- Can you remember the last time you learned to do some new skill? I hate feeling inept and clumsy–especially in front of others. No person is too old to learn new skills–it may get harder with time, but it is totally possible. I remember when I first learned to snow ski. Muscles that I never knew existed were so sore! But, it was fun and falling was hilarious, and I really wanted to do it again. With each time, my brain and muscles were trained in a new way. Now, (even though its been 5 years since I have skied) I usually pick it up with a few runs because I had already practiced to master the skill years before. Remember learning to ride a bike–shakey at first–but you know it’s worth it as you see all the other kids having fun and enjoying it. You keep persevering to gain the joy of riding a bike! It is the same thing with learning to study the Bible. It is clumsy at first…checking the list and questions, but it becomes a joy and a natural skill that you will love if you persevere. It will bring life to you and to others around you.
How to Study the Bible
Prayer, Humility, Dependence.
You cannot do this alone. As a believer, God gives us His Spirit to teach us His word and remind us of His word. Pray for understanding and discernment again and again.
2. Observation READ—carefully going over the text, content. Use these questions to help you observe what is going on…
“What do I see?” “What does this passage say?”
- Who is the audience, author, main characters?
- What are the main events? What is the topic or instruction? What is the purpose in saying this?
- When was it written? When did this take place or when will it occur? When did he do or say this?
- Where did this event take place? Where was this written?
- Why was this written? Why did he say that, go there or respond that way? Why did the author say so much or little about this? Why should they do such and such?
- How is this to be done or how did that happen? How do I do that?
- List facts—organize 5 Ws and H, major impressions from passage, What does passage teach about the Lord?
- What is the main/central truth in this passage?
- Key words—meanings (Bible Dictionary), phrases, main themes (Can use different colors and markings to help you organize thoughts in your Bible—helps to see common themes)
3. Interpretation THINK—Seeing the context in order to understand the original message
“What does it mean?”
- History— Good study Bible, “How to Read Bible Book by Book”
- Author’s purpose/in text?
- Cross References/parallel passages—what do other verses say on this topic? (Cross references are lettered like exponents in a study Bible and you match that letter to a list of other Bible references on the page–it leads you to other scriptures that use the same word)
- What is the timeless truth?
- Genre–Historical books alongside poetry and prophets–compare (more on this later)
- Reading His will not ours
4. Application LIVE—Taking the plain meaning from God’s word and putting to practical use.
“What do I do?” “How to apply to me?”
- How the truths discovered should affect your behavior.
- Putting those same truths into practice in our daily lives.
- Where am I convicted of sin, need repentance?
- What commands to yield to…
- What truths am I to embrace, believe, or order my life by?
- What changes should I make in my belief, in my life?
- What is God calling me to?
- What promise is present that I need to believe and find hope in/a truth about the Lord to rejoice in?
- Practice what you know…How can I practically obey in my daily life?
- MEMORIZATION/MEDITATION—in order for your life to be transformed
This format will hopefully help you get your sea legs as you begin diving into God’s word. Print these out and begin to use a notebook to make notes and answer questions about a passage. Remember, this is a new skill you are learning, so it takes PRACTICE! Start with a smaller book in the New Testament to practice.