(pp 184-186 of Spiritual Discipline Handbook)
This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it- Psalm 118.24
The Bible is often called a love letter from God to the world- it is God’s word told to us. From Genesis to Revelation and everything in between, we learn who God is, who we are, and why we matter. When we read the Bible, we learn about God’s image, human identity, and earthly creation. We see how God is faithful and always present, we experience his restorative healing, and fulfilled promises. Bible Study enables us to draw near to God, so he will draw near to us. Bible Study is crucial in life, and yet, it happens so infrequently in our lives. And this is part because we haven’t always been taught how to study the Bible- we are taught why the Bible is important, but we don’t necessary learn how to actually study the Word of God.
Some ways to study the Bible include:
Meditative- read a passage of scripture, around 5 verses, and sit with it. Read it over a few times, giving time to reflect and meditate before reading it again. Make notes of the words or phrases that stick out to you and focus on those words.
Detective- Read a passage with the intention of asking questions- visually imagine the place the story is occurring, picture the main people and events. Who are the people? Where does it take place? What is happening? What happened before this passage? What are the facts present in this passage? After finding the factual information ask the deeper question- how does this event impact our salvation story? What meaning does this story have for your daily life today? How do the actions of the characters in the story impact other characters or events?
Seeker- Pick a passage ask how it impacts your life today. How does God’s revelation in the story speak to your life in the present moment? What commandment or promise is spoken in the passage for your life? What is God telling you to do through this passage?
Accountability- Find a partner- a friend, mentor, neighbour- and read the same passage. Share the questions you had with the passage and discuss the questions you and your study partner have. Help each other to understand the passage and encourage each other to discover how God is speaking to each of you through the passage.
Jesus Method- Read through the Gospels and make note of the stories from the Old Testament that Jesus refences, either directly or indirectly. What stories are important to Jesus? How does he use these stories to share his message? How does he explain the passages to the crowds? What questions do they ask of Jesus? How does Jesus ask the crowds to apply the passages to their lives? Read the passages Jesus references and these questions as you read those passages.
What are some references Bible Study in the Bible?
2 Timothy 3
1 John 2
How is your currently Bible study life? What could be done to enhance your devotion/study time?
What has encouraged you in the past as you studied the Bible? What has made studying the Bible difficult in the past?
How has studying God’s word influenced your life? How has knowing God’s word helped you in times of trouble?
Have you ever thought of different Bible Study methods? What method would excite you as you study God’s word? Why?
How might your study method help you as you read the Bible?
Spend some time experimenting with studying God’s word. Read the Words out loud. Hear them being read through a Bible app or from someone else.
Pick a passage to study for a week. Listen to it on an audio recording each day. Write it out and hang it in a few places you will see it throughout the day.
Find a friend and commit to studying the Bible for a month together. Check in on each other and make intentional time to ask each other questions and share your findings about the passage you’ve studied
Pick one of the study methods mentioned above and try it for a period of time. If you already do one of the methods, try a new one.
Spend time reading through a couple commentaries or sermons on passages you’ve been reading to help you understand the passage in a deeper manner.