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A. Why should we study the Bible?
A Christian believer should study the Bible regularly and continuously, for the following reasons:
- It is the characteristic of a Christian disciple: John 8:31
- Jesus is the Word and we study the Bible to get to know Him better: John 1:1
- In order that our ways be prosperous and successful: Joshua 1:8
- In order that we will know how to handle it, as it is the Sword: Eph. 6:17 so that we can use it against the enemy and cut off all the fleshly elements in our souls
- In order to handle it properly because the Word is a hammer: Jeremiah 23:29, to break ourselves down before the Lord and break down the barriers between man and God
- In order to use it expeditiously as the Word is a Fire: Jer. 23:29, to allow the works of our flesh to be burned down and to examine all things in our lives with the help of this fire. It is also to be used to ignite us so that we will become light of the World and be ignited to shine bright for the Lord
- To learn to use is to spread around as the Word is the Seed: I Pet. 1:23, so that the Word of the Lord would grow and produce more seeds to be sowed again and to become food for the spiritually hungry people
- To learn to use it as a mirror, as the Word is the mirror (James 1:23-25), to help us see ourselves properly and make appropriate changes and also to show to others so that they would be able to see their true spiritual condition
- To show to others as a lamp and light, as the Word is the lamp and light (Ps. 119:105) so that we as well as others would be properly guided in our Christian lives
- To regularly eat is as it is the food for our spiritual lives (I Pet. 2:2), to enable us to eat and give it to other hungry people to eat and get spiritual strength and health
- We should study it as it establishes and increases our faith (Rom. 10:17)
- We should study the Word as it gives us comfort in this World which does not give us any comfort through any other means at all (I Thes. 4:18)
- We should study it because it will then sanctify us (John 17:17) for Him, His service and for helping others.
B. What should be our attitude towards Bible Study?
We should have:
- great longing, like the people pressed Jesus, to hear the Word: Lk. 5:1
- a spirit of looking for opportunity to study the Word: Acts 13:7
- a deep desire to go to God’s presence to imbibe His Word: Ps. 42: 1-2
We should meet with the Lord to study His Word:
- By being alone with Him, in the quietness of the day: Mark 4:4
- Like Abraham: Genesis 19: 27
- As it was his practice
- At a particular time of the day
- At a particular place
- Waiting in the presence of the Lord
- Select and set a time of the day, preferably in the morning, when we are fresh
- Fix a place without any disturbance
- Keep your Bible ready with you
- Keep a fresh note book and pen to note down what the Lord will speak to you each day (this can be reviewed regularly to see whether we obey what the Lord has told us)
- Prepare to read the World continuously and systematically
- Start with a prayer: Ps. 119:118, and ask the Lord to speak to you
- Select a small portion and read it slowly and with full concentration. The portion should be short enough to be able to finish within the available time
- After reading the portion a few times, meditate on it, asking some basic questions to the Word (see section D below) and try to find answers. Spend at least 30 minutes to meditate and study the Word each day in this fashion
- Write down briefly what you learned from your study each day
- Close the time of meditation with prayer and thank the Lord for speaking to you
- Prayerfully try to see how many of the lessons you learned in the meditation can be put into practice each day. If there is failure, prayerfully try again until you get victory over that matter
- Try to share some things you learned each day with someone
- Before going to bed, try to review the things the Lord spoke to you in the morning and see how many of those things you were able to remember and practice
C. How to study the Bible?
The Bible may be studied in many different ways. Some examples are given below:
- Book Study: Any book of the Bible can be selected and studied in a systematic way
- Chapter Study: Say Psalms 1, or Philippians Chapter 1 or Hebrews Chapter 1
- Paragraph Study: John 1: 1-5
- Verse Study: John 3:16, John 1:12, Hebrews 12:1, I Peter 2:1
- Word Study: Love, Faith, Forgiveness, Salvation, Crowns, Judgment
- Character Study: John the Baptist, Elijah, Timothy, Paul, Titus, Joshua, Abraham
- Historical Study: Before the Flood, the 400 years in Egypt, 40 years of wilderness life
- Doctrinal Study: Holy Spirit, Trinity, Church, Salvation
- Event Study: Creation, Flood, Wilderness Journey, Resurrection, Paul’s Missionary Journey
D. Devotional Bible Study
This method is the simplest of all methods of Bible Studies. One does not need any tools (like Bible Commentary, Bible Dictionary, Concordance etc.) to study Bible by using this method. Here we wait upon the Lord to speak to us from His Word through His Holy Spirit. This requires us to be quiet in His presence and discipline our hearts before the Lord and wait upon Him with patience to hear His soft and soothing voice. The following steps may be useful as we study the Word devotionally:
- Start by reading the portion for the day a few times
- Ask the portion the following questions and find answers through meditation:
- What is the main subject or theme of this portion?
- What does this portion speak about God? His attributes, His character etc. (God generally and the Triune God in particular – Father, Son and Holy Spirit)
- What does this portion say about man? (Man in general and about any particular persons by name)
- Is there any commandment in this portion for me to obey?
- Is there an example in this portion that I need to follow?
- Is there an error in this portion that I need to keep off?
- Is there any sin mentioned in this portion that I need to confess and turn from?
- Is there any promise in this portion for me to claim?
- What do I feel is new in this portion? (Something I didn’t know before)
- Is there any thing in this portion that I do not understand?
- What has God spoken to me today from this portion?
- What decisions, if any, am I taking from today’s time of meditation?
3. Pray and close the time of meditation. This could be a time of praise, intercession and personal prayer. So it is good to keep a list of things that one would like to pray for.
(Prepared by bro. Oommen Philip. Any feedback or questions may be sent to him at email@example.com)