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How to Study the Bible
How to Study the Bible
Studying the bible is a natural extension of reading it. Studying the bible helps you to better recall and understand what you have read. In order to understand Gods word, it must be studied. Studying takes more time and effort; however at its conclusion you will have a better understanding of what you have studied, than you would have by simply just reading it. Reading the bible is fine, but by merely reading it you won't attain the higher level of spiritual growth you would had you studied it. The word admonishes us to"study to show yourself approved a workman who needs not be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth."
Following are some effective bible study methods.
1. Determine your purpose; why do you want to study the bible?
Do you want to study it to determine what it says regarding certain subjects, for example guilt, life after death or forgiveness? Do you want to study it for a certain length of time, for example, a year?
Do you want to study the entire bible or just the Old Testament or New Testament?
2. Set a plan of study. Set aside a certain time each day to study. It maybe that early in the morning may fit your schedule better, especially if you're an early riser. If not noonday during lunch or after dinner may work better for you.
Ether way remember bible study takes dedication and commitment, be aware satan will do all he can to discourage or interrupt your study. It's important to determine a specific plan of study. Simply assess how long each day or week you want to study the bible. By making this assessment, you will give yourself motivation to stay on track.
Be realistic. If your life is filled with daily responsibilities that have already prohibited you from studying the word, you may want to develop a weekly study plan. Perhaps four hour a week. By making your schedule as broad as possible, you give yourself more flexibility and, thereby, increase the possibility that you will stick to your plan.
3. Select a version of the bible that you really understand. There are many different versions of the bible, including the King James, New King James, New International, Contemporary English, New Living Translation, Living Bible. They differ by the complexity of the English used, One of the oldest versions around today, the King James, utilizes what is commonly called "old English," similar to that used, for example, in Shakespearean classics. So, in this version expect to see thee, thy and thou, rather than our more modern word "you."
Selecting an easy-to-read version will help you to understand what you're reading, which in turn will make it easier for you to stick to your bible study plan. How do you know what's best for you? Read a couple of passages in each. You can do this by stopping at most major bookstores and flipping through various versions. Once you select a version, use that in your study. If you have to purchase a new bible, don't throw out your present one. You may be surprised to learn that once you begin a consistent course of study, you will be able to understand that one as well. You may want to purchase a reference bible with a concordance.
Once you have completed these steps, you can begin studying. Read scriptures or passages related to your study plan. Stick to your time frame. Try and determine a) what these are saying, and b) what they mean to you today. Writing down your thoughts or questions while you study is a good idea. Later, you can either search for the answers yourself, or get help from someone else.
As an additional study aid, you can utilize reference materials. There are many bible study tools that can help you as you study. These include reference bibles, study bibles, bible dictionaries, concordances and commentaries. At the onset of your bible study routine, you may want to purchase a reference bible first, and then move on to the more in-depth tools once you are serious about your studies.
Finally, you need to be attending a bible study class at a local church. Such a course can help you to hone your study skills, and hopefully whet your appetite for continual study and life application.
Here are some suggestions to help you observe better during Bible study:
1. Use a pencil while observing. Write down your observation as you make it. Writing is a great aid to memory.
2. Use underlining or encircling to indicate your major observations. "Find ways of organizing your observations so that they will be accessible with the least possible effort."
3. Avoid simply copying the words of the text. Indicate something about them.
4. Observe every passage as if you had never seen it before. "Let every approach be a fresh one."
5. See how many different observations you can make on a given passage.
6. Look for what, where, when, how, why and who.
7. Compare and contrast different translations of the Scriptures.
8. Understand the geography of your study. Make rough maps to help your understanding.
9. Study the people of the Bible. See them in the light of "real life."
10. When studying epistles (letters), note the following: the identity and characteristics of the writers; the location, characteristics, and problems of the recipients; the answers given to their problems; the occasion and purpose of the letter; its literary features, leading ideas, and central truth.
11. Look for the concepts of God, Christ, man, sin, and redemption. These are the primary themes with which Bible authors are concerned.