Most trees do not develop deep roots, commonly referred to as tap roots, below the tree’s trunk. Most trees and plants only develop roots in the top portion of the soil.
However, pine and oak trees are an exception and develop a great system of tap roots.
Above is a pic of Northern Pin Oak. It reaches heights of almost 70 feet at maturity and is known for the deep root system it develops in a short period of time. For this reason – this Oak is not easily moved!
This is a pic of Mugo Pine – This southern pine develops deep roots unless it is planted on shallow poorly drained soil. This pine is shrub like and grows to heights of 15-25 feet tall.
In this third installment on HABTIS we are going to talk about Bible Study/Memorization – being ROOTED in the Word. This is not the same thing as a Quiet Time or devotional time, but instead a Bible study time is designed to help us go deeper in our faith. Paul wrote to the Colossians about the necessity of this in Colossians 2:6-7 “Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith just as you were taught, overflowing with gratitude.”
The key word in this verse above is the word ROOTED. This is an agricultural term and the way in which Paul writes it here is very important. It literally means here “ONCE AND FOR ALL HAVING BEEN ROOTED.” We as believers are not to be spiritual “tumbleweeds” that have no roots and are blown about by any doctrine. Paul warns of this in Ephesians 4:14 “Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit.” Christ is the soil. Once we are rooted in faith in Christ, there is no need to change soil. The roots begin to draw on the nourishment so that the tree can grow. The roots of the tree give strength and stability.
Just as a tree can’t thrive without any roots, we cannot grow if we have not been grounded in “His glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3) When we trust Christ as Savior, we are planted in the rich soil and from then on we grow in grace. So what is it that builds and strengthens the believer? What helps our roots grow deep? “Just as you were taught.” It is the Word of God. If our spiritual roots are going to grow, we can’t want any other soil. So our “B” in our spiritual HABITS is BIBLE STUDY/MEMORIZATION. Let’s make it practical…
2 Timothy 2:15 “STUDY to show yourself approved to God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” So the question is how do we rightly divide the Word of Truth?
- READ IT – Dr. Jerry Vines, former pastor of FBC Jacksonville, FL said, “An unread Bible is like food uneaten, a love letter never read, a buried sword, a road map unstudied, gold never mined.” Richard Moulton said, “We have done almost everything that is possible with these Hebrew and Greek writings. We have overlaid them, clause by clause, with exhaustive commentaries; we have translated them, revised the translations, and quarreled over the revisions…there is yet one thing left to do with the Bible: SIMPLY READ IT!”
- INTERPRET IT – This is not just about a thought for the day or an encouraging word, but why the particular word was written in the first place. We must know the context it was written if we are going to put it in context in our lives. So as we are reading, we must ask the question, “Why did the author write what he wrote?” So how?
- Ask specific questions (Who, what where, when why?) Who wrote it? To whom was it written? Who is involved in action?
- What is the key idea? What are key events? What are important words or phrases?
- Where? What are places mentioned? Nations, cities, households?
- When was it written? What is the time of events? Past, present, future?
- Why is it being written? What is the immediate purpose?
Take the time to do this. Cross-reference. the Bible itself shines light on its own meaning. Commentaries are great as well and can shed light on much of these things but, of course, they never replace the Bible itself. Once you have read it, researched it, asked the right questions and contextualized it, you know can ask about the takeaway.
Application can’t come first. It always has to follow interpretation. J. Robertson McQuilkin said, “The goal of all Bible study is to apply the truth of Scripture to life. If that application is not made, all the work put into making sure of the author’s intended meaning will have gone for naught. In fact, to know and not to do, doubles the offense of disobedience.”
Psalm 119:34 “Help me understand Your instruction, and I will obey it and follow it with all my heart.”
James 1:22 “But be doers of the Word and not hearer only, deceiving yourselves.”
Application must be kept simple, practical and personal. “Is there a command to obey?” “Is there an attitude to adjust or a sin to repent of?” “Is there a principle to apply?”
Bible study, interpretation and application is one of the things that will give you deep roots. Can we go deeper?
Memorizing scripture is vital to our growth. Jesus clearly showed us that as he constantly quoted scripture – especially in the face of temptation. Don’t look at memorization as HOW MANY but instead HOW CLOSE. The Word of God down deep in our heart grows us closer to God on a deeper level. Ever verse that we memorize gives God a better chance of speaking clearly to us.
Imagine being in a foreign country and only knowing 50 words of the language. You can understand some of what is being said, but you might miss out on something important. Every “word” that we learn is one that increases our opportunity of hearing clearly.
Of course that is not a perfect analogy but it is difficult to hear God speaking at times. Every way that we can increase the likelihood of hearing what He is saying is an asset. Psalm 119:10-11 “I have sought You with all my hear, don’t let me wander from Your commands. I have treasured Your Word in my heart so that I may not sin against You.”
- Memorization prepares us for productivity. Psalm 1:2-3. “His delight is in the Lord’s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night. He is like a tree planted beside streams of water that bears its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”
- Memorization keeps us from sin. Jesus is the prime example of this when He was tempted. Every verse that we’ve memorized is another weapon spiritually. This is not a law but a tool. There is not a verse that says, “Thou shalt memorize 3 verses a week!” This a vital tool for drawing closer to God!
What are reasons we don’t (excuses we give)?
- It is too hard
- I have a bad memory
- I don’t have time
- I’m too old
- I can always just look it up
The truth about our excuses are not about “I can’t” but “I won’t.”
Need some help in this area? Write verses on stick notes or index cards and review them daily/weekly. I do this every Monday.
Use an APP. fighterverses.com or in the App Store at Fighter Verses. This app helps you memorize, provides quizzes and memory aids and gives you a new verse every Monday to memorize. This is what I use then I write down and review all week long.
I know this post is long and some of this seems so difficult because you have never done it before. Let me just encourage you if you want to go deeper, you have to get in the Word and also let the Word get into you.