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I don't know how to study the Bible. Help!

Postby Nic J » Tue Aug 22, 2017 1:17 pm

I've been a Christian for a long time, but I realized I don't know how to study the Bible effectively. I don't think I was ever taught and if I was I don't remember... Can you please help do so? I do devotionals and pray (I have prayer journal). I am sure that all helps but I really would like to read the Bible effectively.
Nic J

Re: I don't know how to study the Bible. Help!

Postby jimwalton » Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:19 pm

You know, I am very impressed with you, and I have a lot of respect for you. You’re a good thinker, you ask good questions, you’re not afraid to ask the hard questions, and you just keep pushing on.

How to study the Bible effectively. What a great next step. Yeah, it’s something every Christian should know how to do and is also doing it but, as you say, many people were never taught. I have a couple of thoughts, as you might guess.

1. You’re already reading devotionally, but another step to take there is to meditate on the Scripture for the day all day long. You’ll be amazed, if you roll it over and over in your head all day, what thoughts, insights, and suggestions God will bring to your mind through the day. And then you can journal those insights.

2. If you want to understand a text, you have to invest the work to do that.

A. The first step is to find out what that book is about. Let’s say it’s Mark. What is Mark about (because it’s different from the other 3 Gospels)? What is the point he is trying to make with his whole book (and it’s usually a few things, not just one)? A good study Bible will give you this, but there are also inexpensive books you could buy (like Zondervan’s “The Essential Bible Companion”) that are helpful.

B. Then you need to settle on what that chapter, or that story is about, as a whole. (Always look at the big picture before the details.) Again, a study Bible can help. Read the chapter (or story) a couple of times to get the flow of it and get it in your head.

C. As you read, jot down questions that come to mind about it (you should be good at that).

D. But now you need some resources to find out the answers to your questions. This is where a good study Bible, a conversation with me, or some books from the bookstore would be helpful. You need some kind of resources to think it through well.

3. Another approach, rather than doing it on your own (like in #2), is to decide which book of the Bible you want to study, go to the Christian bookstore (like Bender’s at Sheridan and Harris Hill), and buy a study guide for that book (there are many available). Work through the study guide. That way you’re not just on your own. There are usually questions to answer and information inside to help you through it. And combining my idea #2 with this idea #3 could work well also.

4. Another idea is to get a study partner and go through a book together. I could do this with you if you wish (I’ve done it with others), or you could find a friend at church or school, or even in your family. Study together using idea #2 or #3 above.

Lastly, take notes in church or at youth group. I find that as the pastor preaches, if I am really engaged (rather than just sitting and listening sort of), reading the text, trying to understand, taking notes, writing down questions, I get a LOT more out of it, and it helps me.

Last bumped by Anonymous on Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:19 pm.
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