When I studied the Bible some years ago, I was taught to explore, discover, question, and resolve with God. The Bible was not a book of rules for me, but an exploration.
I had plenty of questions…
How can God hear all of us at once?
Is faith reasonable or just emotion?
How can someone feel so confident exposing the greatest weaknesses in their life?
How can I know God and not become unrelatable and religious?
We all have questions to be answered by God. These are the questions of the heart, which effect how we live and build relationships.
- How: A question of understanding
- Who: A question of relationship
- Why: A question of purpose
Our questions must be answered for us to make the spiritual decisions in our life to have a real relationship with God
There was a man in the Bible we can learn from – he never met Jesus, he didn’t grow up in culture of Judaism nor was educated with a theological degree. He was a man simply searching for a real relationship with God, and looking for answers to these very same questions.
Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet.
The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.” Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet.
I believe God inclines some people’s hearts to search for him and others’ hearts to help those people. God will send just the right person to you when you are searching.
The Ethiopian Eunuch was clearly searching. Little is known about the Ethiopian, but in all likelihood, he was a African who had turned to Judaism and was searching for God. He could have been traveling from Ethiopia to Jerusalem to worship God, or perhaps for business. How far are you willing to go to pursue God and have your questions answered?
Let’s take a look at Philip. He was willing to listen to the Holy Spirit and willing to have his schedule changed and disrupted! Why? Because he believed that God had a purpose for him everywhere he went. When you study the Bible to answer your own questions, you are motivated to help others find answers to their questions too.
How: A Question of Understanding
The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.” Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked. “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
You will make the most progress spiritually when you invite someone to study the Bible with you. Have you ever felt at lost on what to read in the Bible? Have you ever felt at lost on how to apply the scriptures to your heart? Then you should ask a friend to study the Bible with you.
Ask questions and search for understanding, depth, and real change. You will be able to explore your heart and the impact sin has on your relationships. You will begin to see the real you, and also the person God intended you to become.
The Bible was written by God to teach our hearts how to have genuine love and how to change our lives. It was written to set us free!
Who: A Question of Relationship
This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.” The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.
Your life will change when you get to know Jesus for yourself. You will learn about him from hearing the impact he has had on others’ lives and from seeing him live out the lessons he taught.
I still remember when something in me clicked as I began to study the Bible. It was as though the pages came to life for me. I started to see the truth of who I had become without God, and I began to feel my hard, bitter shell of protection dissolve. I felt compassion replace my anger. I felt remorse for my sin’s impact on women I used. I wanted a relationship with God more than I have ever wanted anything in my life, and I did everything I could to reconcile my broken relationships. I faced the hurts and the consequences with a belief that there is always pain before there is healing
Most people give others the cotton candy version of Jesus… airy and sweet, but no substance. Philip talked about him being the lamb of sacrifice for our sins and the miraculous power of God to raise him from the dead. We don’t worship a dead savior, but one that lives and interacts with us each day.
He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” …“Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Luke 4: 16-21
God wants to give us freedom, a chance to change destructive patterns in our lives. He wants us to overcome our weaknesses and inspire others by our journey. God wants to give us hope and a belief that tomorrow will always be better than today. We don’t have to wait. God is waiting to give us answers, forgiveness, and a place in his family.
Why: A Question of Purpose
As they rode along, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look! There’s some water! Why can’t I be baptized?” [“You can,” Philip answered, “if you believe with all your heart.” And the eunuch replied, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”] He ordered the carriage to stop, and they went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.
We don’t know how long Philip spent with the Eunuch studying the Bible, answering questions, building his convictions. But what we do know is that he answered his questions and inspired him to become a disciple of Jesus.
What will it take for you to believe in God with all your heart?
Why not make time in your schedule to study the Bible at least once a week?
In order to have the Ethiopian Eunuch get baptized, you have to have a Philip who is willing to teach, share, and inspire.
When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away. The eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing.
- When can I study the Bible?
- What questions do I need God to answer for me?
- Where do I begin reading to understand Jesus and his purpose for my life?