The Bible is the well to the water of life. It contains the food your spirit needs for proper growth. Hearing the Word preached is a necessary part of your spiritual growth. But nothing takes the place of daily feeding on the Word of God for yourself. By learning to use the following Bible study methods, you can prepare a diet of God’s Word that will enrich your life.
Remember to Pray First
The single most important aid to Bible study is prayer. Always pray before reading your Bible. It will help keep what you read in proper perspective. Clear your mind of all thoughts and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart as you study. Ask the Lord to open the eyes of your spiritual understanding and give you revelation needed for daily living. Then after you have asked, thank Him for it.
Keep a Right Attitude
As you prepare to study God’s Word, remember to approach your study time with a humble heart and a willing attitude. Jesus said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes” (Matt. 11:25 NKJV). The study of God’s Word must be done with a humble heart and a will that is surrendered to Him. For it is only then that revelation will come.
Do not study the Bible to find a verse to corroborate your view or ideas. Instead, examine it to find out what it really says. Be careful when looking for scriptures to prove something. Keep your mind and heart open to the Holy Spirit.
Let God’s Word Speak to You
Study God’s Word as if He was speaking to you personally because He is. Have you ever wished that God would speak to you the way He talked to Abraham? You have something better than Abraham had. The Lord didn’t speak to Abraham all the time. But He speaks to you every time you open your Bible. Allowing the Word to speak to you each time you read it will make the Bible come alive.
Practice What You Learn
James 1:22 (NKJV) says, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” Put into practice what you learn. People who read and study God’s Word but do not practice it are only deceiving themselves. Read the Word to find out how to live pleasing to God, and then live that way!
The study of God’s Word must be done with a humble heart and a will that is surrendered to Him. Study God’s Word as if He was speaking to you personally because He is.
Examine the Scriptures
With so many people trying to explain what the Word of God says, it is best to learn for yourself exactly what it means. Too many people rely on their pastor or a television minister for their spiritual nourishment. I could eat at the best restaurant in town and tell you how good the food is there. But if you don’t go there, you will never know how good the food really is. What your pastor tells you is secondhand information until you examine what the Word of God says.
Store the Word in Your Heart
“Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” —Psalm 119:11 (NKJV)
Your heart, like any other storehouse, can hold a huge amount of God’s Word. But just because it was full last week does not mean you can still draw from its resources. You must replenish the Word that is stored in your heart. One way is by meditating on scripture. Speak it over and over to yourself, turning it over in your mind, and dwelling on what it says.
Study More Than Favorite Subjects
There are certain subjects people like to study. They may be good topics such as healing, prophecy, judgment, and so forth. But spending all of your time on a specific item will cause other areas to be neglected, areas important for a balanced spiritual life.
For your body to get the nutrition it needs, you have to eat more than your favorite foods. In the same way, you need not be so selective with what you study from God’s Word. Just as you need balanced eating habits, you also need balanced study habits. This does not mean you cannot focus on a particular subject of study. But you must remember to take the rest of the Bible into account.
Study the Bible as the Word of God
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” —Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV)
The Bible is not merely a good book that teaches you how to live; it is alive with the very life of God residing in it. It contains all the answers to your problems. It is your operator’s handbook for daily living. God’s Word is powerful enough to separate soul and spirit and to know the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Read From Various Translations
Reading the Bible from different translations can give you a fresh perspective on familiar scripture passages. When reading a book or passage through in several translations, start with the version you use for your personal study and reading. Then reread the passage in another version.
You may want to continue this for several days, then go back and read it again in your usual version. You will be surprised at the new insight this will bring to the passage you have read.
Keep in mind that reading and studying the Bible are not the same. Reading is not studying, but it is important and helpful. Occasionally, it is good to read a book or portion of scripture as though you were taking a relaxing drive in the country. You are not stopping to investigate any word or verse but reading for pure enjoyment. Reading the Word of God will do things for your spiritual life that study cannot.
You may want to find a Bible reading plan or perhaps check off the books and chapters as you read them. Either way, systematic reading of the Bible will give you a good overall picture of God’s Word.
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