How is your personal Bible Study life?
And talking about “study”, I mean “devoting time and attention to gain knowledge about a subject.”
This is the Bible Study pattern we’ll be discussing today.
Do you consult the Bible to gain knowledge about various issues of life?
As Christians, we believe the Bible is our guide… A lamp to our feet and light to our path.
But sometimes, when faced with life’s questions, you wonder how to dig in and dig up answers from the ocean of verses buried in that sacred book.
I encountered such times as I grew in my Christian faith. In my search for answers to ideas and philosophies sold to us by our culture, I needed to find God’s opinion. Not just believing things because “my parents said…” or “my pastor said…”
Of course, you should listen to your godly leaders and parents. But a time comes when you need to own the truth yourself. Else, any wind of doctrine will easily sway you.
In this post, I’ll share with you some basic steps I take when I need to study God’s word – in search for answers to questions. And that happens often. Because littered on the field of life lays many questions begging for answers.
That’s why the Bible enjoins us to, “Search the scriptures…” (John 5:39)
Here are five steps you can apply when studying a subject in the bible:
1. Pray and Seek The Spirit’s Guidance
God promised to give us the Holy Spirit who will teach us all things and bring all things to our remembrance (John 14: 26). So the number one contact to make when in search of answers is God, and He’ll speak to you through the Holy Spirit.
The Spirit may drop a verse for you to read, direct you to turn on a message and listen, direct you to a Spirit-inspired book, or remind you of a Bible text or sermon you listened to some time ago.
So, seek God first, and always.
2. Have a Regular Bible Reading Plan:
Let me just give you one out of countless examples of how this works for me.
In 2013, when there was this enormous story of people dying and coming back with “revelations from above”, I walked into an office and met a lady with this long list of do’s and don’ts to obey if you will get to heaven – given by those were said to have died and come back to life.
One was about my hair. I plaited my hair, and in her list, they termed it as “sinful”. Meaning… I wouldn’t get to heaven for plating my hair.
I walked away a bit disturbed, asking God to make this entire story clear.
“God, you mean I’ve been your child all these years, and You didn’t tell me this hair will drag me to hell?”
Then I got home, sat on my bed with my Bible, wondering where to go for answers.
Unsure, I turned to the next chapter on my reading plan: 1 John 2.
I kept reading… until I got to a place that made me jump on my bed with “yes, Lord!” flying out of my lips.
But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him.
(1 John 2:27)
God had spoken. Peace filled my heart. I prayed and danced away with my pretty hair. (Smiles)
Reading the Bible daily is more than just for regularity sake. God is Sovereign. He’s in your tomorrow before you get there, and He plans to meet your spiritual need each day. And on that day.
3. Bible Concordance:
You find a concordance on the last pages of your bible. It gives a list of most keywords in the Bible and where to find them.
Let’s pick a word to work with:
You want to find out what the Bible says about forgiveness.
In your Bible concordance, you’ll find different references to “forgiveness”. You can pick it one after the other or select the one that suits what you’re looking for (depending on the purpose of the search) and then get into your Bible and study it… As the Spirit interprets it to your spirit.
The depth of concordance varies for different Bibles, so invest in a good one for your study.
4. Bible Cross-references:
These are related references found at the center of each page of your bible or at the end of each verse – depending on the bible you’re using. (I’ll use the center reference to illustrate here.) They are very helpful Bible study tips as you search for answers to questions.
There, you find various verses connected to most of the verses on that Bible page.
Example – for Matthew 6:14, you’ll see a superscript letter “a”. That tells us the corresponding letter for the center reference of that part of the text. (Some verses have over one superscript letter – showing different portions of the text to be checked up in the center reference. While number superscript means an interpretation a word or phrase is noted in the center.)
Back to Matthew 6:14. Now go to that middle rowa, search, and find where 6:14 is. You’ll see that same letter superscript “a”, and a text (or texts) next to it. For 6:14, we find Mark 11:25. Turn to that verse and you’ll find it has something more to say about the topic at hand – forgiveness. You can as well check the center reference of Mark 11:25 and keep studying.
This is a very interesting thing to do as you study the Bible, even if you’re not studying a particular topic. Maybe you get to a passage and you want to find out more about its meaning and/or significance.
Cross-reference. Dig deeper. And you’ll come out stronger and higher.
5. Bible commentary:
These are explanatory texts written by some Bible scholars. They could be very helpful in gaining a broader view of the text or subject you’re studying.
Bible commentaries can give both historical, contextual, and applications of various portions of the bible.
But it’s always advisable to read, study and meditate first before diving into commentaries. Exercise your spiritual muscles. Then find out more from commentaries. There are lots of them, but I love and use some such as Matthew Henry, Dake, Charles Spurgeon. There are E-versions and even apps for some of these commentaries.
Other Bible resources I find really helpful include:
- You version bible app. I guess you know and have this. With this app, you can read different bible versions. I’m a King James person. And I also love the Message and Amplified version. You can also get different bible reading plans, bible study plans, highlight memorable passages, get daily memory verses…and a whole lot more.
- Holy Bible concordance: This is great for studying the bible. You can search for any keyword and have verses containing it pop up tons of cross-references. It also has feature like – daily devotionals, Strong’s number (links you to each Greek/Hebrew word and meaning), and a lot more. Go to your playstore or appstore to download. A great asset!
- Websites – You can visit these sites to get commentaries, messages or some historical background of different bible passages. Example – bible study tools, Blue letter bible, bible hub, bible gateway.
The blessings that come with studying and understanding God’s word yourself can’t be over-emphasized. It saves you from drowning in error and confusion.
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth
2 Tim 2:15
What’s that question or concern you need answers to?
Before you jump out to look for a friend or counselor to ask, get into the bible first. Apply the steps above.
The Bible is more up-to-date than tomorrow’s newspaper.
— Charles Spurgeon.