How to Study the Bible and Approach God with a Pure Heart
By Tricia Goyer
Reading the Bible can feel like exploring a huge, old manuscript full of hard-to-understand secrets. Books like Leviticus, with all their rules and rituals, might seem hard to connect with today. It’s easy to wonder how these old writings matter to us now. But there’s a lot of meaningful stuff in there to discover.
For instance, recently, I’ve started reading Leviticus and begun to see it in a new way. What looked like just a bunch of rules is a guide for living close to a Holy God. Basically, all the crazy laws can be summed up as this: Leviticus is a guide to lead us to purity so that we can have a special relationship with God, who wants to be close to us.
What does this mean to us today? Basically, if we look at the Bible the right way, it can positively impact our spiritual lives. Understanding the “meaning behind the messages” as we read pushes us to dig deeper into the Bible. When we start to understand what we’re reading (at least a little bit!), we can look for advice and wisdom. For example, in Leviticus, as we read about mold and other impurities, we can also consider how to be closer to God and live with purity in mind today.
To really get what the Bible says, we can use a simple method called COMA—Context, Observations, Meaning, and Application. This approach helps us understand the Bible better.
CONTEXT: Digging into the Historical and Literary Background
Historical Context: This involves considering the audience, culture, contemporary events, and location relevant to the text. Who was being addressed, and what was happening in their world?
Literary Context: Here, we look at the structure of the text. What is the chapter about? How does it fit within the surrounding chapters and the book as a whole?
OBSERVATIONS: What Does the Passage Actually Say?
This step involves a straightforward reading of the passage, noting what is explicitly stated without diving into interpretations or applications.
MEANING: Uncovering the Text’s Significance
For the original audience of Leviticus, the laws and rituals were crucial for maintaining community purity and holiness. These practices were not mere formalities but a way to live out their covenant with God, emphasizing purification, atonement, and a holy lifestyle.
Today, Leviticus serves as a poignant reminder of the gravity with which we should approach our relationship with God. It challenges us to reflect on how we manage sin and impurity, emphasizing the need for spiritual cleanliness and holiness.
APPLICATION: Applying God’s Word to Our Lives
Understanding that we, as Christians, host the indwelling presence of the Most Holy God prompts we can ask ourselves are:
– Do I acknowledge the presence of a Holy God in my life?
– How do I remove spiritual contaminants from my life?
– Am I seeking God’s purification earnestly?
– Do I prepare my heart before engaging with God’s Word and His guidance each day?
As we get more into Leviticus (and the whole Bible), it’s really important to remove anything bad or impure from our lives and truly ask God to clean us. This means being ready not just on the outside but really ready in our hearts to connect with God every day.
Approaching God with a Pure Heart
To approach God with a pure heart, as Leviticus teaches, means more than just understanding the text. It’s also about applying its principles to our lives. It’s asking Jesus to cleanse us, making our hearts pure vessels ready to receive God’s divine presence. It’s a daily commitment to spiritual cleanliness, a pursuit of holiness that acknowledges the profound truth that the Holy God dwells within us.
This journey through Leviticus, guided by the COMA method, isn’t just about biblical literacy. It’s about transforming our approach to life itself. It’s a call to live in a way that honors our covenant with God, embracing our role as part of a “kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” (Yes, that’s what the Bible calls us as believers!)
So, let us approach our Bible study with diligence, humility, and a heart ready to be purified. Let’s allow the timeless lessons of Leviticus to reshape our understanding of what it means to live in a relationship with our King-God, who has chosen to dwell among us.
Journal Through the Bible in 2024
Have you ever wanted to read through the Bible but found yourself giving up? Or even worse, you read the chapters and at the end question how they apply to your life. Tricia Goyer understands. For years she felt frustrated that she couldn’t stick to her commitment to read God’s Word all the way through. Things changed when she found a doable plan and wrote out a daily prayer. Tricia’s heart changed. Her life did, too.
God can bring real transformation into your heart and life when you daily commit to reading your Bible and praying through God’s Word. Praying through the Bible in One Year offers a guided reading plan and a daily prayer starter to help you make God’s Word applicable to your life. Discover the inspiration for real-life transformation.