As we continue in our series on the Bible we wanted to focus on making sure we are studying the Bible properly and fully.
Studying the Bible is critical in our Christian walk. It is not merely a book, or stories, this is God’s Word to us. That should excite excite and compel us to dive deeply into it.
When we study we need to make sure that we are well rounded in our studying. We need to approach the Bible prayerfully, obediently and logically.
It is VITALLY important that when we study the Bible we firstly approach it with an attitude of prayer and not merely of academic study. We need to be fully reliant on God and His Spirit, because we cannot understand the Bible without the Holy Spirit’s help (1 Corinthians 2:9-14). If our Bible study is not saturated in prayer, then we are not studying the Bible the way God intends.
As we pray, we should be BEGGING God to give us a deeper love for Him and others so we can take the truths he reveals and put them into PRACTICE.
The Bible is filled with God’s commands and precepts. We need to be taking those to heart and acting obediently on them. As pray and obey, you will begin enjoying the peace that comes from studying the Bible obediently.
On the other hand, if you’re not seeing the things you learn translating into the things you do, then something foundational is out of place.
We can trust the Bible, because we can trust God. Not only that, but we NEED to live like we trust and have faith in His Word. We need to study the Bible with ABSOLUTE faith and live it out. Does your life reflect and represent the promises of God? Are you living like you believe what God has said?
Good Bible study leads to transformation – maybe not instantly but transformation is inevitable as we spend time in the Scripture. As you read the Bible, allow it to be your reflection. God uses His Living Word to actively transform every part of our being. (James 1:22-27).
Once we have committed to reading the Bible prayerfully and obediently and allowing it to transform our lives, we can then proceed to study it logically.
Principles to Studying Logically
- Keep it in context – read beyond a single verse. Read the chapter, the book, or even better, read the whole Bible to get the ENTIRE context
- Application VS Interpretation – before you can decide how to apply a scripture to your life, we need to interpret what it means. The meaning of the scripture is the same for everyone, however it may get played out differently in peoples lives depending on circumstances.
- Find the Plain Meaning – keep it simple. We don’t always need to search for deep, hidden meanings in passages. Sometimes the simple truth, the simple meaning is the one we are meant to hear.
- Take the Bible Literally – Not every passage, but the Bible as a whole. The Bible is filled with literal truths that are sometimes wrapped in a figure of speech. The Bible is filled with many literary forms and we may not always agree on what is literal and what is a figure of speech. When that happens have grace and patience with one another. Part of the journey is humbly studying and learning together.
- Study the Grammatical Context – sometimes looking at the grammatical context can help us understand a passage. Begin by identifying the subject, the verb, the adverb and adjectives and the direct or indirect objects.
- Study the Historical Context – use the Bible, use commentaries or Bible dictionaries to expand on the historical context. Consider who is being written to and why.
- Let Go Of Your Baggage – as much as possible seek the untrained Word of God so that our lives, including our baggage, can be affected
For further reading on how to study the Bible see Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples by Francis Chan and Mark Beuving.