Bible Study is essential to the Christian life, as through it we learn about Christ, how to live out our walk here on earth, and how to relate to others. “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). In the dark world around us, we need God’s Word to light our way. Here are just a few tips to consider when studying the Bible for yourself.
- Start with prayer. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as you search out the truths of God’s Word.
- Study to know Christ. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8). If you come into your time of studying just to gain knowledge, or out of duty and obligation, it will likely eventually fade out. But if you are studying to know Christ, to learn more of His attributes and of His divine nature, your relationship with the Creator will be deepened, and you will feel refreshed after spending time in God’s Word. The Bible is not some dry textbook; it is “living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword.” (Hebrews 4:12) We can approach the Bible with delight and hunger, because it is a book about Jesus.
- Context is key. 2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” How do we accurately handle the word of truth? One way is, while studying, allow Scripture to interpret Scripture. We can do this by reading the passage in context (know what it says before and after the passage). Without knowing the context of a verse, you are setting yourself up for making a verse say what you want it to say. Finding cross-references is also a great way to let the text interpret the text. Look up the historical, geographical and cultural background, as this can be very helpful in understanding context. You can use a Bible dictionary, commentary, and maps to for help. Blueletterbible.com is a great online resource, which has everything from cross-references to Bible dictionaries to commentaries, and more – right at your fingertips.
- Apply what you learn. James, in his epistle, warns believers against becoming hearers of the word only, and not doers also (James 1:22). Prayerfully consider how you can apply what you are learning to your life.
Press on as you study and apply God’s Word!