A Review of "His Word Alone" by Summer Lacy
Do you find Bible study boring? Or difficult? Or do you find making time for it too inconvenient? Then you need to read this not-too-long, easy-to-read guide on why and how to study the Bible for yourself.
I am so glad to have been chosen to be on the Launch Team for Summer Lacy's Christian non-fiction book titled, His Word Alone. I was intrigued by the premise that we have relied too heavily on Bible studies and we need to get back to reading the Bible by itself.
As a Bible study girl, and leader a couple of times, I wanted to know if she had found negative results from Bible studies. Nothing could be further from the truth. It's just that we have replaced our own Bible study with others' Bible studies, getting all our information and interpretation second-hand.
So I was very thankful for the focus on personal study of God's Word on our own but also with the balance of not throwing out the Bible studies altogether.
How do you study your Bible? Do you read the Word for yourself? Do you study the Word on your own first? Or do you run to commentaries right away? Do you accept your pastor's interpretation without question, because “he must have spent more time on it than I ever could?” Believe me, it's easy to do.
But you can—and should—study God's Word first on your own.
1 John 2:27 (NLT): “But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don't need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true--it is not a lie.”
But how? How do we study the Bible for ourselves, especially if we've never done it before? Summer vulnerably shows us where she was and the process she uses to study for herself.
I highly recommend this book!
I also wanted to share with you some ideas I had while filling out some of the discussion questions and charts. Here are some practical ideas I came up with in this chart to combat both the exterior and interior barriers I have in listening to God. These will be different for many different people, but perhaps these will help you.
Review of His Word Alone:
Everything about this book was positive!
I recommend this to anyone hesitant or serious about studying the Bible.
Very easy to read
Not long read
Well-written and edited
Discussion questions at the end of each chapter to put into practice what she taught.
I appreciated the help from the few visuals.
None. I can't think of a single one!
The only thing I would add is how Bible study will look a little different for each person, because we all have different worship styles (take the Worship Personality Test) and love languages (take the Love Language Assessment).
I show love to God through spending extended time in Bible Study, because I love Quality Time, and this is one way I can really spend a lot of quality time with the Lord. For those who use other love languages (see Gary Chapman's The Five Love Languages of God), Bible study will have a slightly different flavor, maybe not as long or scholarly. And that's okay.
That is not to say that your love language absolves you from needing to study the Bible on your own. Quite the contrary. But how it looks will most likely differ from mine.
And, please, don't compare yourself to others. This isn't trying to gain more Bible knowledge than the author, myself, big name Bible Study leaders, your pastor, or anyone else! This is about deepening your relationship with Your Lord. Just you and Him. And since every person is unique—and God is infinite—each relationship will be unique!
For example, the ways we follow Summer's Step 4, Respond to God's Word (p.128), will differ. A Physical Touch person may respond to the Scripture passage by raising their hands in worship and song. A Gifts person may respond by creating a journal or piece of artwork (see Bible Journaling with Jan Cox). An Acts of Service person may offer to babysit for another mother to enjoy her quiet time with the Lord. A Words of Affirmation person may write out a prayer of praise or a poem. There are so many different ways to rightly respond.
3. Favorite Parts
Discussion questions to practice what she's taught. I loved being able to apply her points every chapter. Usually, the questions are at the end of the chapter, but every once in a while, they are right in the middle of the chapter. For example, in the middle of Chapter Four, “Are You Listening?” there are two pages of questions and a chart.
“No, my goal is not to compel you to do away with such Bible study resources... Ultimately, my contention is that in our over-reliance on Bible study materials, we have attempted to substitute a person's word about God's word for God's word itself, and we're missing God in the process” (p.3-4).
“Jesus lived and died so we would need no other mediator. These people [Wycliffe, Martin Luther, Erasmus, William Tyndale, etc.] lived and died so we could read God's good news of salvation directly and with unhindered access. Have we, with our over-reliance on Bible studies, teachers, pastors, academics, and theologians, given this access away? Have we backed away from the Bible ourselves and put it back into the hands of only the learned, trained, and rightly educated?” (p.16)
“I can't read the red-letter words of John 8:31 without being deeply convicted that my attempt to circumvent reading the Bible through any means of Bible study other than my eyes on His word is a flat-out cop-out... We cannot learn to recognize His voice by hearing other people describe it. Listening to God is necessarily experiential. It is something we must do for ourselves” (p.31).
“What's best for you is rarely what is easiest for you” (p.36).
“Just as God breathed life into the very first man in the Garden of Eden, thus making him a living creature, God uses His holy scriptures, which have been 'breathed out by God' (2 Tim. 3:16), to awaken our souls from death to life” (p.63).
“What the Jewish people missed, and what we should be careful not to miss now, is that Jesus didn't come to meet our expectations but to exceed them. He did not come to merely free us from physical earthly bondage but from an eternal, spiritual bondage. He did not come to cure the maladies of our bodies but of our souls. He did not come to establish a kingdom for us here on earth but in heaven” (p.63-4).
“Jesus asked these questions not for His benefit, but for theirs. God's questions always serve at least one purpose. They provide us with the opportunity to evaluate our own hearts and repent where necessary. His questions are one of the many evidences of His very great mercy toward us” (p.70).
“This is how it works: Love for God motivates us to know His word. Knowing His word creates within us a love for God. It's a circular relationship in which God's love calls you to action, and that action leads you more deeply into God's love” (p.72-3).
Conclusion: I highly recommend Summer Lacy's His Word Alone! If you come with a desire to know God more and an open mind, you will not be disappointed.
You can preorder His Word Alone HERE.