Last week, I challenged you to develop the spiritual exercise of prayer. I hope that you are growing in your prayer life and relationship with God. Today, we continue with Part 2: How to Study The Bible. Given the world that we live in today, we desperately need to study the Bible. We desperately need the wisdom and direction that God’s Word offers. Allow me to share with you why the Bible is so important, what we are to do with the Bible, and finally how to study the Bible.
I. Why is the Bible so important?
One scripture that answers this for us completely is 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (MSG). “Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.” This scripture gives us seven reasons why the Bible is so important.
- The Bible is God-breathed.
- The Bible is useful.
- The Bible teaches me truth.
- The Bible exposes my rebellion.
- The Bible corrects my mistakes.
- The Bible trains me how to live God’s way.
- The Bible prepares and equips me to do God’s work.
When you look at this verse from the perspective of these seven statements, it really does emphasize the importance and relevance of the Bible for our everyday life. We could also calls these benefits of Bible study. Since the Bible is from God, and it is useful in all these ways listed here, then you and I should be eager to learn from it.
II. What am I to do with the Bible?
- I am to listen to the Bible. “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17 (NIV)
- I am to read the Bible. “Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” Revelation 1:3 (NIV)
- I am to study the Bible. “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 (NIV)
- I am to meditate on the Bible. “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.” Psalm 1:1-2 (NIV)
- I am to memorize the Bible. “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11 (NIV)
- I am to obey the Bible. “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22 (NIV)
These six are not a list to pick and choose from; instead, we are to do all of these. Every day that we live is an opportunity to learn from the Bible through these six methods. As we learn from the Bible through these methods, then we will begin to experience the benefits listed in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.” If we choose to ignore the Bible and refuse to learn from it, then we will not experience these benefits and we will not grow spiritually. So I challenge you to use all six ways to learn from the Bible.
III. How do I study the Bible?
Last week, we looked at a model prayer given to us by Jesus. However, we don’t have a model Bible study in the Bible itself. There are numerous ways to study the Bible so I want to share a simple model with you.
- Pick a book of the Bible to study.
- Gather other resources to aid my study.
- A Study Bible
- A Bible Dictionary
- A Bible Handbook
- A Bible Concordance
- A Bible Commentary
- Different Bible Translations
- Bible Software for your computer
- Bible study websites on the Internet
- Read a paragraph at a time.
- Ask questions of the scripture I read. Who—What—When—Where—Why—How.
- Pray for insight into the passage.
- Write down answers to my questions and insights I discover.
- Write down a personal and practical application to obey.
- Memorize meaningful verses as I study.
Will you develop the spiritual exercise of Bible study? So far, we have looked at two spiritual exercises: prayer and Bible study. These are daily exercises that we must develop. They are the most basic and most necessary spiritual exercises for spiritual growth. If you are not spending time in God’s Word and in prayer on a daily basis, then you will not grow or mature as a Christian. Spiritual growth is not automatic. It occurs as we intentionally give of ourselves to daily spiritual exercise. Today, I specifically challenge you to develop the spiritual exercise of Bible study. Set aside a place and a time when you can study God’s Word each day. Make it a priority. Allow God’s Word to teach you truth, expose your rebellion, correct your mistakes, train you how to live God’s way, and prepare and equip you to do God’s work. Then, teach others to do the same. Pass this exercise along to someone else.