Bible Study Tips and Resources
|Being spirtiually alive|
> Set a regular time to study the Bible.
> Don't make Bible study a mudane, repetitive duty you have to perform. Make it a time to show your appreciation, praise and love of God. Worship Him through song and prayer.
> You do not have to read the Bible in sequence. Pick a book of the Bible that interests you and read a chapter daily. Dwell on it throughout the day.
> Go outdoors, change your environment.
> Put into practice what you learn. Tell others about the discoveries you have made.
You do not need a library of books to study the Bible because the Bible is its own interpreter. Studying the Bible is a means of getting to know God and doing His will.
Here are some practical suggestions for a devotional Bible study.
- It is essential to begin your Bible study with prayer. Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide and direct you in your reading and understanding of the Word. You should come with an open mind, seeking to find the truth.
"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come" (John 16:13).
- Read slowly through one or two chapters or even one passage at a time. It is important that if you are studying one passage to read the whole chapter so you will understand the context of the passage. Ask yourself what the passage means and then reread it.
- Keep a notebook for your Bible study. Take notes as you read a passage. Ask:
- What is the main subject?
- Who is the passage talking about or who is the narrator?
- What is the key verse of the passage?
- What does the passage teach me about Jesus Christ?
- Is this passage revealing to me any sin I need to confess and repent?
- Is there a promise I can claim?
- Is there a prayer I can pray?
- Are there any instructions for me to follow?
Write the answers in your notebook.
- Maintain a spiritual diary, recording daily what God says to you through your Bible study, actions you need to follow and sins you have confessed.
- Memorise verses of the Bible. Meditate upon the Word of God and it will become real and meaningful to you. Meditate means to reflect, to ponder or to contemplate. By meditating upon the Word of God, the Holy Spirit will help you to apply its teachings to your life.
- Obey the Word of God. "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves" (James 1:22). The Bible was given so we may learn how to live an upright life.
"You can teach yourself to become a profoundly intellectual Bible student and yet miss the ultimate purpose of all Bible study: to permit the Word of God to speak in a personal way to your heart. . . . There is little value gained unless you follow the third step: to apply the truths to your own life."-Oletta Ward
|The keys to understanding the Bible|
The following charts and guides will help liven your Bible-study time. Writing down your thoughts and observations while studying the Bible will help you discover things you may have otherwise overlooked. It also helps you remember what you have learned.
The guides have been taken from the book, How To Get the Most Out of Bible Study, by Leo Van Dolson. To find out more about this book, visit www.adventistbookcentre.com
View the Resource page to find links to website, books on Bible study and Bible charts.
To aid in summarising
It is important when studying the Bible not to come with any preconceived ideas, but let the Word speak for itself. Below is an example (based on 1 Corinthians 13) of a horizontal summary chart that will help you to grasp the whole picture of a chapter or book and understand what the author is saying.
1 Corinthians 13 - THE GIFT OF LOVE
It is important to note that more than five or six subdivisions on a page make the chart ineffective. It is useful when you can have a one-page chart that summarises a whole chapter or book of the Bible
To aid in observation
This chart is helpful to study a verse or short passage. Under "Scripture Passage" write down the passage and break it into sections that contain a single idea. Leave approximately three lines of space between each to write your observations and questions. Here is an example:
|Scripture Passage||Observations||Questions for understanding|
The Lord is my Shepherd
I shall not want
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures
He leadeth me beside still waters
|Under "Observations" write all meaningful ideas that come into your mind as you meditate on each phrase.||Under "Questions for Understanding" note significant questions that come to you while reading the phrase. Do not answer the question with the opinions of other people unless they make sense to you.|
These notes should reflect your understanding not someone else's. Pray for the Holy Spirit to show you the true meaning of the passage.
To aid in a background study
When studying a Bible book or passage it is important to know about the author, the times in which they were writing as well as the particular circumstances that were happening at the time. This will help you understand the context of the passage or Bible book. Here is a background study guide:
- Who was the author?
- At what time in their life were they writing?
- Where were they when they wrote this material?
- What characteristics of the author are revealed here?
- What were they experiencing at the time?
- What is the underlying tone of the passage?
- What do historical records indicate as background for this section?
- What contribution do archaeological findings make?
- What is the author's primary purpose in writing this passage?
- What major truths or concerns and convictions does they present to bring out their purpose?
- How have they arranged their material to emphasise their purpose?
- What are the key words they use?
- Who are the intended readers, and how does this affect the author's purpose?
- How does this emphasis compare with other works of this period (by the same author or other authors)?
Answer the questions first by using the Bible, then look in Bible dictionaries and commentaries, also historical and archaeological studies will be a good source of information.
One-Year Plan to Read the Bible
Do you want to finish reading the Bible in one year? You can find a plan at the following sites to help you achieve your goal.
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