Have you ever said, “I just can’t seem to get excited about studying the Bible?”
Come on. I know you hate to confess it, too, but surely we’ve ALL uttered that feeling at one time or another.
In those times, the Word of God has become “dry as dust, dead in our hands.”
How can that be?
The problem isn’t with the Bible.
The Word of God has always been, and always will be, active and alive.
It never changes — we do.
If the Bible seems boring or irrelevant, the problem is with us and in how we’re handling God’s Word.
“As you go, whether this Book is dead or alive will depend upon how you handle it. It depends upon these hands that hold it. You want it to be alive? You want it to be a quick, powerful, transforming thing? It depends so much on how you handle it. ”
~ Buck Hatch (Professor, CIU)
When handled correctly, the Bible comes alive to us, sharper than any two-edged sword, able to pierce deep into our souls and speak to us with power! (Hebrews 4:12)
When handled incorrectly, the Bible seems dead in our hands, as useless to us as a butter knife in brain surgery.
How do we “handle it” then so that the Bible will remain active and alive to us?
How do we ensure we teach it in a way that reflects what it truly is — the living Word, not just a bunch of old stories “about God” and instructions on how to live like a “good Christian?”
James M. “Buck” Hatch, a professor, counselor, and administrator with Columbia International University for over 40 years, has the answer, and I’ve got it right here for you. (You’re welcome!)
In his brilliant and classic teaching, Buck shares the “Ten Fingers — Delivering God’s Word Alive” (Click on the link to listen to the lesson and/or read the transcript.)
It’s an old teaching, but because the Word of God has never changed, the truth of this teaching hasn’t changed. (And Buck is enjoyable to listen to! A nice bonus.)
Below I’ve summarized “the ten fingers” Buck shares, but, please, do yourself a favor and listen to Buck teach it himself to get the full meaning of each “finger.”
(At the very bottom of this post is a PDF file you can print out of the summary.)
Listen to the audio. Read the transcript. Study these powerful truths.
If you do, you’re on your way to never again letting the Word of God become dry as dust in your hands.
Understanding these truths can change your life, because when the Word of God is living and active in you, it changes you from the inside out.
You stop “acting like a good Christian,” and you become changed by the Word into a shining reflection of Christ through the power of the Word doing its work inside your heart and mind.
Isn’t that worth taking the time to sit down and study this lesson?
I knew you’d agree.
~ † ~
The Ten Fingers For Delivering the Word of God Alive!
James M. “Buck” Hatch
Keep a firm grip on God’s Word,
and deliver it active and alive, not dry as dust!
“Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.”
~ 2 Corinthians 4:1-2
1. Mercy – “as we have received mercy”
God saw me in my miserable state and had mercy on me. Every good thing in my life, I have only by the gracious mercy of God towards me.
I Peter 1:3, Hebrews 4:16, Psalm 86:5, Luke 6:36
Opposite: Attitude of “I’m holier than thou!” & “Thank God I’m not like that sinner.”
2. Servant – “since we have this ministry”
The Greek word for “ministry” comes from the word that means servant. We are to be a bond-slave of Christ, not lords over others.
2 Corinthians 4:5, Matthew 20:26, Mark 10:43-45, Philippians 2:3-5, Galatians 5:13
Opposite: Attitude of an Executioner or Accuser, hitting others over the head with the Bible.
3. Spirit – “this ministry”
What ministry? The ministry of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:3-8)
A spirit-filled servant of God makes this Book alive.
2 Corinthians 3:17, Zechariah 4:6, Galatians 6:16-25
Opposite: Walking in our own strength and just head knowledge.
4. Triumph – “we do not lose heart”
We thank God that He always leads us in triumph. We never give up. No matter how hard it gets, we never stop believing in the power of God and His Word.
2 Corinthians 1:8-10, 2 Corinthians 2:13-14, 2 Corinthians 4:7-18, Isaiah 40:31, Hebrews 3:17
Opposite: In unbelief, we give up and quit trusting God and His Word.
5. Brokenness – “renounced the things hidden”
We renounce and turn away from all hidden and unconfessed sin in our lives, living open and bare before the Lord with all humility. We come to God’s Word, not as perfect people, but with a perfect heart, humbly broken before the Lord of all hidden sin and rebellion.
Proverbs 28:13, Psalm 32:3-5, Psalm 51:17, Isaiah 57:15, Romans 3:10, I John 1:9
Opposite: Living with secret sin, refusing to turn from it or confess it.
6. Simplicity – “not walking in craftiness”
We approach and share God’s Word without trickery, manipulation or using slick marketing in an attempt to make God’s Word seem more appealing.
We’re not concerned with being “seeker friendly,” but rather in letting the simplicity of God’s Word reach hearts and accomplish what God sends it out to accomplish.
Hebrews 4:12, 2 Corinthians 1:12, Isaiah 55:11, Isaiah 40:8, Isaiah 46:10
Opposite: Slick manipulation and trickery in reading and sharing God’s Word
7. Faithfulness – “adulterating the word of God”
We don’t add to or take away anything from God’s Word, corrupting it or changing it. We treat it faithfully and honestly, leaving it in its pure form.
John 17:17, Psalm 12:6, Psalm 19:7-9, John 8:32, Psalm 33:4, Proverbs 30:5-6, Revelation 22:18-19
Opposite: Attitude of “It’s God’s Word plus…”
8. Clarity – “manifestation of truth”
The word manifest means to make something clearly known. We approach and teach God’s Word in a way that it can be understood by anyone.
Romans 1:19, Nehemiah 8:8, Habakkuk 2:2, Matthew 13:19, Luke 24:27, 45
Opposite: Attitude of being academically elite; lofty speech; confusion
9. Personal – “commending ourselves”
The word commend means to “place alongside” or “to introduce yourself.”
As we approach and teach God’s Word, we do so in a personal, not business-like, manner.
We come alongside each other to learn God’s Word in a real and personal way.
It’s living and active, not a dead and stale document.
I Thessalonians 2:6-11, 2 Timothy 2:24, Philemon 1:8-9, Philippians 1:7
Opposite: Treating God’s Word in an impersonal and business-like way.
10. Conscience – “to every man’s conscience”
We approach and deliver God’s Word with our conscience.
We appeal to every man’s conscience – right vs. wrong.
Sin is a moral issue. If our conscience is dead, we’re blind to the moral issue, and God’s Word appears dead and powerless in our lives.
Romans 2:15, Proverbs 3:5-6, I Timothy 1:19, I Timothy 4:1-2, Titus 1:9-15
Opposite: Approaching God’s Word with human reason, intellect, and emotions.
Always approach God’s Word remembering His mercy towards you, His servant, who filled with His Spirit, will always triumph as you live in humble brokenness before Him, and, embracing the simplicity of the gospel with all faithfulness, teach God’s Word with clarity, commending yourself in a genuine and personal manner, to every man’s conscience in the sight of God, and His Word will always prove active & alive!
“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
~ Hebrews 4:12
For a printable PDF of this summary of Buck Hatch’s Teaching, Click this link:
- Bible Study Tips
- Start Your Day with Praise and a Mouse in a Cup
- Monday Music — “Always” by Kristian Stanfill