The Word of God is an extraordinary resource. It is vital for every Christian to know how to study the Bible. Christians should not be encumbered because they do not know how to study God’s word for themselves. Jeremiah 15:16a says “Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart.”
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Why Study the Bible?
It is not enough of an excuse to say that the Bible is hard to understand and that only those with seminary degrees or theologians can study the scriptures. I know all to well this excuse, as I have used it in the past, but this was to my spiritual detriment. The real problem is that we are not diligent in our laboring to know God’s word and devote time to scripture. We are not to just read God’s word as if its casual or for entertainment, we are to study it.
If we can read the news paper or blogs, we can read the bible- RC Sproul Click To Tweet
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Hear, O Israel: The our God, the Lord is one.You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
God’s word is what gives us wisdom and salvation. Scripture is inspired by God. Through His word we can be equipped for every good work. The Bible is practical! To study God’s Word is fulfilling our Christian duty to be a faithful Christian theologian. This is why we study the Bible.
Happiness cannot be fully discovered as long as we remain ignorant of God's Word- RC Sproul Click To Tweet
2 Timothy 3:14-17 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
How to Study God’s Word?
We must read our Bible. Many people read verses scrolling social media, some read books about the Bible, some use Bible studies to get their intake of the word. There is no substitute for reading Scripture for yourself. John MacArthur suggests reading the Bible through once per year. Though this may sound daunting , it is possible. We waste so much time online (not even on social media) jumping from blog post to blog post, then to Pinterest, then oh look an email just came in, and they are having a sale… let’s go shopping. We are in a society that easily gets side tracked, and then BOOM – its dinner time and you ask yourself… “What DID I do today?” There is plenty of time to read our Bibles, we just need to make it a priority, and then do it.
Using the COMA method will help you start asking questions about what you are reading. You can also use this method with a friend. Here is a free printable to ask more in-depth questions.
- What sort of writing is this? (A letter, a narrative, a poem?)
- Are there any clues about the circumstances under which it was written?
- What has happened so far?
- Are there any major sub-sections or breaks in the text?
- What is the main point or points?
- What surprises are there?
- What are the key words? What words or ideas are repeated?
- How does this text relate to other parts of the book?
- How does this passage relate to Jesus?
- What does this teach us about God?
- How could we sum up the meaning of this passage in our own words?
- How does this passage challenge (or confirm) my understanding?
- Is there some attitude I need to change?
- How does this passage call on me to change the way I live?
Utilizing the COMA process when studying the Bible on your own will help you understand what God communicated in the Bible.
Another way is using the Swedish method of studying the Bible. It is simple and straight forward, and you can use it by yourself, or with others in a group setting.
Spend some time in prayer before and after your study. Ask the Holy Spirit at the beginning of your study:
Open my eyes to wonder, Psalm 119:18 “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law”
Have mercy on me, Luke 18:38 “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Make me a doer of Your Word, James 1:22“Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves”
Open my eyes to Jesus, Luke 24:45 “he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures”
After your study and reading of the Word, pray about what you have learned for:
Think about what you are reading. Do not rush through it. As a cow chews its cud, ruminate and reflect on what you have read. Psalm 1:2 his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. Here are some questions that will help you think about what you have read:
SPECS: Sin to forgive? Promise to claim? Example to follow? Command to obey? Stumbling block to avoid?
Is there a truth to believe about God? About some other doctrine?
Is there a principle to follow for personal guidance?
Is there wisdom to shape a Christian’s thinking?
Is there hope to grasp on?
Do I have affections that are misplaced?
Are there areas I need to grow in?
Are there relationships I need to mend, develop or avoid?
We are called to make disciples. Teaching the Word is the best way to retain and learn from it! You are forced to master the subject. If we do not have anyone to teach, there becomes a lack of motivation as well as Christian duty. Spread what you have learned, and be humble to be questioned, and go back and find answers instead of reacting in a prideful way of sulking or giving an untrue answer. Its fun and encouraging!
On an end note, remember:
Read for the author’s meaning, not your own.