All Christians should be studying their Bible. Bible study is a lifelong pursuit, an enjoyable endeavor that does not end until we close our eyes in the sleep of death. Growing in our knowledge of God’s Word will increase our faith, Romans 10:17. Bible study is to be a major part of our lives and as such, I offer some thoughts on Bible study.
- I Recommend Getting a Good Bible. Not only should it be a reliable translation (the King James Version and the American Standard Version are the two most accurate in my view), but I also mean a good quality Bible. I developed a preference for wide margin Bibles early in my Christian life. However, the one I purchased initially was bonded leather. After 5 years I had to have it rebound. I have replaced it now with a good quality leather bound Bible. If you want your Bible to last for years of longer use, a good quality Bible is important.
- Decide A Specific Time for Bible Study and Develop a Habit. The time you choose to study daily will vary from person to person. One may prefer to study shortly after arising before beginning their day in earnest. Some study at lunch time at work. Some prefer the quiet time of the evening to wind down from the day in Bible study. Whatever time you choose, make it a habit. We develop good habits and we develop bad habits. Bad habits are hard to break, but so are good ones. The world will try to crowd into your life and crowd out your Bible study time. Be firm in your resolve to study your Bible and resist anything that would take you away from that time in your day.
- Be Systematic in Bible Study. A person decided to study their Bible and not knowing how to begin decided to let their Bible just fall open and pick a verse at random and see what they would learn. Letting their Bible fall open and picking a verse at random, they pointed at 1 Samuel 31:6, “And Saul died…” Well they said to themselves, I learned that Saul died. The next day they decided to try their “method” again and let the Bible fall open, pointed at a verse, and read Acts 9:26, “And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples…” Shutting their Bible the person exclaimed “I can’t understand the Bible. At one point it has Saul dead, then later has him going into Jerusalem”. This humorous illustration (I thought it was humorous anyway) points to the fact that if we just jump from one chapter to another, this method will not increase our understanding of the Bible. Choose a book of the Bible to study, or a topic, or a character (could it be the Saul’s in our illustration was not the same person?). Read the Bible through or the New Testament through. Bible study is much more effective if an orderly method is used.
- Take Notes. Keep a notepad next to your Bible when you study. Write down any questions that may arise so you can go back to them at some point. Do this as you study as you may forget what your question was. Your spouse, Bible class teacher, elder, preacher, or a good commentary can help you with the answers.
- Make Bible Study a Priority. In our daily life of “to do lists”, don’t put Bible study at the bottom. If we really want to know the will of the Lord, if we want to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18), and increase in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10) we will put daily Bible study at the top of our daily to do list.
-Jerry D. Sturgill