Why Should You Study Cross-References

March 15, 2023

Why should you study cross-references? Before you continue reading, what would your personal answer to this question be?

If you have never heard the term “cross-reference” before, I encourage you to first take a look at this (link: How to do an Inductive Bible Study: Cross-References | National Bible Bee) blog post on using cross-references! If you’re already familiar with cross-references, consider sharing your knowledge with others to help them. The excitement and benefits of studying them aren’t to be kept to ourselves! Ask yourself the question, “Who can I help to better understand the world of cross-references?” God’s Word has too many interconnections to be overlooked.

When I first joined the National Bible Bee, I didn’t know what cross-references were. But as I learned about them throughout my first Summer Study in 2019, my love for them only increased. Since implementing cross-references into my Bible studying, I have seen Scripture come to life in ways I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Because of them, I’ve been able to come to more biblical conclusions in the text I’m studying (not just personal ones). I’ve discovered answers to my many questions, growing my relationship with God as a result! I’ve learned (and can now say with confidence) that studying cross-references in God’s Word isn’t only beneficial – it’s crucial.

For example, pretend you’re building something that requires instructions. To read only one side of the instructions and to ignore the other is like avoiding the study of cross-references. Why only use one side when you know there’s more material on the other that you could be benefitting from? Not only that, but in only using one side of the instructions, you are at a risk of doing the whole project incorrectly. It’s the same way with the Word of God. We would be missing the big picture if we overlooked the connections made within its pages. We’d miss out on the rich and in-depth meaning God intended for us to grasp in His Word. Not only that, we’re also making ourselves susceptible to error when it comes to drawing biblical conclusions, and we may not be able to identify false messages about Scripture as easily – both of which are dangerous outcomes. Finding connections within verses in God’s Word helps to provide context for a given passage and shed more light on its meaning and helps to keep us from misinterpretation.

Cross-references also give us a better understanding of the gospel and the work of Christ. They help us to understand the bigger picture of God’s unfolding story. When we take a look at cross-references in the Old Testament, we see the prophecies Christ fulfilled while He walked the earth. When we observe the harmony of the gospels we see even more evidence that Christ is the Messiah. The accounts given by eyewitnesses all line up! When we read different epistles side by side, we see similar exhortations and commands given to the church that uplift us today.

Another benefit to studying cross-reference is that the connections you observe in God’s Word can then be stored away in your memory which helps to provide more weight to the truths you believe. When the opportunity arises to evangelize to an unbeliever, you can point them to Christ’s perfect fulfillments of the many prophecies. When speaking with a discouraged believer, you can be readily equipped with promises of peace and hope that appear again and again to remind us of their surety. Cross-references add more emphasis to the truths of God’s Word and declare that Scripture can be trusted! As we spend time studying cross-references, it puts us in awe of our Creator and His sovereign ability to perfectly write His Word. They give us a greater appreciation for God’s Truth!

Studying (and memorizing) cross-references has taught me a lot about the interrelatedness and value of Scripture. It is true in every word and it stands alone with power!

What new treasures will you unlock through your study of cross-references in your next Bible study? 

Written by NBB Alumna: Hannah Kohner

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