ep. 72 | Studying the Word with Elyse Fitzpatrick
On today’s episode of the Journeywomen podcast, I’m chatting with Elyse Fitzpatrick on the topic of studying the Word. We talked about everything from what Elyse would tell her 20-or-30-year-old self about Bible study to what has sustained her study of the Bible for forty plus years.
Be sure to check out her upcoming conference Idols of the Heart. You can join the conference in person or virtually by purchasing a streaming license for individuals, home groups, and churches. The conference can replay until December 31, 2018! This is a great resource.
You should know that Elyse is a hero of mine who I found out about from my very own mentors. So you’ll know her a little better, Elyse holds a certificate in biblical counseling from CCEF and an M.A. in Biblical Counseling from Trinity Theological Seminary. She has authored 23 books on daily living and the Christian life. Elyse loves to proclaim the good news of the gospel: That Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity, perfectly obeyed all the Law in our place, suffered in isolation and agony as punishment for our sin, died, and then rose again, all for our justification. A frequent speaker at women’s conferences, she has been married for over 40 years and has three adult children and six really adorable grandchildren. I genuinely hope this conversation with Elyse encourages you to get into the Word in whatever way you can, no matter what season you find yourself in today.
Can you tell us a little about who you are and what you do?
Why is it important that we study the Word?
What is the central message of the Word? What story drives the Word?
How does growing in our understanding of the Word impact our beliefs about who God is?
How does it impact our beliefs about who we are in light of him?
If you could offer 20-or-30 year old Elyse an exhortation in Bible study, what would it be?
What encouragement do you have for those of us who desire to grow in our knowledge and understanding of the Word, but who are also navigating really demanding seasons of life?
What has kept you growing in your understanding of the Word and in your own personal Bible study over the years?
What is the joy in growing in our understanding of the Word?
How does a genuine love for the Word of God flesh itself out in our everyday lives?
THREE QUESTIONS I ASK EVERY GUEST
What 3 resources would you recommend for someone who desires to grow in their study of the Bible?
What are your 3 simple joys?
Who has had the greatest impact on your own journey with Jesus?
“God’s Word is a lamp to our feet. So picture yourself going down a dark alleyway in a bad part of town. It’s dark, and there is no light You can’t really see that far in front of you. You are stumbling over things that you don’t really know what it is. And all of a sudden, a flashlight comes on and we can see what’s on the path in front of us. Now that is, in part, how God’s Word functions for us. It shines light on what is a very dark path.”
“We are all sinful, we all break God’s law, and we live in a sin cursed world. God’s Word tells me how to view myself, my own life, what I’m headed toward, the dangers that might be ahead, and also it shines a light on the people around me.”
“God’s Word not only tells me what I need to do, it tells me what Jesus Christ has already done. That is the very thing that is meant to motivate my walk with the Lord and to continue to try, even though I continually fail.”
“The law says I need to love God with my whole heart, mind, soul, and strength. So that's that light to my path thing. It shows me what I’m supposed to do. What would motivate me to do that? The only thing that gives me the courage to get up and try again is the knowledge that God has forgiven all my sins through Christ Jesus.”
“The Bible is not only just a lamp. The Bible is also great news.”
“If we don’t remember what the Bible says about what God has done in the person and work of Jesus Christ, if we forget that, then we become people who view God as an impatient taskmaster.”
“The only thing that will motivate love in our hearts is to know that we have been loved as we are, not some future better version of us, wholly, completely, eternally, and lavishly.”
“There is shame we feel when we can’t look at our accomplishments. But the flip side of that is the pride when we feel like we can look at our accomplishments. I want to jettison both despair and pride. They’re actually flip sides of the same coin. And the antidote to that is to be at peace in Jesus. Do I ignore? Of course not. Those are the very things (reading the Word, praying, spending time in fellowship) that will feed my soul and encourage me to be able to free fall into mercy. I want to free fall into mercy of Christ.”
“When I find myself beating myself up because I’m not as far along as I would hope to be, then I need to step back and say ‘Lord Jesus, forgive me. I can see by what’s going on in my heart right now that I’m wanting to put my trust in myself.’”
“My identity is not invested in how well I do things.”
“Sanctification is an act of free grace. God is in charge of sanctification.”
“We are to examine ourselves to make sure that we are in the faith. Well what is the faith? The faith is that Jesus Christ lived a perfect life, died a substitutionary death, and was raised for our justification. So I need to examine myself to see that I’m in the faith. And then all of the other ways that I have of measuring myself by myself is all foolishness.”
“Christians have been learning about and serving God for thousands of years, and most of that time, most of them didn’t have a Bible. I know that God can get me where I need to be even if all I have is one small snippet.”
“Sometimes we almost like having that kind of structure because then we can check it off our list and feel good.”
“The thing with social media is the fear of missing out. I want to know that I’m up, I’m hip, I know everything that is going on. That is self righteousness again, the desire to approve of yourself. So come again to the Lord and say ‘forgive me for wanting to approve of myself. I want to spend time with you. Help me do that.’ And then not to get to the end of that and turn back around and look at what I’ve done and say whether or not I can approve of myself.”
“There is also a sort of hunger. I wouldn’t dream of skipping breakfast. There is a hunger within my own heart to want to be fed. And I have gone three days when I haven’t read or prayed, and I know there is an emptiness that I want to be free of.”
ELYSE’S RESOURCES FOR STUDYING THE WORD
Idols of the Heart with Elyse Fitzpatrick [Join the conference in person or purchase a streaming license for individuals, home groups, and churches. The conference can replay until December 31, 2018.]
Read Scripture and get together with friends to talk about it
ELYSE’S SIMPLE JOYS
Breakfast in bed
Trader Joe’s steel cut oatmeal
CONNECT WITH ELYSE
How can studying God’s Word change your day to day life?
How would you like to grow in this area?
What challenges do you currently face to studying your Bible?
What are you going to do or implement as a result of what you’ve learned this week?
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