As God’s children, we are need to do more than just read the Bible… we are told to study it.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” – II Timothy 2:15
As we grow spiritually, it is important that we learn to study the word of God for ourselves and not solely rely on the teaching from others. While God does give preachers and teachers good information to pass along to others, He also desires to talk to you personally through his word. Many Christians are open to the idea of studying the Bible, but don’t really know where to start or how to do it. So, I am going to share the process that I use while studying the Bible in hopes that it helps someone looking to do the same. To be clear, this is just the method that I use and is not the only way you can study God’s word.
General background information on the book that you are studying can be really helpful in understanding the overall tone and purpose that it was written. Knowing when the book was written and some brief history from around that same time period can equally beneficial. It can also be beneficial to do some quick research on key characters within the book so you know some things about them before you start your study of a passage.
When you study a passage of Scripture, you will often come across certain words that you aren’t too familiar with. It’s important to ask what these words mean and look them up!
Ex: “And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.” – Matthew 20:19
What is “scourge”? Definition – whip (someone) as a punishment.
The same process can be done for certain customs, characters or locations that you come across. I highly recommend writing down information that you find relevant to the passage and not relying on memory alone. When you write information down, it allows you to access it at a later date.
Although the Bible can feel like several different books that have nothing to do with each other, there are common themes found throughout God’s word. Once you get used to reading and studying the Bible, you will find yourself reading a passage that makes you think of another story in the Bible. Using a Concordance or a study Bible can be a great help connecting the passage to different areas in the Bible.
Now that you have researched some background information and found some cross references, you can use this information to help you while you study the passage. Write down anything that comes to mind when you are reading the verses… any words that stick out, any characters that you learned about, places that seem important. These observations will help you focus in on some details that you would normally miss if you were just reading some verses really quick to check off your daily reading. Commentaries can be a great resource to use while observing different parts of the passage, but I would encourage you to use them last. Read the Bible for what it is first and allow God a chance to speak to you through his Word before you read another man’s opinion.
Scripture is more than a bunch of stories… it is God’s word that has been given to us and preserve down through the centuries so that we can read it still today! God not only desires for us to read the Bible, but he wants to speak to us through the Bible and show us areas in our life that we need to work on. Every story from Genesis to Revelation can be learned from and applied to our lives. Don’t just read about soul-winning… go soul-winning! Don’t just read about being kind to others… be kind to others! Don’t just read about going to church… go to church! This application is the most crucial part of studying the Bible. What good is it to know all the information if you don’t plan on using it?
This is the process that I go through when I study the Bible. There are definitely other ways to do so, but this is what works best for me. I want to encourage you to find time to study God’s word on a regular basis. This time is far more important that your TV time so give it priority throughout your day. If done, your study time will drastically change your relationship with God and allow you to make improvements in your Christian life!
Husband, Father of two beautiful girls, Assistant Pastor at Hillcrest Bible Baptist Church in Arkansas City, KS, Founder of Baptist Manna