But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:
“‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
even on my male servants and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
And I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
the sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
This evening we did Facetime with Levi II, daughter-in-law Amy, and little Miss Beautiful, Eisley. She is now just a little over 2 years old and is a bundle of pure energy. Each time we talk to them we always catch up on what new she has learned. Now, I would never ever brag on a grand child, but I have to tell you, this little lady is smart. Tonight she recited all of the alphabet without a prompt from anyone, and the whole time she was moving around. It was really cute. Her attention span is not very long so Amy and Levi teach her in little spurts. Patience is required. If they tried to sit her down for a 10 minute lesson it would be a waste of time. That’s what Peter is showing us in these verses, instructions on how to teach and how to learn.
The first example Peter gives us is that he stood up and raised his voice. He did this to get everyone’s attention. In contrast to this is the first step of learning is to set aside time for study of the Bible; then place all of your attention and focus on the Word. At the same time make sure you have eliminated all of the distractions that you can.
Next, Peter focused the crowd on his intended purpose and told them what their benefit might be, which in this case was understanding. He boldly exclaimed “let me explain this to you.” When you study your Bible focus on understanding what you’re reading and how it applies to you, don’t read it like a regular book. Yes, there is a story, but behind the story is central theme that is rich in meaning. Take your study in small bites, just a few verses at a time. When you read these verses, pray and ask how you might apply them in your life today.
Thirdly, the Bible is the Word of God. Don’t take anything lightly and as Peter instructs, “listen carefully to what I say.” Pay much attention to how it is written and don’t forget the context. Scripture was written the way it is for a reason, and it’s God’s reason. Finally, and very important, look up the cross references. If you don’t have one already buy yourself a good Bible concordance. Peter is an example of this thought when he tells us, “This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel.” If you want to be sure about something, find out what the Bible says about itself.
These are the keys to successful Bible study and understanding. I have one last thought I wanted to repeat based upon my story of Eisley and her attention span: Set yourself a time limit and finish on time. You won’t look forward to your study time if it is open ended or goes on and on like the Energizer bunny. If you’ve set 20 minutes as your time limit, then say to your wife or husband, “I need 20 minutes of quiet time.” If you finish on time regularly, setting aside 20 minutes should not be a problem even in the busiest household. You and your family will all be richly blessed by following Peter’s simple steps to a successful study.