Official Apex Reviews Interview: Andy Deane (Learn To Study The Bible)
Andy, thanks for joining us for this interview. We’re looking forward to learning more about your book and other efforts.
Was there a specific event or experience that inspired you to put this helpful guide together?
This project came about after what I thought was going to be a fairly simple task of teaching a group of junior high students a few basic inductive Bible study principles that would help them to dig into the Word on a daily basis. The class wasn’t forced upon them; they wanted to learn how to study the Bible for themselves. So, I agreed to share some of what I have learned about studying the Scriptures with them. I even threw in some clever (or at least I thought so) illustrations and examples that teenage minds could relate to, in an attempt to make the class fun and memorable. But to my surprise, after forty minutes they were actually worse off then when we began; all I had to show for my effort was a room full of frustrated and confused teenagers.
The collective look of bewilderment on their faces was one of the scariest moments I’ve ever had as a youth pastor. However, the worst part of all was that I accomplished the exact opposite of what I had set out to do: instead of getting them excited about studying the Bible, they left feeling as though it was totally out of their reach.
What a disaster! I quickly realized that the biggest mistakes I made were:
1) Trying to teach them a method of Bible study that was too complicated for them to grasp.
2) Presenting it to them as if it was the only way to study Scripture.
I was determined to right this wrong, but first I needed to do a little research. So, I began to look for the perfect Bible study method – one that would open their young minds to the greatness of the Bible.
A personal quest began to grow out of my utter failure. Every day I searched for new study methods that would unlock God’s Word. I read over thirty books (many out of print) and visited countless websites looking for the best Bible study methods. None of the ones I found were perfect, but many of them had interesting points of view and seemed like they would be fun to try. So I did. That is when I began to realize that I was onto something more than I anticipated at the start. My search resulted in not one, but numerous inspiring and challenging Bible study methods suitable for any Christian, young or old, who desires to draw nearer to the Lord through studying His Word.
In the end, I had compiled a list of forty different step-by-step Bible study methods. I tested each of them myself, improving upon some in order to make them a little more efficient and to the point. As I was doing the work, a desire to share my discoveries with others began growing in my heart. I wished that everyone could read the books and websites for themselves, but I knew that wasn’t very realistic. So I did the next best thing. I decided to bring it all together in this one book, Learn to Study the Bible: Forty Different Step-by-Step Approaches to Help You Discover, Apply, and Enjoy God’s Word.
Why did you ultimately decide upon the number 40 for the amount of methods that you include?
Honestly, I only really had 39 Bible study methods when I decided to put this research into book form. But that number just seemed way too close to 40. So I asked the Lord for wisdom in adding another method. I didn’t want it to be a weak method that was too similar to the other ones. Eventually, about 1 month before completion of the book, the Lord gave me the idea for the Skeptics Method based on an article I read in Bible study magazine about something Mark Driscoll does in his church. That method ended up being one of my favorites!
If there were only one piece of advice that you could give to someone who wants to study the Bible but dreads the thought of doing so, what would it be?
Read to meet with Jesus. One of the main reasons why we study the Bible is to get to know the Author better. That is why setting a goal for our Bible study that focuses solely on gaining knowledge and facts, misses the point. Look for clues in the text that reveal God’s attributes and meditate upon what you are learning about Him in His Word. When we study the Bible with the understanding that it is God’s love letter to us, it will help us to get to know Him more intimately. The Scriptures lead us directly into God’s heart, so missing Him in all our studying would be a failure to grasp the most
important lesson. By seeking to know the Lord better through our study of His Word we will begin to cherish that time and long for more of it each day because it is the place where we get to meet with Jesus. Best of all, when the day finally comes and we stand before Him face-to-face, we will not be doing it as strangers.
Christ is the key to understanding the Scriptures (John 5:39-40). One exciting discovery you make as you study the whole Bible is finding that Jesus Christ is the centerpiece of each of the Bible’s sixty-six books. He is in everything: the law, the prophets, and the psalms (Luke 24:25-27). So when we see a priest in Scripture, it reminds us that Jesus is our High Priest. When we see a king or a shepherd, it is a type of Jesus, our Chief Shepherd. When we see a sacrifice, we remember Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Everything in the Old Testament foreshadows, and points to, Jesus. Everything in the New Testament reflects back on the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Search diligently for Jesus in every passage—He is there!
How have readers responded to the book thus far?
Everyone seems very excited about the variety that this book has to offer. You can read the reader reviews at http://www.learntostudythebible.com/bible-study/book-reviews.asp.
Do you plan to visit churches and other organizations in the future in order to share more about the book with their members?
Yes, I’m sharing seminars on “How to Have Daily Devotions” as well as teaching classes on “How to Study the Bible”.
Please share more with us about your publisher, Xulon Press.
Xulon Press is a Christian publisher that is owned by Salem Communications. They were very helpful.
In addition to being an author, you’re also a youth pastor. Please share more with our readers about your efforts in that field.
Being a youth pastor is my first love in ministry. I love discipling students and teaching them the core principles of God’s word. I want to make youth group fun for them. The Bible shouldn’t be boring and we try and impart an excitement for reading the Bible at our youth group. We take the students on a missions trip to the Dominican Republic each year, as well as retreats, road trips, and other events. My favorite event of 2009 was the “New Testament Challenge Week”. We had 20 students read the entire New Testament in one week together as a group. I was so proud of them!
Where can our readers learn more about you and your ongoing efforts?
Readers can visit http://www.AndyDeane.com or follow my on twitter @AndyDeane. We have a book facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/LearnToStudyTheBible/.
Also, how can they contact you directly?
Readers can call (888)271-2551 and more contact information is at the book’s official website: http://www.LearnToStudyTheBible.com.
Any final thoughts you’d like to share with our readers?
It’s worth it to get into God’s word daily! Studying the Bible is a spiritual discipline that requires both time and effort. In the physical world, everyone knows that it takes more energy to digest meat than milk. The same can also be said of the spiritual world. Assimilating the “meat” of Scripture requires more effort than sipping on the “milk” of the Word. Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking that because it is a spiritual pursuit it should not be labor intensive. However, with little perspiration you will fi nd little inspiration. So, yes, Bible study is work, but the riches that you will discover as you dig into the Bible will be well worth the time and energy you devote.
A.B. Simpson wrote, “God has hidden every precious thing in such a way that it is a reward to the diligent, a prize to the earnest, but a disappointment to the slothful soul. All nature is arrayed against the lounger and the idler. The nut is hidden in its thorny case; the pearl is buried beneath the ocean waves; the gold is imprisoned in the rocky bosom of the mountains; the gem is found only after you crush the rock which encloses it; the very soil gives its harvest as a reward to the laboring farmer. So truth and God must be earnestly sought.”