HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE

In order to grow spiritually, you need to study the Bible. There is a difference between reading and studying of the word. Reading involves knowing the story while studying involves understanding the story. Studying is more in depth than just reading.

In this article, our focus is on how to study the Bible. When studying the Bible you need to understand the classification of the Bible.

The Bible is divided into the old and new testament. Then there is a further division of genres – books of law, books of history, prophetic books, epistles, apocalyptic books, and Gospels.

Knowing this helps you to understand what you are reading the Bible.

If you are a beginner. Make the Gospels your preferable options, to begin with. The Gospels help you to understand the main character – Jesus who is preached in the entire Bible.

Begin by reading the four gospels then you can move to the book of Acts which teaches about the church which was founded on the teachings of Jesus as recorded in Mathew 16:18  ”And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it”.

Thereafter you can read proverbs which could be followed by Ecclesiastes as they were authored by the same person.

You might then decide to focus on a prophetic book like Jeremiah then follow it up with Lamentations. Following them in this manner would communicate to you what Jeremiah felt as he demonstrated what Israel would go through while they were in exile.

It is advised after reading the Major Prophets or a very lengthy book such as Isaiah, go ahead and read a book that would be easier to understand in order to avoid giving up. One good example would be Ruth or Jonah. Normally a less hefty book would be shorter. You could also opt for a New Testament book.

In order to understand the history of the Israelites which is portrayed throughout the Old Testament, you may need to read through the Pentateuch – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

The point is you may need to read the Bible consistently so as to understand the story. Remember the Bible is not a book that conveys many stories but has one story in many books.

Choose a preferred version

You can choose a simple version that does not circumlocute around the point or use complex English. Personally, I prefer NIV, CEV, and ESV as they tend to have original manuscripts of the translation and simplified language.

History of a book

In some digital Bibles (like you version) or analog Bibles like the Good News, you tend to see why the book was written and the audience it was written to. This helps in understanding how you can apply it. Not forgetting that ”all scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching rebuking and training in righteousness”. 2 Timothy 3:16

Do you need a Bible Plan?

That depends on you and what you want to learn but you have to be very careful with some Bible plans. For example, I would not advise you to go for the Bible in a year study plan because it is not about the quantity but the quality of your study.

Do not search for a verse- that equals to reading and not studying. Instead, study a book by possibly going through a chapter a day.

An addition could be Psalms alongside the book you are reading. This is because it is lengthy and you may need to relax even as you read the word.

Choose a consistent time and place               

You may choose to study the word very early in the morning or late in the evening just before bedtime.

For early morning you have something to kick start your day and if you choose late evening it is efficient in providing refreshing after a long and tiresome day.

Creating time

You may say you do not have time but if you really want to accomplish something you will create time for it.

You can sacrifice time before looking into your social media. Eventually, it will become a habit and you will enjoy doing it.

Cross references and footnotes

At the end page of your analog Bible, you find small writings.

This provides meaning to names, places and the verse in general. They provide context or meaning from original language before the translation.

Praying

The most important thing is to tap from the Holy Spirit hence pray before and after reading the word.

image source click here

LET MY PEOPLE GO

The Israelites are oppressed. They are slaves in a foreign land. This is God’s promise to Abraham. But Pharaoh has held them captive and will not release them without authority from a higher deity. They will be slaves if no one comes to the rescue. So Moses is born and in the plan of God Pharaoh’s daughter acts as his mother. One day as Moses was taking care of the flock of his father-in –law, Jethro, the Lord appeared to Moses in the form of a burning bush. Though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. Moses drew closer to see this strange sight but the Lord called to Him from within the bush, Moses! Moses! He was sending him to take his people out of misery. Moses goes to Pharaoh and he says LET MY PEOPLE GO! If I were to speak to you this day I would say: the devil has oppressed you for long and God is saying to him-let my child go! The Lord has freed you from the enemy’s chains but so should you know the devil is still looking for you because he does not love holiness and the Lord seeing your oppression has forgotten but he says to the enemy; LET MY PEOPLE GO!

LISTENING SKILLS THEOLOGICAL APPLICATION

FACE THE SPEAKER AND MAINTAIN EYE CONTACT:

FOCUS ON JESUS

I know you are thinking that you can neither face God directly nor maintain eye contact with him. But yes you can face him by focusing on him. Setting your eyes on things above and not on earthly things. Once you drift from the focus of him you stop listening.

BE ATTENTIVE BUT RELAXED:

HAVING A SPIRIT OF SOUND MIND

God did not give us a spirit of fear but of power love and sound mind. If we fear we block ourselves from listening to him and therefore relax. It is easier to be attentive when you are relaxed than when you are filled with fear.

KEEP AN OPEN MIND:

OPENING YOUR MIND TO HEAR FROM GOD

When reading the Bible we need to have an open mind not to only to gain the knowledge but to comprehend. If we are to close ourselves in our cocoon’s we will not be able to gain anything much. A lot of what will go in will not be beneficial as it is going into a mind that cannot see beyond certain limits.

LISTEN TO THE WORDS AND TRY TO PICTURE WHAT THE SPEAKER IS SAYING:

SPEAK LIFE

If you are listening or reading God’s word and for instance you are reading the book of Ezekiel where there is a valley of dry bones and when the prophet speaks the bones have life. Imagine the bones coming to life and then imagine what dry bones you have in your life and speak life.

 

DON’T INTERRUPT AND DON’T IMPOSE YOUR SOLUTIONS:

SUBMIT TO GOD’S WILL

Whenever we try to say how many times will I do it and get away with it? Or just these once I won’t repeat it. While thinking and acting in these manner we are imposing our solutions therefore to show that God is above us we need not to interrupt our solutions but to submit to God’s will.

WAIT FOR THE SPEAKER TO PAUSE TO ASK CLARIFYING QUESTIONS:

KEEP READING THE WORD

 The only way we can clarify as Christians is to ensure we are reading the word and following the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We cannot question God but we can clarify because he has already given us the answers.

PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT ISN’T SAID (Non Verbal Cues):

SIGNS OF REINFORCEMENT AND BLESSING

When God brings a flood or death among his people he is communicating. He is not speaking verbally but no-verbally. He already spoke or is speaking but when he reveals anything he is still communicating. If you are quiet enough you can listen and comprehend what that sign means.