Bible Study Tips/Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by CoJoJax, Feb 15, 2009.

  1. CoJoJax

    CoJoJax
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    Hey guys,

    I notice a lot when I'm reading this forum that people will post a topic with something along the lines of "I'm studying the difference between so-and-so in Genesis and so-and-so in Revelation" or "comparing the practices of John Doe in the Old Testament and how Bob Smith did things in the New Testament!". As kind of a newbie to Bible study compared to a lot of you guys on here - what's your motivation for studying these different topics? And as a follow-up, what's your technique?

    Here is my situation: I'll find myself sitting there at my desk, Bible in front of me, even a commentary next to it, and I sit there staring blankly, flipping pages .. it's like I can't figure out what to do!

    Are a lot of you guys reading devotionals or books or something for the motivation to study the topics you do? Or is it simply just a matter of God putting a certain subject on your heart to research?

    Maybe I'm just new to all of this and should just hush up and let it all come to me naturally, but sometimes I just feel like I'm reading but I'm not reading with a purpose!

    If none of this makes sense, please do the following to me: :tonofbricks:

    But if you kind of felt like me when you first started up studying the Bible and whatnot and can share some insight, tips, suggestions and whatnot - please do tell! :thumbs:

    I want to learn as much as I possibly can from the Bible so that I can be the best Christian I can be - I want God to be proud of my efforts! I also want to be a good mentor to my daughter when she gets a little older!

    Thanks for the help!
     
  2. Jim1999

    Jim1999
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    Cojojax...Thanks for asking. We all need helps, and we remember teh early days.

    One recommendation is to have a systematic guide to Bible study and follow it once a day. In the early days, I used Scripture Union Notes, which followed the scriptures devotionally and literally. It systematically went through the Bible, alternating between Old and New Testaments.

    To-day, I suggest another method. Buy a good handbook to the Bible. One suggestion is Eerdmans' Handbook to the Bible, Edited by David Alexander and Pat Alexander. It was originally published in England, but there is an American edition. Whilst this book was originally printed in 1973, it was updated and printed in 1973 in the USA. It will take you from Genesis through Revelation, and give some details about the book itself, dating and characters in each chapter. It really helps in understanding the word in short order. You can always develop your own ideas later.

    Cheers, and good studies,

    Jim
     
  3. Steven2006

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    One idea that you might like and would get you started is doing a word study. Choose a word from a verse you are interested in learning more about. Get yourself a Strong's concordance and an expository dictionary and you can look the meaning of the word and every verse that uses that same word.

    Don't get in a hurry or feel any pressure that you must "discover something". I would always start with prayer and ask God to reveal Himself to you through His word. Take your time with each verse that uses that word, and maybe read the entire chapter it is in to get a better idea of the context.

    This will help you start to get used to the practice of digging a little bit, and not just stare at the bible as you mentioned that you sometimes find yourself doing. By doing this you will slowly be uncovering little nuggets that you hadn't thought of before. By getting comfortable using the concordance you will be building blocks for a foundation that will help you to become more comfortable in your bible study.

    I hope this helped a little, it is but just one idea, one that I believe is a fun way to begin to learn more.
     
  4. Jarthur001

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    Hello CoJoJax,

    Let me tell you what helped me more than anything in my Bible study. Know that each text will tell us something about God. Keep a note book and write down each truth that Holy Spirit tells you about God and the passage beside it.

    Don't jump around. Stick to one book at a time at 1st. This was how the book was meant to be read.


    In the Gospels we need to ask...."who is Jesus?" ...Gods Son. Each passage will give you another element to add to your list. This will not only help you to know your Lord better, but you will remember where to find that truth. Like the last part of John 3 I always remember as telling that Christ Jesus is the Revealer that knows the truth tells the truth and has come from Heaven

    In Romans you will find other things about God...as you will in each book.

    You may also want to note the picture of man as you go through each book also. Take one side of the page to note the picture of man and the other side of the page to note the picture of God found in each passage.


    This helped me alot as I 1st took to study
     
    #4 Jarthur001, Feb 15, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 15, 2009
  5. CoJoJax

    CoJoJax
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    Man .. this message board has been a true blessing to me. I really appreciate all of the information so far. I'm definitely copying-and-pasting everything into Word to print-out and keep on my desk. I'm willing to give anything a shot!

    These are all awesome and very creative suggestions - thanks again. :thumbs:
     
  6. Marcia

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    I suggest either just reading through a book of the Bible slowly and carefully (maybe using a good study Bible) and/or using a book like Nathan Stone's The Names of God and looking up the scripture references he cites.

    You can find other books to use this way as well along with reading the Bible. I get a lot out of this method.

    Another suggestion: Get a Thompson-Chain Study Bible. It has topics in the back of the Bible categorized by numbers that link to the biblical text (numbers are in outside margins of text), so you can choose a theme that interests you (like atonement or prayer) and read all the passages connected to that theme.
     
  7. thegospelgeek

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    I agree with marcia. The Thompson Chain Reference is Great. I also recommend choosing a book. I always recomend either a Gospel (I like John) or 1 John but it really doesn't matter. Read it all the way through, slowly. Let God speak to you. I teach beginners to use a "What, What, So What" method.

    • What does it say? Read carefully, does it say what I think it says?
    • What does it mean? Use a dictionary English and Greek for NT English and Hebrew for OT.
    • So what? What does God want me to get out of this? What is he saying to me at this time?I don't think the Bible has any "filler" in it. Everything is for a reason.

    The last portion takes time, meditation, and a lot of prayer.

    You can do the same thing with topical studies, but mostly let God lead you. Also, if you have a Christian friend, have them ask you questions and see if you can find the answer in the Bible. I had a partner on a construction job when I was first saved. He would ask me all kinds of thing when we were at work. He would never give me the answers. I would dig into the word at night and we would discuss what I found and he would follow with more questions. This really taught me to study. If you don't have someone to do this with you, I would be honored to if desired.
     
  8. Jim1999

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    The reason I recommended the book published by Eerdmunds is that it takes one through the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation. It includes geography and history, a brief about each book, the people and places. You actually get a Bible School training in one text. You also follow in your Bible. In less than one year you can go through the entire Bible. It is in essence a one book library. Check the book out in any good bookstore and read a few pages there.

    I have started many a new believer this way for years and this included students at the university studying for ministry.

    Cheers, and good studies,

    Jim
     
  9. Dr. Timo

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    variation

    Study Bibles can be a big help. I like to do different things rather than keep the same repitition. Others don't get bored as easy as me though!!!:wavey:
     
  10. tinytim

    tinytim
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    Here is something I have posted here before..
    This is the way I approach the Bible..
    And the way I have taught my congregation to approach it...

    The 7 steps to understanding the Bible


    In order to properly apply a Bible scripture to your life, you have to properly interpret the scripture.

    If you apply the scripture without the proper interpretation it is called eisegesis. This is using the Bible in a wrong way. It is making the Bible say what you want it to say. It is adding to the Bible.
    When you first interpret the scripture, then apply it, it is called exegesis. This is drawing the meaning of the text from the text. This is what we should be doing.

    Here is a list to run through when you approach a scripture. Remember to always pray first. It is God that directs your steps.

    1) Lexical: When you read a passage, do you know what all the words mean? Define all questionable words. Remember, as someone has said before, “If the plain sense makes sense, seek no other sense.”

    2) Literary: What section of the Bible are you in? Prophecy, narrative, poetry, letters, history, etc.

    3) Historical/Cultural: When was the book written? What was going on in history at the time the book was written? What did this passage mean to the original readers?

    4) Theological: What are the other scriptures in the Bible that deal with the same subject as this scripture? Imagine all the writers of the scripture sitting around a table discussing this scripture, what would they say?

    5) Contextual: Look at the scriptures surrounding this scripture, in what context is the verse written in?

    6) Orthodox: If the meaning of the scripture can be debatable, how has the church interpreted this passage in the past? That may give you an idea. You are not bound to believe someone’s interpretation, but it may give you fresh way to look at the passage.

    AFTER, you interpret what the passage says:

    7) Application: Ask, “What does this mean for me today?” “Why did God put this in the Bible?” “If this wasn’t in the Bible, how would it affect my life?” “What can I get out of this passage that will help me, or help others?”







    Worksheet:
    Scripture: ________________________
    Author: ________________________ Date of writing: _________
    Type of writing: (literary style) ___________________________


    Lexical (definitions of words):




    Historical/cultural influences:




    Theological (Other scripture in the Bible that are connected to this passage):




    Context of surrounding scripture:




    Orthodox (What has been the teaching of the church?):




    How does passage this apply to me?
     
  11. Marcia

    Marcia
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    Tiny Tim, most of what you posted is how my pastor teaches to read the bible and study it, as well as my seminary. :wavey:
     
  12. thegospelgeek

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    TT,

    WOW! You have an actual structure to my What, What, So What? method. I like you structure and details. That's kinda cool, cause no one taught me my method, but I can see the Holy Spirit hand involved when I see a written structured method so similar. Thaks for posting that Brother :thumbs:
     
  13. CoJoJax

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    I have used Study Bibles in the past .. but I don't know. I almost prefer the regular ol' Bible without all of the notes, because I tend to then focus more and study more the notes than the actual scripture. Do you get what I'm saying?

    If I have questions, I'll either ask a friend, research it online (Although I'm scared to do this at times b/c you never know what kind of "info" you'll end up with), or I'll post on here! :thumbs:
     
  14. CoJoJax

    CoJoJax
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    Thanks tinytim.

    Question though .. what defines a passage? Am I using all of those questions for a verse, a paragraph .. etc?

    To put it more simply .. how do YOU do it?
     
  15. CoJoJax

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    Yeah!! This message is extremely simple and easy enough to jot in the front of my Bible for reference-sake.

    I'm horrible with keeping up with notepads and etc. etc. so I'm considering setting up my own personal blog just to use as my "notepad" to write my findings, thoughts and etc. Has anybody else experimented with this before? Plus I get some horrible hand cramps writing with a pen .. also .. my typing skills are excellent!:thumbs:
     
  16. thegospelgeek

    thegospelgeek
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    CoJo,

    I don't care too much for the study bibles either. That's why i like my Thompson Chain so much. No commentary but lots of references.

    As for the Blog thing. I put one up for similar reasons but rarely post to it. It seams like when I sit down to write in it I can't.

    You can checkit out if you like

    http://www.thegospelgeek.com
     
  17. CoJoJax

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    Man - that is pretty well put together! You should definitely update more often.

    I'm probably going to run mine off of Google's Blogger website. Free and simple is good for me. :thumbs:
     
  18. Steven2006

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    http://www.amazon.com/dp/0802408168/?tag=baptis04-20

    Here is a link to a book I believe you would greatly enjoy and would be worth investing in. I think it is just what you are looking for. It will help you to learn to read and study the bible for yourself instead of just relying on comments in study bibles or commentaries. Check it out.
     
  19. drfuss

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    drfuss: I agree, the Thompson Chain Reference Bible is very good for objective studying. We should remember that any study Bible or Bible study program has a doctrinal agenda.

    When using study Bibles or Bible study programs, we should look at the same type tools for those with opposing views. I have found that many Calvinists and OSAS believers only consider study programs and study Bibles that agree with their church's theology. I suspect that this is also true for Christians with other points of view. Unfortunatly, only studying one side of an issue can result in misleading and sometimes wrong information about what the other Christians actully believe. Seeing the positive aspects of both sides leads to a more balanced and informed theology.
     
  20. Me4Him

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    I suppose everyone has a different way of learning the scriptures, so what works for me may not work for you.

    Actually, I learn more scripture without a bible in my hand then with one,

    it's called "mediating" (thinking) on/about what I've read.

    We go through life with everything in the world "on our minds", seldom thinking about the scriptures and what we've read,

    it's as easy to "think on these things" of scripture as anything else, and continue doing whatever we're doing, driving/working/whatever.

    I find that when I am mediating on scripture the "Spirit" will teach/show me things I didn't know, and the next time I do open the bible, I find the proof.

    And I haven't gotten around to mentioning the fact that while this is taking place, you're having a personal relationship, one on one, with God/Jesus,

    And like in life, the more often you're associated with a person the better you get to know them.

    We can think on the things of the world or the things of God, it's our choice.
     

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