My Scripture Top 6-10

Yesterday, we looked at five scriptures passages that have not only been enriching to me but also key transition points to other passages. Today, I list the rest of my top 10.

6. 1 Samuel 16 – By the time I had become taken by the Sermon on the Mount and many of the other passages in my top 5 it was becoming clear to me that God is obsessed with the makeup of the heart. When he changes a person it is through a formation of the heart from the inside out. So when I re-discovered the story of Samuel anointing the future king, David, and here God tell Samuel that “man looks on the outside but God looks on the heart” I knew exactly what he was talking about.

7. Galatians 5:19-25 – Another well-known passage, this one discusses the Fruits of the Spirit. The best words of scripture are ones that inspire and convict. This one convicts me every time. I often ask myself, what am I doing to foster the development of the Fruits of the Spirit?

8. Psalm 1 – ‘Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the LORD,
and who meditates on his law day and night.’

Before God broke me down and changed me, I would have read verse 2 with dread. How do you delight in law? And who would want to meditate on the law day and night? But I understood the law to be not a just set of rules but a God ordained way of nourishing my soul. Could I delight in the Sermon on the Mount? In the Ten Commandments? In 1 Corinthians 13? Yes. And I had already meditated on these “laws” and found meaning and strength for my life.

9. Galatians 2:20 – All that I had learned and processed through the previously mentioned verses kind of culminates with this verse. From a salvation stand point, I understood the new life found in Christ but this verse showed me the ultimate step in discipleship. “The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God.”

10. Philippians 3:10 – All of the New Testament falls into these few words. The life of Jesus, his crucifixion, the mystery of the resurrection, discipleship; it is all there and just bursting off the page. This verse will take a lifetime to comprehend and live out but through the process of my Top 10, I can think of no other worthy cause for my life.

So there it is, the 10 passages of scripture that have had the most impact on me and renewed, not only my interest in scripture reading and study, but also my life. Next time, I will demonstrate how you can develop your own Top 10 and what benefit you will gain from it.

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My Scripture Top 5

Yesterday, I discussed the Scripture Top Ten Method of approaching scripture. It starts with a favorite passage or verse and then through discovery or study leads to other similar or noteworthy passages. Here is five of my top ten and why they are significant. Nos. 6-10 will come tomorrow.

1. Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) – I used to read self-help books and books on how to achieve success until I found the teachings available in the Sermon on the Mount. I discovered that if I became the kind of person presented in the Sermon then I would have no need for leadership gimmicks and success platitudes. Jesus became someone who could teach me how to live my life.

2. Ten Commandments (Exodus 20: 1-21) – Much of the Sermon is referencing the Ten Commandments and the commands of the Old Testament. I felt that I needed to have a better understanding of the Ten Commandments. I realized that I had never really read them in context before and that they are not written in nice little one line commands. I was so taken by them, I decided I needed to memorize them. Memorization had never been a priority until scripture started to come alive to me.

3. Psalm 23 – I understood the command to have no other god before God but I didn’t fully understand what it meant to have the Lord be my “shepherd,” my protector, my nourisher, and “restorer of my soul.” I memorized this one as well and it has been a great comfort to me.

4. 1 Corinthians 13 – Another famous passage that doesn’t need to be dismissed just because it is well known. It is well known because it deserves to be dwelt over and meditated on. Also, if I was still thinking that the Sermon on the Mount and the Ten Commandments were simply rules and not a way of life then I would look at 1 Cor. 13 in the same way. Looking at this great passage on love and thinking that I have to go out today and be more patient, kind, and less boastful is to miss the point of inward transformation into Christlikeness.

5. Colossians 3: 1-17 – I think this one may eventually move ahead of 1 Corinthians 13. Once, I read this passage daily over a week’s time and it was one of the most fulfilling experiences I have had with scripture. I encourage you to try the same exercise.

How Christ Made Me A Better Person Pt. 1

In the last post, I expressed that the best path to personal change is first through Christian spiritual transformation and development. Here are some examples in my own life of personal changes coming as a result of the work of Christ in my life.

Become a nicer, friendlier person – Initially, I come across to people as an aloof, kind of grumpy person and I think, as a younger person, I drew some of my identity from that but as Christ began to show me how he views his created people I began to demonstrate more outward love and acceptance of others.

Enjoying reading scripture – I used to have the mentality that I had to approach the Bible as I would a regular book. In other words, the only way to get anything out of it was to read whole books  and try to get through the thing cover to cover. But, my intense study of the Sermon on The Mount opened up a desire to study the Ten Commandments and that led to a desire to study 1 Corinthians 13 and that led to a desire to study Colossians 3 and on and on. Before I knew it, I wasn’t just reading scripture but I was memorizing scripture and was letting scripture tell me what to read next. All of scripture opened up to me in a brand new way.

Made me appreciate church more – I used to be very critical of church and romanticized the stories of people who I had heard about who left the church out of “devotion.” But it is hard to read the New Testament and not see the effort that Christ went through to establish his church and it is hard to ignore the terminology of the church being the Bride of Christ. To reject the church is  to reject one of Christ’s greatest achievements and 2000 years of God’s work on Earth. My church, your church, everyone’s church has problems and is incredibly limited and distracted but our individual church is the work of God and his will and we need to be sensitive to that.  Christ showed me this and I have become much more willing to serve the church rather than just criticize it.

In Part 2, I will discuss what Christ has done in my life regarding anger, sex, and personality.