How can I study the Bible?
Question: “The Bible is rather daunting, how can I study it?”
There are four primary reasons for studying the Bible.
First, God instructs us to read the Bible, Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).
Second, the Bible tells us what God expects from us and how to please Him.
Third, the Bible tells us how to protect ourselves from the devil. Sin is what separated us from God and now that you have accepted Jesus, Satan wants us back.
The fourth reason is to learn how to operate and receive the blessings of the Lord by learning how to operate in the power, authority, and faith that God has provided.
Basic Bible structure
The Bible was written over a period of 1,500 years by 44 men who wrote the 66 books of the Bible with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It contains over 3,000 promises and over 2,000 prophecies, of which 1,817 have been fulfilled with 100% accuracy. And it references over 2,900 people. It is God’s operating manual for a productive life that is pleasing to God. Click for more info.
All Scripture is God-
There are many Bible available that have been translated with the intent of making it easier to read, but they do sacrifices a degree of accuracy, while on the other extreme are Bibles that are harder to read but strive for the greatest accuracy. Click for more info.
The following references will be you a big help in studying the Bible.
A Bible concordance is an alphabetical index of words used in the Bible and provides the main Bible references. It is useful in locating passages in the Bible. Biblehub.com has a useful free concordance.
Interlinear and Lexicon
They having the same text in different languages printed on alternate lines and or details the original Hebrew or Greek meaning of a word found in our English Bible. There are a number of websites available. Biblehub.com is a good source to start with.
A commentary is a verse by verse or section by section detailed explanation of the original intent. There are many commentaries on the Internet, but not all are necessarily good. Biblegate.com offers a number of good commentaries for free.
Bible Cross References identify commonalties between different parts of the Bible— primarily verses. Many Bibles have a similar function commonly called Chain Reference. There are a number of listing on the Internet, one being OpenBible.info.
Interpreting the Bible
Basic Bible interpretation consist of the context. Consider what comes before and after what is being studied. Errors of interpretation often come from having a poor understanding of the context. What is the passage saying in relationship to the part being studied? If a passage is important, there are often multiple verses. This is where the previous mentioned reference material can be a real benefit in clarifying one’s understanding.
Context should include why the passage was written, who was it written for, and trying to understand the culture when it was written.
The last consideration when interpreting the Bible is determining if the passage is figurative to paint a picture or literal. An obvious example would be And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy (Psalm 63:7). This is obviously figurative, as God is not a giant bird. But in other cases, we need to be careful, for what at first blush may appear to be figurative may actually be literal.
Bible Study Tips
1. Purposely set aside time. Make an appointment with God.
2. Find a place where you can be undisturbed and comfortable.
3. Start with prayer, confess anything that needs confessing and ask God to bless your understanding of what you are about to study.
4. Speed reading the Bible is often not productive. Rather, read slowly and carefully, meditating on what the passage says and giving the Holy Spirit time to emphasize certain scriptures to you. While this is especially true for studying the New Testament, admittedly, there are parts of the Old Testament that a quicker reading pace is justified.
5. Rather than jump around, it is more productive to studying the Bible book by book. A good place to start reading is the fourth book of the New Testament, John. After gaining understanding and finishing the New Testament, start reading at the very beginning of Genesis.
6. Ask some typical searching questions: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? What is the main subject of the passage, who is the intended reader and in what context. Ask the Lord, how may this passage relate to my life and me?
7. Keeping a journal to jot down insight you come across in your Bible times. This both improves retention and will become a valuable reference.
There is power in meditating on God’s Word to change your life and become the person God wants you to be.
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