View Full Version : Got any advice when feeling dry?

09-13-2005, 11:08 PM
Hello everyone,
I have greatly enjoyed being a part of the BibleWorks forum and seeing the many ways fellow believers offer sound advice to one another. Let me tell you about my problem...
I am a seminary student with a pretty good (though not expert) understanding of Greek and Hebrew, enough at least to open a whole new world in my studies and teaching. My problem is that for some reason I'm having trouble finding the goldmines in the text like I used to. Has anyone gone through this season before? Got any advice or suggested resources?
Thanks for your help everybody!

Grant Rothberg

09-14-2005, 06:49 AM
Read slowly. (Seriously.)

And read this: http://www.desiringgod.org/library/topics/leadership/advice_preach.html

09-14-2005, 08:01 AM
The subject is "precarious" as mentioned in Piper's sermon that doc_dave graciously shared with us HERE (http://www.bibleworks.com/forums/showpost.php?p=4508&postcount=2).

I don't have a sermon to share, but I can share my own experience as a seminarian and graduate of Bible college.

Prior to coming to Seminary I had a bit of a crisis at Bible college. I started to realize that my "academic" bend in personality could easily usurp any kind of spiritual hunger for God's Word. I witnessed friends of mine trading in their spiritual vitality for the sake of academics and felt myself doing the same. I almost thought that I would have to choose between "academics" and heart-felt devotion to God. This was made into a bigger tension given my background in Pentecostalism, which historically tends to downplay any rigorous academic study of Scripture for the sake a purely devotional reading.

Thankfully men and women were placed in my life that were able to model rigorous academics and vital devotion. In observing them, and talking to them it seems to come down to our end goal in biblical study. Do we study the text to simply mine data and know more about first century Christianity/Judaism and the Ancient Near East, or do we study the text to cultivate a life of worship before the God who has revealed himself in the text? If God wired you for "academic" study of Scripture, then don't shy away from it. The Holy Spirit has gifted his church by providing folks like yourself. "Channel" your gifting for his service and with the end-goal of fostering your own and your community's life of worship.

On a practical level, one element of exegesis that seems to rarely be mentioned in the classroom is foundational for our understanding of the text, and our ability to communicate it well to others. That element is prayer. I'm continually struggling with this discipline, but I have found that in preparing for Sunday School or a sermon, that it is best to approach exegesis through the lense of prayer. Make your study an act of "conversation" between yourself, God (both through his Word & the inner testimony of his Holy Spirit) and the "cloud of witnesses" represented in the theologies and commentaries that you may read. Ask the question, how does his text impact my prayer? How does it impact my ability to praise and worship God? How can I make myself relevant to this text? (Note that it's not about making the text relevant to people, but ourselves relevant to God and the text that reveals him).

Well, that's my 2.

09-14-2005, 01:32 PM
Jack Deer's book, Surprized by the Power of the Spirit, chapter 8 (I think) gives an excellent discussion about how he discovered that he loved the Bible more than he loved God, and his own denomination more that God. Deer was a seminary professor of the O.T. and has "academic wiring." The book deals with spiritual gifts but regardless of your view on them, chapter 8 could stand alone as a warning about forgetting that academics/Bible/theology/etc. are means to an end and not ends in themselves. We study the Bible to arive at the goal of God, not just to study the Bible.

Sometimes God lets us go dry to build our thirst for Him. If academics, even Bible study, becomes a substitute for Him, God might employ a dry time to get us back on track with Him.

I'm not saying that you've entered in to "Bible worship", Grantr21, but I know that's how it's worked in my life more than once. Perhaps my experience can help you.

Another experience that I've had is using Bible teaching to make myself look good in the church. That was a bad place to go.


09-14-2005, 04:10 PM
I'm sorry, but I don't see anything that tells me how to change to a New Thread rather than just reply to someone else.

Obviously, I am new to this.


09-14-2005, 04:23 PM
I'm sorry, but I don't see anything that tells me how to change to a New Thread rather than just reply to someone else.

Obviously, I am new to this.


Go to this page:

Hit the button at the bottom that says "new thread."


09-14-2005, 07:36 PM
I am a seminary student with a pretty good (though not expert) understanding of Greek and Hebrew ... My problem is that for some reason I'm having trouble finding the goldmines in the text like I used to. Grant Rothberg Hey Grant,

You mentioned in the title of "being dry," but in the body you simply say you are having trouble finding the goldmines like you used to. If you are truly spiritually dry, that's one thing. And much of the above advice applies.

But I'd like to suggest another line of thinking. Maybe your "problem" is that you are growing in your proficiency in the languages! When one knows "just enough to be dangerous" he comes up with lots of "gold mines." But it's fools gold! It's "gold" obtained by committing linguistic fallacies: root fallacies, illegitimate totality transfer, anachronisms, etc.

As you have grown in your language ability, you treat the text much more accurately, but with many fewer "goldmines." The gold is still there, but you have to dig deeper, pray harder, meditate more, etc.

So what you are experiencing could be bad, if you are truly spiritually dry, or it could be good if you are actually handling the Word of God better.

Just some thoughts.

Mark Eddy
09-14-2005, 10:32 PM
Four points I've learned from my studies of God's word and my personal experience:

1. Remember that God is speaking in the Words of Scripture. He speaks there whether we "feel" anything or not. The goal of exegesis is to understand what God is saying, nothing more and nothing less. Our feelings about Scripture do not take away from the glorious fact that the Creator of the universe and the Savior of mankind (my Savior!) is speaking to me through the Bible.
2. The law of diminishing returns predicts that the more we study Scripture, the less new we will find there, since we have already learned much. If you learned the most important and life-changing truths of God's Word first, you can't expect to be as excited by learning the less important details.
3. The Scriptures testify about Christ. Even the law has as its purpose to bring us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith in Him. If you are looking for more that you can do for God, you will get burned out. But if you listen to what Christ has done for you, you will be relieved by the forgiveness of your self-centeredness, and you will be empowered by the Holy Spirit to trust in Christ more and more.
4. If you feel you aren't learning anything new, maybe you're ready to spend less time studying and more time teaching and evangelizing. In your attempt to proclaim Christ crucified and risen to other people, you'll be driven back to Scripture to find more ways to present the Gospel to people who may not want to hear it or know how to receive it.
And, of course, BibleWorks will cut down on the time it takes to find the Word of God you need.
In Christ,
Mark Eddy

09-16-2005, 03:16 PM
Refreshing comments.

Read to receive, not to produce.
You be the plant; He be the gardener.

Eventually you'll have more apples (or mangos?) than your bucket will hold . . .