The Canine Bible Study Method

by | Jul 29, 2019 | Blog Page, How to Study

I’m guessing you have never heard of the Canine Bible Study Method. But the basis for the ‘Canine Method’ is 100% Scriptural. Really! And it’s another one of those times we are given a very practical and graphic ‘picture’ of something the Lord calls us to do. So, the Canine Method is really an object lesson – a very valuable one!

Bible Study – Psalm 1

The first verse of the first Psalm gives us our Bible study method:

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.

And now your’re asking, Where is the dog in Psalm 1:1? Hang with me! The first thing we need to see is Great Commandment encouragement. Seeing God’s love shows us how to love. And since His love is limitless and multi-faceted, thoughtful journeys into it can begin in many places.

The Negative

In this Psalm, we see a person first characterized by things that are not done. This fact is noteworthy because an accurate restatement of the opening would be:

O how happy is the man…

This person is happy because he does not walk, stand, or sit in ungodly ways. His day-to-day life (walk) is not given to listening to the ungodly people around him. This person’s station in life (stand) is not with those who knowingly practice sinful ways. His pride, accomplishment, and respect (sit) are not derived from those who scorn the concept God or the Word of God.

The Positive

The writer then turned his attention to the things are are done:

O how happy is the man who delights in the Lord.

Such a person takes more joy in the Giver of gifts than in the gifts received. A believer who delights in the Person of God knows how to ponder and consider the law (Word) of God. God’s Word is always in the thoughts of such a person. He meditates on the Word. The word meditates is the point of this post. And it is what led to my not-so-serious tag: Canine Bible Study Method. You are about to see the dog in Psalm 1:1!

Bible Study – The Canine Method

The Hebrew word hagah is translated as meditates. Hagah is used several times in Scripture. And just a bit of research will show it is not always translated as meditates. One such use is in Isaiah 31:4. Here, hagah is used literally, meaning to:

  • growl
  • roar
  • groan.

As a lion or a young lion growls over his prey… Most of us have not seen lions in the wild. So, think of your dog Spot, or Rover, or whatever his name was. Because in this case, felines and canines share a common trait!

Membership My childhood memories include our dog sitting by the back porch gnawing on a bone. He made a low guttural sound as he chewed to his heart’s content. The bone wasn’t getting away. It wasn’t threatening him. He was not upset at the bone. Quite the contrary! He was all too content to sit there and gnaw. He was satisfied.

If you permit it, he was delighted. This describes how we should be with the Word of God. We don’t come to this rich, vast banquet as one coming to a drive-up window. We come to sit, to stay, to chew, and ponder. The process allows the Word to soak into our thoughts, our prayers, and our lives. God Himself is the banquet. And it gives added depth to the words of Psalm 34:8 –

O taste and see that the Lord is good!

Using the thought above, read this verse this way: O how happy is the person who delights in the Word of God and growls over it day and night! Coming to God’s Word like this is about more than facts and concepts; it will show us the Author. And knowing Him is the object, and end, of studying His Word.

Avoiding Danger

Anything less than that will lead to pride. Why? If our study is not about Him it will be about ourselves. Paul wrote in I Corinthians 8:1 that knowledge leads to pride but love edifies. If we are to grow in understanding our Father’s vast love, we dare not settle for knowledge alone.

Again, in I Corinthians 13:8, the Apostle Paul said knowledge will pass away, but love abides forever. Who but our incredibly wonderful Heavenly Father would call us to love Him above all else and then provide for us, in Himself, all that is holy, beautiful, and everlasting? All else will pass away, but He abides forever!

I leave you with two things. First, a notice of an upcoming post. It’s going to cover the three bones we need to succeed! You might want to growl over those bones when the post goes up! And second, the inspired words (2 Peter 3:18) of the Apostle Peter: But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Recommendation: I find myself repeating certain recommendations. So it seemed appropriate to update this post about Eat This Book, by Eugene Peterson. Dr. Peterson is well known for his work in developing the The Message translation of the Bible. And even though Eat This Book contains part of that story. it’s really more about the subtitle: the art of spiritual reading. His opening chapter includes a discussion of Isaiah 31:4. Another fascinating part of his writing is the archaeology that led to our understanding of daily bread in the Lord’s Prayer. The book is a great read and I commend it to anyone that wants to grow (growL) a little deeper!


Questions or comments? Connect with Keith via email.

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