Mastery of the Bible

This excerpt is from an email that J. Robert Clinton, professor of leadership at Fuller Seminary, puts out weekly. Bobby’s admonition is worth repeating.


“In my opinion we have only one guarantee for an effective lifetime experience as a leader. We must be people of the Word.

In one of my opening classes I use an illustration, which shows that most leaders who have studied at Bible Colleges and Seminaries in the U.S. actually stop really studying the Bible for their own personal growth and lifetime basis for decision-making between the ages of 30-40. The conclusion that I draw in Having a Ministry That Lasts is:

Effective leaders should have an appropriate, unique, lifelong plan for mastering the Word in order to use it with impact in their ministries.

Few leaders master the Bible without a proactive, deliberate approach, which plans to do so. It does not just accidentally happen. For what I mean by “master,” see my book, Having A Ministry That Lasts.

My studies in the volume Focused Lives (1994) revealed that all of the 8 leaders studied the Bible as a lifelong pursuit:

Simeon (1759-1836)—Strategic Mentor
Gordon (1836-1895)—Missionary Minded Pastor
Brengle (1860-1936)—Public Saint
Morgan (1863-1945)—World Class Bible Teacher
Jaffray (1873-1945)—Missionary Pioneer
McQuilkin (1886-1952)—Bible College Founder
Mears (1890-1963)—Recruiter of Leaders
Maxwell (1895-1984)—Missionary Trainer

All were people of the Word all their lives. While they had their own unique approaches to study of the Bible, they were disciplined in doing so. And they finished well!

Daniel was still studying the Word in his-mid 80s. I [Bobby] have about 15 more years to go to catch-up with him. Do you have some plan for mastering the scriptures over your lifetime? Are you still studying, learning, and growing in the Word of God—whether or not you are preaching or teaching something?”

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