Jeremy Freeman was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, but has called Oklahoma home since his college days at Oklahoma Baptist University. Jeremy was saved at 16 years of age and called to ministry at 17. He received his high school diploma from Castle Hills First Baptist Christian School in 1995; received an undergraduate degree from Oklahoma Baptist University in 1999, and received a Master of Divinity degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY in 2008. He is married to Emily ‘McMains’ from Seminole, OK (also a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University, 2000), and they have five children: Brittany (12), Caleb (11) Clayton (10) Trey (7), and Aubrey (4). Follow Jeremy on Twitter @JeremyFreeman_
Jeremy has been a youth evangelist, youth minister, associate pastor and involved in many different types of mission trips and projects. He has served in Southern Baptist churches in Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Jeremy began his ministry as the Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church Newcastle, OK on July 1, 2009. Some of Jeremy’s hobbies include spending time with his wife and children, traveling, reading, and playing and watching sports (especially the San Antonio Spurs and the OU Sooners). His main passion in ministry is to thoroughly study and preach the complete and perfect Word of God. His favorite Scripture verse is 2 Corinthians 4:18, which says, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, for what is seen is temporary and what is unseen is eternal.
Rightly Divided: Qualities Needed to Study and Understand Scripture
Studying, understanding, and applying God’s Word are at the heart of a Christian’s walk with the Lord. If one does not study Scripture, they will of course never understand it or apply it to their life. This is true for the individual, small group, or church. All that we know of God and His desires for us come from His inspired, inerrant and infallible Word. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that “The Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and the intentions of the heart.” What that tells us is that we must immerse ourselves in the Word, that we might be pierced in the heart and changed by the Word. It could be said then that the heart, or the goal of Bible study, both personal and corporate, is transformation. Romans 12:2a says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…” Every believer, every small group, and every church must approach God’s Word with that goal in mind…to be transformed!
It is with that in mind, that a few essentials need to be considered in order to “rightly divide” and be transformed by the Word of God:
First, a proper perspective of the Word of God will lead believers to stand in awe ofGod. When we approach the Scripture, we must realize that we are approaching God Himself! This understanding should provoke a holy reverence and humility in the heart of every believer. As we seek to handle the Scripture, we need to understand that it is God who first needs to handle us. Someone has wisely said, “We do not study Scripture to master it, rather we study Scripture that it might master us.” Individuals and groups must approach the Word of God first and foremost with that perspective. The fact that God has spoken and revealed Himself so clearly in His Word, should “floor” every believer every time they open their Bible. Acts 2:42 says, “And they devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And AWE came upon every soul…” Believers need to stand in awe of God, and that best happens by having the proper perspective when approaching His Word.
Second, when studying the Scripture, believers must always think about context before they do application. When a passage is read, the first question should not be, “What does this passage mean to me,”but rather, “what does this passage mean?” Students of the Word have to look at the intent of the author, the audience he was speaking to, and the message he was conveying under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Who,what, when, where and why must be asked of every passage that is read. It is critical that believers studying the Scripture get to the heart of the original meaning of the passage they are considering in order to have genuine, biblical application. Context must drive meaning, and when it does, the Holy Spirit will provide proper and powerful application.
Third, a devotion to prayer and yieldedness to the Holy Spirit are absolutely essential when studying God’s Word. Believers have a tendency to consult everyone except the Holy Spirit when seeking to understand Scripture. Keep in mind, it is invaluable to utilize good commentaries and other biblical resources when studying God’s Word, but do not forget that Jesus said the Holy Spirit would “guide us into all truth (John 16:13).” Before “others” are consulted on the meaning of a passage, make sure and spend considerable time in prayer and asking the Holy Spirit to speak clearly. As I said, there is great value in listening to others who have studied the Bible extensively, but do not sell the Holy Spirit short and run to other people first. Pray, ask, listen, and wait as you read…and you will be surprised how loudly and clearly the Holy Spirit will speak.
Finally, study with the intention of sharing! True disciples make other disciples, and the best way to begin that journey is by sharing with others what God is teaching you. As Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:1-2, “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” Scripture should be studied for the purpose of being transformed by God, that He might use you in the lives of others. Whether studying the Scripture alone or with others, Christians need to get comfortable talking about what they are learning. Many Christians read their Bible consistently, but share what God teaches them rarely. That should not be the case. A careful, thoughtful study of God’s Word should produce a “fire in your bones” that cannot be quenched. Believers need to have the attitude that Peter and John had when they said, “We cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard (Acts 4:20).” The world is desperate for the “church to be the church,” and that begins by Christians being the kind of Christians God calls us to be. Do not study God’s Word to just collect information…study for transformation! Do not study God’s Word to just grow personally…study to be used powerfully! Just think if these principles were employed in every Sunday School class in our churches. Sunday School would then be the driving force we know it can be in the church.
The Oklahoma Sunday School initiative, ReConnect Sunday School, only helps foster this kind of attitude and atmosphere. What a great tool and emphasis! I have never been more proud to be an Oklahoma Baptist.
We encourage you to interact with Jeremy by leaving a comment below. Jeremy will be checking by the blog today to respond to your comments.
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