Monday, February 17, 2014

How to study the Bible

First off pray. I can not stress enough how important it is to pray before you study the Bible. In fact don't even open your Bible before praying first. You need GOD to teach you what He says in His Word because only GOD fully understands His Bible and He's the only one who fully knows and understands you. GOD knows how you learn and what you need to learn so again pray before reading or studying the Bible. Even if you do wanna just relax and read through a Psalm please pray. As its not just an ordinary book. Its not something someone randomly put together it is the words of the Almighty GOD. When you read those words you need to remember that it is GOD talking to you. So again I stress to pray before reading or studying the Bible at all otherwise if you don't pray don't bother opening your Bible. 
When working through a Bible study its best to do it in a group of other Christians doing the same Bible study this way your brothers and sisters in Christ can be your soundboards. This is also will keep you accountable to doing the study. Also doing a Bible study with your brothers and sisters in Christ will help you grow closer to them and get to know them better. Please only go to a fellow brother or sister in Christ for help studying the Bible do not ask help from a non-Christian as they can only give you a worldly point of view which will not help you. And if you are learning disabled that's ok so am I and I still do Bible studies just tell the leader of your Bible study group so that they are aware of it and can help you along when needed to. 
When studying one particular verse like lets say for a moment that you have trouble understanding John 3:16 "For GOD so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life" NIV. So lets say you wanna study this verse cause you have trouble understanding it. Read the verse and read the whole chapter it is in and look for anything out of the ordinary anything that stands out to you and make note of it. 
Remember to take breaks and come back to your Bible study with a fresh perspective. 
Study all the background there is on the main characters, the time period and original language. The original language of the Bible was not English and so the words then are a bit different and it helps to keep that in mind. 
Form no theories use only the facts at hand. I think all the theory forming is why we do take Bible verses out of context. Stick to the facts. Never guess. If you have a question ask. The only question that's a stupid question is the one that isn't asked. 
Pay attention to small details and what may seem obvious. 
Look for consistency which isn't hard in the Bible and if you can't find consistency within the Bible you are not looking hard enough. 
Put yourself in other peoples places and try to imagine what you would do and be honest with yourself. Like the parable of the good Samaritan read it and think if you would do as the Priest or the Levite or the Samaritan. 
Its often a mistake to accept something as true merely because its obvious the truth is only arrived by the painstaking process of eliminating the untrue. That's right Bible study is hard but it should be so as to make you think. 
Never disregard anything no matter how trivial. 
Make notes of who wrote it, when written, the audience at the time, original language written in and the original intent of it and make note of what GOD says to you in it. 
Once you eliminate the impossible whatever remains however improbable must be the truth. 
It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence it biases the judgement. You'll end up twisting facts to suit theories instead of twisting theories to suit facts and that's also why we take verses out of context. 
Do not allow your judgement to be biased by personal qualities and keep in mind your a fallible finite human being very capable of being wrong and GOD is always right so always be open to what GOD says. 
Seeing, observing and deducing are different do all three. Like for example you see John 3:16 then you observe who wrote it and original intent therefore deduce that GOD loves you so much that He sacrificed His Son for you.
The big picture and the details are important take note and concentrate on both of them.
Please keep in mind that whoever wrote the Bible study book not the Bible but the book you are studying. Like lets say that your studying through Timothy Keller's book Gospel In Life keep in mind that just because Timothy Keller says it does not make it so. Maybe he is right maybe he isn't. Whatever you do hold all teachings under the light of the Word if it agrees with the Bible all is well but if it disagrees do not pay anymore attention to it. Like lets say Timothy Keller said that GOD is love so then you would look through the Bible and see that yes the Bible says GOD is love then you can agree with it and apply it to your life. 
And last but not least always always always praise GOD for everything He has taught you and everything He will teach you. Give Him praise and worship for your Bible study. And give Him thanks the Bible and the Bible study are gifts so thank Him. 
And that's how you can study the Bible. GOD bless you.  
Please note that some of these words you'll recognize from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. I only used them as I think they are helpful in Bible study as I think others would as well. There is no Copyright infringement intended at all.