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Studying the Bible

Meaningful Bible Study

Years ago, as I was working to earn my accounting degree, a sage accounting professor gave me some practical advice: “If you are having trouble falling asleep at night, just pick up your government accounting textbook. Start reading it, and you will fall asleep in only a few minutes.”  I never tried that, but I was confident it would work. A government accounting book was never exciting.

I’m afraid that Christians often approach the Bible in the same manner – like a dead book. They choose to read the Bible at the end of the day when tired, and their mind is weary from the day’s activities. How much better it would be to give God the time of day after a good night’s sleep, and your mind is sharp and alert. Then you will be ready to absorb the truth from THE BOOK which is alive and powerful.

The Time: David, the psalmist, said, “Early will I seek thee.”  (Psalm 63:1). Jesus spent his time with the Father early in the morning. (Mark 1:35). While the Bible does not command a specific time for prayer and Bible study, I always found spending time with the Lord more beneficial before I started my work day.

Consistency is important. “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.” (Psalm 55:17). “Pray without ceasing.”  (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

The Word and prayer go together. “If ye abide in me and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”  (John 15:7).

Attitude: Begin Bible study with a good attitude and prayer: “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” (Psalm 119:18)

Prepare for Bible Study. Prepare your heart and mind to focus and give your best. “Lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness.”  (James 1:21).  Confess and remove all known sin, filth, garbage, and “stuff’ cluttering your mind. Confess and forsake it so you can have a prepared mind for spiritual truth. On the positive side, Come to the Word with a meek, humble, quiet spirit. You are not coming so you can judge the Word. You are letting the Word judge you. Receive the Word, engrafted or implanted into your mind and soul. The Word can save your soul. If already saved, the Word will lead you on to the abundant life in Christ.

Study the Word. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15). Study is work. Don’t just skim lightly over the Word. Ask questions. Who wrote it, and when? To whom is it written? What was the historical context at the time of writing? What is the actual meaning of the words in the verse? What did those words mean in the first century? How do those words fit in the verse and their immediate context?

Compare Scripture with Scripture. There is the danger of finding a verse that says exactly what you want it to. But wait. That may not be the meaning of the whole portion. You could be taking it out of context. Does all Scripture agree on the teaching you are trying to derive from a specific portion of Scripture? The Bible does not contradict itself. If you are doing a topical study, find all the verses you can on that subject and then come to your conclusions. “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (1 Corinthians 2:12-13.

Memorize and Meditate on the Word. 

“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy Word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” (Psalm 119:9-11). It is hard to meditate on a Scripture if you cannot remember it. That’s where memorization is the key.   “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” (Psalm 1:2,3). Notice the blessing upon the one who delights in and meditates on the Word of God.

Prepare to Act on the Word. “But be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the Word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. (James 1:22-24). “But the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.” (Hebrews 4:2). Practice what you study. Practice what you preach.

For the Word of God to benefit you, you must accept it by faith and act upon it. Mere head knowledge of the Bible is insufficient. You must be born-again first, or you will not understand. (1 Corinthians 2:14). After that, we must desire the sincere milk of the Word (1 Peter 2:2), study it, and grow. 2 Peter 3:18 commands, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”

Become a student of the Word to be an effective servant of Christ.

(Parenthetical note: This has been just a preliminary introduction to Bible study. There are many entire books devoted to this subject. I hope this short paper will help you in your study of God’s Word.)

About Dale B

I am a born-again Christian who loves to write and share the Good News about Jesus. Raised on a small Wisconsin farm and saved at age 12, I have been active in Christian service since that time. My many years as a pastor, accountant, and lay worker in the church have equipped me to help those in need. In retirement now in Texas, the Lord has led me to writing as a means of winning people to Christ and helping Christians grow in the Lord. By God’s grace I hope to be a blessing and encouragement to you.

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One comment

  1. Hello Dale,
    I really enjoyed reading this article – well done and expressed.
    Thank you for sharing with us, always good to see your posts.
    God Bless~

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