Let’s be honest, studying is hard, and if you don’t know how to do it, it can be even harder. This is the reason many Christians simply don’t study their Bible. Studying is a skill that needs to be taught and a habit that needs to be cultivated. Maybe you want to learn how to study your Bible and make a habit out of it, but you don’t quite know where to start. Fortunately, the National Bible Bee has put together just the resource you need. For the Summer Study, the National Bible Bee puts together the Discovery Journal, which is a great guide to cultivate studying skills and to give you an opportunity to dig into God’s Word.
So how does the Summer Study, and the Discovery Journal, work? The Summer Study is an 8-week study of one portion of scripture in-depth. It’s much more than just your daily Bible reading plan. During the Summer Study, you’ll become intimately familiar with the text and learn to draw out many applications from it. This study is guided by the Discovery Journal, which consists of many tools and methods to help you draw out these applications and teach you to study for yourself. Each week you’ll study a chapter or so of the selected passage until the end of the eight weeks. Each one of these units consists of multiple different steps, first learning to observe, then interpret, and finally to apply the passage.
Why are each of these steps so important? Let’s take a look at them one by one. First, the passage must be observed to be studied. This requires much more than just reading it through, although it certainly includes that. Throughout this portion you will read through the passage multiple times, all while looking for certain key words or themes. If a word is repeated often, it is probably trying to get your attention! You’ll also observe key relevant Greek/Hebrew words to help shed light on the original meaning. This section of the study focuses on answering the question, “what is the text saying?”.
The next step of each unit helps you interpret the text. This requires looking at the Bible more broadly and drawing out meaning and doctrine from the text. A fancy word we might use for “drawing out meaning” from the text is exegesis. To help properly exegete the text, you’ll study what you’ve already learned as well as other cross-references, or verses that deal with a similar subject as the text you’re studying. You may look at how it complements or contrasts other teachings taught in scripture. These cross-references help guide your mind in the right thinking and can prevent false conclusions from being drawn about the text. This section of the study focuses on answering the question, “what does this text mean?”.
The final step of each unit helps you apply the text. After you’ve exegeted, or drawn out, the correct meaning from the text, the final question that remains to be answered is, “how do I apply this to my life?”. This final step is the most personal part of the Discovery Journal. It gives you an opportunity to step back and meditate on the truth you’ve learned from God’s Word. It may cause you to respond in worship of God for who He is and what He’s done for you, or it may reveal a flaw in what you’ve previously believed and lead you to repent. Regardless of which it may be, applying the Bible to your life is sure to grow you in your Christian walk.
The privilege of studying God’s Word is one of the great privileges we have as Christians and should not be taken lightly. We ought to take the Bible seriously and for what it is: The Word of the living God. The National Bible Bee Summer Study is a great place to begin your journey of a deeper study into this marvelous book.
Written by NBB Alumni: Dylan George