Updated: Apr 24
How do we read/study the Bible?- practical suggestions continued
In study 3 (a) we saw some possible approaches to choosing a good translation. We now turn to our next steps (2-7 below).
2. Always pray before you read your Bible and make sure that you are in fellowship with the Lord. This might involve you observing 1 John 1:9 if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Ask the Lord to deal with your worldliness. The Garbage In Garbage Out (GIGO) principle applies in our lives.
James 1:21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. Only put good things into your soul such as the engrafted word. Give up your junk food (the filthiness and naughtiness) and eat God’s best!
1 Peter 2:1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speaking,2 As new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
Ask the Lord to give you a revelation of what the scripture means.
3. Read the bible first before you try to do an in-depth study and it is OK to enjoy reading the bible! Go at your own speed but it is ok to pray for answers to specific questions you may have. With short books like Philippians read them through in one session to get the overall feel of the letter.
4. Good bible studies usually have good structures so it can be good to develop an overview of the book structure in the bible. Try doing this with, for instance with a book such as Genesis (see BBS083 for details in ‘additional resources’ section). This can also be done in other ways for instance, the four sections of King David’s life or according to historical time approach with 28 sections (see BBS083 for more information). If you can do a whole series of basic bible studies such as BBS series this will put some structure into your basic understanding of the Bible.
5. Sometimes developing an interest in a specific topic e.g. the life of Elijah can promote significant learning across the Bible. Or doing a topical study such love, faith, fasting etc. can increase your knowledge and understanding.
List of Reference aids for serious Bible study (many of these are available online)
a) a good concordance such as Young’s Analytical Concordance (I personally use Strong’s exhaustive concordance).
b) W. E. Vine’s Expository Dictionary Bible Words.
c) a study Bible such as Ryrie or Schofield (NB be aware of authors prejudices e.g. they are anti-baptism in the Holy Spirit).
Other study aids include companion bibles, topical bibles, chain reference bible (e.g. Thompson’s), an annotated Bible (by Dake), Unger’s bible studies, a Pictorial Encyclopaedia of the Bible,
6. Read good Christian books as well (this brought me on my understanding, particularly in my early years. It is advisable to read different authors and of course different topics.
7. Share the things that you have received from the Lord, you need to bring water out of the well so that fresh water can fill it! We can share with individuals as well as in groups.
Advanced Bible Studies (see also BBS 083) perhaps not for everyone
Learn the basics of the Biblical languages. You need to know English grammar before trying the Biblical languages to understand verb tenses etc. An interlinear translation i.e. English written out with Hebrew or Greek written below in line. Another useful tool for advanced study is a lexicon (word book of Greek explained in English e.g. Arndt and Gingrich or Thayer’s).
Other advanced study aids are suggested including the recommended commentaries please see BBS 083 for details.
2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
So keep teaching the Word of God, keep teaching the truth, whether it is convenient or not, keep bringing correction or rebuke and patiently exhorting your hearers with your good teaching.
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