction to this book, “there is no escaping the fact that most people find toast and tea more to their taste early in the morning than Timothy and Titus.” Thus it seems a regular and daily focus on Bible study, spending time in prayer, and then sharing the good news of the gospel has unfortunately become practices that are not for lack of a better word practiced. Rather than spending time knocking believers for not having a consistent prayer life, witnessing to their neighbors, or digging into the word on a daily basis, Briscoe spends his time and rightfully so simply sharing why such behaviors are important in light of the Scriptural evidence along with providing some helpful tools to help the reader get back on track.
This book is divided into four parts. Part One engages how to study the Bible effectively, Part Two provides helpful insight on how to pray, Part Three shares tools for effective witnessing, and Part Four returns to the topic of effective Bible study by taking a look at some methods for personal Bible study. Each section is easy to read and replete with salient and practical advice.
While the entire book is very much worth the read, I most enjoyed Part One, specifically Briscoe’s discussion on the tools of effective Bible study. He begins by sharing four key facts about Scripture, namely that “The Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit”, “The Bible is the only means of knowing how to be reconciled to God”, “The Bible is the only place where you can get information on what to do after you have made a start in the Christian life”, and “In the Bible alone can we know what lies ahead, what the world is coming to, what happens after death, if there is an afterlife.” These facts aptly point the reader to the reality that Scripture is the foundation for all truth. This is vitally important not just for new believers but also for seasoned believers as well. Move away from the solid foundation of Scripture and you immediately will find yourself in sinking sand when the pressures and cares of life come crashing.
Briscoe also shares some valuable suggestions for doing Bible study which will help the reader move from a place of just reading words on a page to actually meditating and implementing through the work of the Holy Spirit what God has to say in His word. For example, simple things like not being afraid to mark in your Bible meaning have a highlighter and pen handy. Additionally, he recommends minimum requirements for Bible study such as a “Bible, notebook, concordance, and pencils” and he also recommends having handy a Bible dictionary to define the more hard to understand terms in Scripture. I truly appreciated his warning regarding commentaries, notably his statement “Dictionaries and commentaries are supposed to be aids to study, not substitutes for study. Some people can’t be bothered to dig for themselves; they just look for what someone else has found out and use that.” This is a Bible study no-go, one that many, including myself often fall prey to when reading Scripture.
I also appreciated his emphasis on praying during Bible study. Briscoe avers “When you study, pray. Ask the Holy Spirit who inspired the Word of God to interpret it to your own understanding. I know of no better prayer with which to approach the study of the Bible than “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law” (Ps.119:18)”. Since Bible study is far more than the acquisition of head knowledge about God and far more about knowing God through His Word and then applying those truths to every aspect of life, prayer is indeed an essential part of Bible study and witnessing for that matter. It is no wonder Scripture exhorts us to “pray without ceasing.”
Getting into God is a book I highly recommend for all believers, new and seasoned alike. The truths Briscoe shares are timeless as they are not rooted in fads of the day but rather in sound Biblical truth. This book is a helpful reminder of the need to spend time with God by studying His word, being devoted at all times in prayer, and always being aware of the need to share the gospel, whether that is vocally or by your actions.
This book is available for purchase from CLC Publications by clicking here.
I received this book for free from CLC Publications for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”