How do you study your Bible?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by JamieinNH, Nov 22, 2005.

  1. JamieinNH

    JamieinNH
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2005
    Messages:
    2,277
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have been reading my Bible on a "Read the Bible in a Year" program.

    I also take notes during the sermon at church and look up references, and study his sermon when I get home.

    I have installed e-sword and use that to search and look up references, but still I feel like I am lacking.

    So the question. If you really want to Know and Understand the Bible how do you study it?

    How do the Pastor's of this board study it for sermons?

    How do students of this board study it for their school?

    How do general Christian's study it at home?


    I really want to know the Word better, and am reading it, but wanted to find out what else I can do to learn it more.

    Thanks!
    Jamie
     
  2. Helen

    Helen
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Helen2.gif>

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2001
    Messages:
    11,703
    Likes Received:
    1
    Jamie, look to your namesake in the Bible! James tells us, in chapter one of his letter, to ask for wisdom. It is ALWAYS better to ask for God's wisdom than man's wisdom! So pray first, then read your Bible. When my children were pre-teen and teens, we read the Bible cover to cover, out loud, several times. It took a couple of years each time because we would stop when they wanted to and talk about things.

    My husband and I manage to go even more slowly as we take several versions at once and compare. One of the versions we have is the ancient Alexandrian LXX (translated -- as opposed to the other versions called "Septuagint" -- about 250 years before Christ by Hebrew scholars from paleo Hebrew to classical Greek), which provides the distinctly Jewish understanding of Scripture's meaning without any Christian 'interference.'

    It is in the Alexandrian LXX that we find that perhaps Cain actually repented and that the mark of Cain was not a mark of condemnation but a mark of forgiveness so no one would kill him in retaliation for Abel's murder! We have been fascinated by some of the differences.

    However, the best way to read is with the Lord and not with anyone else's 'commentary'. After you have read the Bible yourself two or three times, cover to cover, THEN start looking at what others say. By that time you will have enough Bible knowledge yourself to be able to judge how biblical the various statements by others are. Some will be 'right on' and others 'how on earth...????'

    If someone you love sends you a love letter, you do not need a third person to help you interpret it, right? Pray for wisdom and simply read for yourself. Five chapters a day will get you through the Bible in a year. You will find yourself, through the day, thinking about what you have read. That will help establish it in your mind and heart.
     
  3. JamieinNH

    JamieinNH
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2005
    Messages:
    2,277
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks Helen for the reply.

    I do pray, and read the Bible, but it just seems like I am 'missing' something. I guess it's the impatience in me. When I study something new, I always want to soak it in and learn in a 'fast-track'. It works in some situations, but I guess it's not the correct way in learning the Word. I need to pray for more patience also I guess.. [​IMG]

    Thanks again!

    Jamie
     
  4. Helen

    Helen
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Helen2.gif>

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2001
    Messages:
    11,703
    Likes Received:
    1
    LOL -- "I need patience...NOW!" the famous prayer of all mothers with toddlers, at least.

    Jamie, we are living in the television/video age, where all problems are solved in an hour or so with time out for commercial breaks.

    Real life isn't like that, which you no doubt have found out.

    What we have found reading the Bible is that no matter how slowly we go, there are riches there to be mined and enjoyed.

    If you want, read fast, cover to cover. Do ten or twenty chapters a day and get a good, solid overview. Then I think you will really want to go back and absorb it more slowly!
     
  5. JohnB

    JohnB
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2002
    Messages:
    281
    Likes Received:
    0
    Jamie,

    I have found some of these principles useful:

    1. As Helen said, read through the Bible rapidly (3-4 chapters a day) and entirely at least once. A year is an ok time frame.

    2. Don't read the Bible "devotionally." (At least, not yet.) Don't worry about taking notes, or finding applications. Read it book by book, alternating OT and NT books. Once you have read a book, check it off in the table of contents.

    3. As you read a book, also follow along in a Bible handbook. (Halley's, Unger or Zondervan are ok. Or Henrietta Mear's "What the Bible is All About." ) This will give you an overview and brief chapter by chapter commentary.

    I truly believe that if every Christian simply read the entire Bible at least once, every book, along with some basic background material, they would know 90% of what their pastor's learned in seminary.

    4. After doing this once, then you can feel free to study any other way. Go slow, read devotionally, mediate, do topical studies, use more in depth commentaries, etc.
     
  6. J. Jump

    J. Jump
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2004
    Messages:
    4,108
    Likes Received:
    0
    I would suggest researching on the internet and various books on the inductive study method. It teaches you skills that are very systematic and beneficial.

    If you would like more information you are more than welcome to email me with any specific questions.

    God's blessings to you as you continue to seek His face!!!
     
  7. chipsgirl

    chipsgirl
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2004
    Messages:
    2,832
    Likes Received:
    0
    I really like the Bible in a year program. Also if I am in a Bible Study and a scripture is referenced I look it up. If I don't do it then I'll forget later!
     
  8. gb93433

    gb93433
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    15,496
    Likes Received:
    6
    A METHOD OF BIBLE STUDY


    1. Read the text several times in its context.

    2. Read several different translations.

    3. Do a survey of the book regarding: authorship, date, purpose of the book, historical setting, type of literature, etc.

    4. Interpret the text in light of its context, historical background, type of literature, etc., using only the text to draw from. Do exegesis, not eisegesis.

    5. Do word studies using a concordance first, then a theological dictionary or Bible encyclopedia.

    6. Use commentaries, keeping in mind the theological perspective of the commentator and the date the commentary was written.

    7. Summarize your findings making note of the reference where the information was found. Eg. (WBC, Genesis, Vol. 1, p.28), (Young, Daniel, p. 95)

    8. Give practical application that is drawn from the text.
     
  9. Helen

    Helen
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Helen2.gif>

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2001
    Messages:
    11,703
    Likes Received:
    1
    gb, that is great for the third or fourth time through, but the first time should be God and you.
     
  10. gb93433

    gb93433
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    15,496
    Likes Received:
    6
    That is point number 1
     
  11. NateT

    NateT
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2000
    Messages:
    886
    Likes Received:
    0
    As to the OP:
    I was an 'average Christian' studying at home. I am currently a student, and plan on being a pastor. I think gb's method is great.

    Additionally, I would suggest a book by Howard Hendricks called "Living by the Book" he argues for 3 steps 1) Observation, Observation, Observation 2)Interpretation, 3) Application. I think it's a great book.

    Also, I'd suggest working on memorizing an entire book of the Bible. It sounds daunting, but here is a link to a good resource. On the left, click on "Writings."

    I'm almost done with Ephesians, and it has been amazing how just one book has helped in so many areas.
     
  12. baptistteacher

    baptistteacher
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Messages:
    826
    Likes Received:
    0
    Try what is called "Inductive Bible Study," I have found it to be the most rewarding.

    First, see what the text says. You have to know what it says before you can know anything else about it.

    Then, look at the context. A) In relation to the rest of the passage. B) In relation to the audience, the original hearers and/or readers. (What did it mean to them)

    Take a smaller book, like Phillipians, as a learning point, and give each paragraph a title of your own. [Helps to have a Bible divided into paragraphs, but without headings for them. Some KJV bibles use the paragraph sign (looks something like a backwards "P" with a double stem) to designate paragraphs.] --&gt;&gt; NOTE: not every bible uses the same paragraph divisions, these are all man-made, not part of the original text.

    Make a chart of these paragraph titles, and see how the whole book fits together. Look for things that are similar, or different; repetitions; changes in thought; etc.

    This will get you started. For more help, see Howard Hendricks book Living By the Book,it will take you through the whole process step by step.

    Also, study the Word as if you were going to teach it to someone else. Someday you just might get the chance, when you least expect it.

    Enjoy!!
     
  13. Hope of Glory

    Hope of Glory
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Messages:
    4,807
    Likes Received:
    0
    As has been stated, first of all, pray.

    Then read.

    Ditch your commentaries and such that are based on denominational doctrine or on a specific translation. (Although, Strong's is good to find other uses of words, it should not be relied upon for the Greek; it is a concordance, not a Lexicon.) Robertson's Word Pictures is good, and Vincent's Word Studies is good. They look at what the words say, instead of projecting what they want it to say.

    We're told to compare Scripture to Scripture. When you read a passage, read it in context, then compare it to other passages that use similar ideas and/or words.

    Since you have eSword, get the IGNT module (I'm not sure if it's from Rick's site or not), and look at the tense, voice, and mood. Are the verbs present, active, or are they aorist? Things such as this will help give you a deeper understanding. Also, get a good Greek lexcion. If you can afford the BDAG, that's good; if not, the Analytical Greek Lexicon is pretty good.

    As you do this, take notes. When you're finished, you will find out that you know more fully just how little you understand.
     
  14. JackRUS

    JackRUS
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2004
    Messages:
    1,043
    Likes Received:
    0
  15. John of Japan

    John of Japan
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    12,019
    Likes Received:
    148
    Hi, JamieinNH.

    I have study method I use when I want to know about one particular subject: prayer, evangelism, salvation, the doctrine of the Bible, etc. I get a cheap Bible with thicker pages than usual, skim the entire Bible, using a highlighter to mark every passage dealing with my subject. After this I look back at all the verses, maybe even preparing an outline with what I've learned. I have one Bible with four different colors in it.

    Right now I'm going through the Bible this way on the subject of missions. I'm doing it a little different this time, though, using my computer. I use my Bible software to send the verses to my word processor, compiling different files on different aspects of the subject: the Great Commission, living cross-culturally, languages, etc.

    The only "problem" is that sometimes I get sidetracked, stop skimming and read more deeply. The Bible is so rich and deep, amen? [​IMG]
     
  16. TexasSky

    TexasSky
    Expand Collapse
    Guest

    As I read the bible or as I listen to sermons, I make notes of scriptures. I pray. I read the verses (often whole chapters) before and after the passage. I check the bible's translation notes. If the verse is referencing or tied into another verse, I'll look up the reference and read it. I'll get out Strongs, or a Lexicon, and I'll compare it to other translations. Sometimes I'll go get more reference books, or look information up on line. Then I pray a bit more.
     
  17. JWI

    JWI
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2005
    Messages:
    245
    Likes Received:
    0
    When I read the Bible, I start with the assumption that God is truly a loving father who has recorded his word for our benefit, and truly wants us to understand his word.

    I also pray to God and ask him to show me what his word means.

    Then I just simply read. Along the way I stop and ask myself what the text is really saying. I like to pause and meditate or consider each verse.

    I have followed methods like reading the Bible through in one year, but personally I do not get much from this method. To me it is simply cramming in reading.

    So, for me, I would rather go very slow and think about each verse.

    There have been many times when I do not understand a passage. In cases like this I ask God to show me the meaning. And I cannot tell you how many times God has revealed these difficult passages to me. I have had occasions where when I next went to church the Pastor preached on the very scriptures I was having difficulty with and shown me the meaning.

    But sometimes it might be weeks, or even a year later. But truthfully, God has shown me the answer whenever I have asked him for wisdom.

    I would not call myself a scholar in any way, and I certainly do not have a good method of study. I tend to study subjects that interest me at the time.

    And sometimes I just open the Bible and start reading. I know this is terrible, but that is how I do it. I enjoy it all.
     
  18. Ransom

    Ransom
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2000
    Messages:
    4,132
    Likes Received:
    0
    One thing that no one has mentioned yet, but is worth adding:

    It is a good idea, particularly when you are going to begin serious study of the Bible for the first time (but also later when you want to "refresh" your memory), to simply read the Bible through, Genesis to Revelation.

    The purpose of this is not to do any sort of deep study, or devotional reading, or a "what-is-God-telling-me" kinda thing, but simply to see how all the parts of the Bible fit together: the stories, the major characters, the recurring themes, and so forth.

    In other words, before you start immersing yourself in the details, get the "big picture" - the metanarrative of the Bible. I have written two: one of the Old Testament and another of the whole Bible, as part of class assignments.
     
  19. computerjunkie

    computerjunkie
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2003
    Messages:
    1,827
    Likes Received:
    0
    What do you gentlemen/ladies think about a chronological Bible? I have read through the Bible, but I am very "organized" and I find it difficult to read straight through as it is not in chronological order and I get mixed up as to what is happening (or happened) when.

    Ransom, I agree with reading straight through to see "how all the parts of the Bible fit together" and getting the "big picture". I had not done that in awhile and as I was reading straight through it, I found myself totally fascinated with "the story" and how it all comes together at the end!

    CJ
     
  20. Hope of Glory

    Hope of Glory
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Messages:
    4,807
    Likes Received:
    0
    We have been doing a chronological study of the gospels at church for the last year and a half. We are now studying the John the Baptizer appearing on the scene, and the description of the Messiah and his mission.

    I think that it is in the order it's supposed to be in, but by studying it chronologically, you have to look at things differently.

    So, I guess what I'm saying is "both".
     

Share This Page

Loading...