A few months ago, I wrote on Kingdom Bloggers about how I first approached reading the Bible. It was a challenge to God to prove 2 Timothy 3:16 true – is the Bible useful? It started a love affair with the Word of God when I realized, yes, the Bible is useful and not only that, it is vital to give life.
This week on Kingdom Bloggers, we’re sharing our methods, and maybe some tips and tools on how we study the Bible.
If you have any tips, tricks or tools that help you study, please share and add to the conversation in the comments.
My NIV Study Bible is beat up, marked up and the only reason I haven’t lost pages is because of the zippered case to protect it and keep it together. I received it as a gift from my parents for my 15th birthday. It has travelled the world with me and in case of fire my family knows to grab my Bible. I have many but this Bible in particular is special. It’s become a history of my life, based on the annotations on the pages.
First and foremost, I study the Bible by reading it. It seems elementary but I was amazed in Bible classes how many people studied books about the Bible (such as commentaries, Bible dictionaries and lexicons) but didn’t actually engage with the Bible on its own.
I have a deep belief that if left alone on an island with only my Bible, I should be able to understand and know God through the verses and chapters without having to rely on commentaries or dictionaries. The margins in my Bible have little room to make more notes or observations so I have started to transition to another Bible but my NIV feels like home, and it is a testimony to how much (or how little) I understand because of the notes I’ve made in the margins and on the pages.
When I come across a passage I don’t understand (which is often), I ask the Holy Spirit to lead me into truth - as Jesus promised he would. Again, it might be elementary but I happen to believe the word of God in Jeremiah 33:3, which says, Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. After I’ve asked the Lord for insight, I sit with it for a while, sometimes days or weeks and in many cases, I’m still looking for answers for questions I had years ago.
If revelation doesn’t come, I will sit with the question but I actively pursue answers by using excellent resources such as commentaries, dictionaries and lexicons. (I didn’t say I don’t use them, I just don’t use them first.) I have an excellent Bible software program, Logos, which includes thousands of resource books, including original language Bibles and concordances.
I love word studies and find I receive more insight from conducting a word study of the original meaning than I do from any other resource aside from the Scriptures themselves. Of course, I also love to sit under good Bible teachers. Some of my favourites are Beth Moore, Gordon Fee and James Maloney.
I’m always interested in how others study, so I’m looking forward to hearing from the rest of the writers this week - particularly those formerly trained in Biblical studies. I think I’m going to learn something this week.