Monday, March 5, 2012

How Do You Study the Bible?

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.


Linda Maynard said...

I like your study habits. Your blog has good insights and particularly reading the Word and seeking the meaning from the Holy Spirit.
I too had an NIV Bible that was falling apart...somehow, in our move, it was probably tossed. I loved that Bible and was going to look into having it rebound. It too contained so many notes. I still am having trouble having any other Bible's of as personal.:(
It' probably time to "suck it up" and make another one "mine" (smile*)
Thanks for you sharing with us
BTW...I am not familiar with the 2 Bible Teachers that you mention...are they Canadians?

Andrea York said...

I presume you mean Gordon Fee and James Maloney.

I don't think they are Canadian, although Gordon Fee is a professor at Regent College, a world-renown seminary school in Vancouver. But that isn't why/how I know him. He's written two books I have: How to Read the Bible for all Its Worth, and How to Read the Bible Book by Book - both of these I would highly, highly, highly recommend to supplement your Bible study.

James Maloney is from Texas. I've had the pleasure of seeing him twice in person in the last 4 months. He has written a couple of books too, although I don't think they do him and his ministry justice. He has one of the most amazing healing and miracles ministry and yet, he remains hidden and under the radar. In his book intro, he writes, "As you read this, you'll have two questions: who are you and why haven't I heard of you?"

James has a love and appreciation for the word of God, and yet is not limited to "book" truth. When he uses his supernatural gifts, he speaks and teaches about what is going on in the spiritual realm for those of us that can't see it.

If you have an opportunity to see James Maloney at a conference, don't hesitate - go.

Doug Spurling said...

Good job Andrea, thanks I like " the Bible by reading it. said." and that you should be able to understand it if it was just you and God and an island. And if you have questions, consult the Author first for revelation. Good advice.

Kerry Luddy said...

Gordon Fee co-wrote those books with Dr. Doug Stuart, who is at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where my husband and I both studied--I wholeheartedly agree that those books are great tools! Thank you for your suggestions!