How to Correctly Study the Bible: Positive Thinking

Updated: Sep 16

From the Director Podcast: Season 1, Episode 2

The goal of the Bible is a personal relationship with the God of the Bible, right? So at some point you’ve got to get very transparent about what you need to find in the Bible-what do you need from God- what change are you seeking -where is the path- today were going to take a look at it. How to find what you need in the Bible.

This week has been crazy for me personally. I live in a foothill community. The reality of living in these communities in California is that it’s at the base of a mountain-normally never a hill-a mountain. Someone does something wrong and boom you have a fire. So the first community at risk-yes-are the communities at the foothills.

I have a very vivid memory of a close childhood friend who lived further up in the hills than we did. Till this day some 30 years later the impact of that experience shapes her work as an artist. It was painful knowing her house was threatened, was being lost and eventually everything gone.

On the West side of the United States, it’s dry heat so fast forward to 2007's San Bernardino fires. There were pockets of fires. I’ll never forget the different fires around Cal State University San Bernardino. The ash was like rain that fell from the sky. It would be alongside the freeway. On random grassy hills where no other fires were. There was no linear fashion to how this fires were happening around me.

The memories are vivid. This week a fire started not far from the foothills of where I live and it’s not emotionally on my radar, until...I get an alert on my phone that says evacuation warning. To be honest, I immediately get upset because this alert is suggesting my family and I are in some kind of impending danger and really, we’re probably not. The next day I decide to look into the message and where I live is inside of an evacuation warning.

Ok so- I begin to conceptualize it’s time start to pack and as I begin to do so, the text messages start with friends and family who live around me and it starts to become real. As it starts to become real the memories of what I know about what a fire can do rise to the forefront of my mind.

The potential threat becomes real and it starts to influence my actions. In a small window, certainly my heart races, certainly I become emotional. Piggy backing on Episode 1, memories are going to show up. What will you do to gain more control of your emotions when you’re in the middle of a meeting and feelings wail up-how do you know your allowing a memory to get in the way of positive thinking or should be used to empower your future?

As I talked to people and noticed how I was reacting, my question became-what value do these memories have in faith? I’d like to think positively-oh nothings going to happen- it’s not going to get dangerously close. But my memory tells me I KNOW how fires shift, how embers can travel a mile and create a new fire. My memory comfortably will rise up and tell me positive thinking is cute but here is the truth. My memory does that!

God never said think positive things. He said think on these things and provided a list (Philippians 4:8). So which way do I go? 'Oh that’s a negative memory-don’t go there' or 'wait-is this memory a possible key to more?'

To correctly study the have to ask questions.

So I had to ask. Lord, what value do my memories play in having faith?

The Bible tells us both. Forget AND to remember. Isaiah 43:18-28 has both in the same passage.

If you want to get deeper and closer to God, how do you correctly study to know when to apply this or that? Thankfully the Bible is contextual. So to sort out how to apply the information in it, you have to look at the circumstances around what is being talked about in a passage.

We’re only going to get a small piece of this today but let’s look at forgetting Phil 3:13-14 & remembering Proverbs 10:7

Phil 3:13-14-BROTHERS AND SISTERS I DO NOT CONSIDER MYSELF YET TO HAVE TAKEN HOLD OF IT. BUT ONE THING I DO, FORGETTING what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.


In context, what we see in Phil is a detachment from anything that makes it difficult to move ahead. Paul did things to persecuting Christians. If he meditated on his old ways of wickedness it would certainly hold him back from what God called him to. So he’s making active choices not to.

On the contrary we have another passage in Proverbs that the memory of you is a blessing. the sheer thought and recollection of you who do the will of God is the best there is. Psalm 111:12 says the righteous man will be remembered forever. We may throw around the word blessed but when you see blessed there is nothing sweeter!

If we could forget we would but truth is....

Forgetting is something only God can truly do. It’s His thing (Isaiah 43:25). You are created with a distinct ability to remember.

God calls us in our remembering-to not forget Him. His accomplishments(Psalm 77:11, Ecc12:1, Deut 6:12) who he is (I Cor 11:2, Isaiah 46:9,Luke 22:19), and what he says(Deut 8:2, Acts 20:35, John 14:26).

The heart of the Bible is not focused on his children forgetting. The intention is to gird yourself up knowing whose you belong to and not to let anything, memories included to knock you from your focus on him (Luke 9:62, Hebrews 6:1) To even repent we have to remember how low we’ve gone (Rev 2:5). The very act of communion is remembering the gruesome and profitable act accomplished in the cross for you (I Cor 11:24).

I love the idea of positive thinking but it is nothing in comparison to what has really happened in your life mixed with what God is intending for you.

It’s clear in the Bible that memories and your experiences are purposed to draw you closer to God.

As creatives although we use our emotions to develop art, we also struggle with where to place our emotions in the real world. In Christ he wants to use them for His glory. It will take you to remember in order for Him to do that. When the remembering get tough to handle-there is another side and there is a purpose for the memory. Some of us have been hurt so bad we don’t want to remember. Study this book. Start with a question. By doing so you will find answers that will lead you to radical and rare positivity surrounding your experiences.

Let’s be sure that we do not take one scripture and run with it but correctly study the Bible and sort through the context for real answers to our deepest questions so we can have a close, personal and authentic relationship with God.