How Should I Study The Bible?

Steven Haguewood

All dads have done it. We get those Christmas presents that require "some assembly." We are smart enough to figure out something this easy, so we do not need those directions. Hours later when the kids have lost interest, the toy still is not together, and there are more parts on the floor than room in the toy, we search for the directions. 

God is trying to do some assembly with us, to build us into the picture painted in the Bible. In order for Him to be successful in building us, we must follow His instructions.

No two people learn the same. Some like rote memorization, some prefer to study from outlines, some prefer to break things down by topic, and others would rather study from paragraphs in the Bible. The style of study that helps you learn is the one you ought to employ, as long as it gets you engaged with the Bible. What we all need to do is apply the following terms to our study: prayer, purpose, and persistence.

Study the Bible prayerfully. The Psalmist says, "Except the LORD builds the house, they labour in vain that build it" (127:1). As we approach our lives and build the person we are becoming, we must include God in our efforts or they are futile. Studying Spanish with the author of a Spanish textbook will be more advantageous than studying alone or with some other student. Jesus says that if we ask in His name the Father will give us what we ask (John 14:13-14). Pray to God and have Him as your study partner.

In addition, we need to study the Bible purposefully. Often people pick up the Bible with no real purpose. They want to study but do not know what they are looking for. Determine what you hope to gain from your study and then open the Word. One purpose for our study it to please God. Ephesians 5:8-10 says that we please God when we move from darkness to light through the guidance of the word of God. Another purpose for Bible study is to be taught by God. He is the master teacher and guides us in His absolute truth (Psalm 71:17, John 17:17). An additional purpose for study is so that we can discern good from evil. Apart from guidance in truth, we cannot know how to tell them apart because absolute good is determined by God's word (Hebrews 5:14). Further, we should study to teach others (Hebrews 5:12). How else will they learn to believe in Him and call on His name unless we teach them (Romans 10:14)? We need to study God's word with definite purpose in mind and heart so that He can guide us along His right way.

Finally, we should study persistently. We must continue to study and grow deeper in the word of God. The Bereans were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica because they studied with great eagerness and searched the scriptures daily to see if these things were so (Acts 17:10-11). They remained eager to study because they had the habit of studying daily the words of God. The number one cause for burnout in preachers, teachers, and Christians is the lack of sustained study. Often Christians dust off their Bible or remove the week of clutter that has covered it since last week on Sunday or Wednesday for church. Wear your Bible out by studying and meditating on it daily.

Bible study is not beyond your ability. Each person who can read this article is capable of understanding the Bible. That is the wonderful thing about God's word, it is for everyone, and written so that everyone can comprehend. God's will is within your grasp if you will reach for it, open its covers, and study it prayerfully, purposefully, and persistently. –1301 West Virginia Ave., Parkersburg, WV 26101.

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