Sharing Your Faith With Grace And Purpose
You can confidently and lovingly share your faithyou just need to learn some new tactics to do so! In this Focus on the Family Daily Broadcast, apologist Greg Koukl outlines the Columbo tactic of asking questions, the self-defeating argument tactic to find holes in your opponents arguments, and other specific methods for engaging in faith-building conversations with others. Greg pulls from his over 30 years of experience debating atheists and agnostics to help you share your faith with grace and truth.
Example Bible Verse Study
I found definitions for rejoice, hope, patient, tribulation, constant, and prayer. I wrote out the context that this verse is written in. I circled the repeated word in. I looked up similar verses through the cross-reference and other verses I have learned about. I wrote what stood out to me the start of each line has a command statement like be. I wrote what I had learned from the words, for example, for hope I wrote God gives us the hope through Jesus Christ. And for tribulation I wrote that it transforms and refines us. And then I wrote the meaning/message of this verse.
Its Ok To Say I Dont Know
The Bible is a heavy-duty book about an all-powerful God with infinite perspective. There will likely be passages that are hard to understand, at least at first. Rest assured God understands, and Hes on this journey with you. If you come across a section of the Bible that leaves you befuddled, take notes. Write down your questions, your concerns, even your fears regarding those verses. Then move onits OK!
While much of the Bible complements itself in piecing together its overarching truths, you dont need to understand every verse right away, as youre reading through. The Bible isnt a novel that requires you to understand everything in chapter one in order to make sense of chapter 2. In fact, its even recommended to set one story or section aside for further study, then continuing to study the rest. Just remember to come back to it later.
Also, God will answer your prayers for clarity and understanding about your Bible study, even if it takes some time or growth first. Patience pays off in studying the Bible. Clarity may come in a day, in a year, or through an experience. Gods timing is perfect, and He knows the best way you will learn each principle of the Bible.
Consider the prophet and statesman Daniel, while studying a specific prophecy became anxious, troubled, and confusedbut he didnt give up. Instead, he was consistent and persistent in praying and God gave him the understanding he was searching for.
Read Also: Chronical Order Of The Bible
All You Need To Do Is Start
Just like any significant undertaking, sometimes the planning and the anticipation is more intense than the project itself!
Armed with these 7 steps of preparation, however, all you need to do now is begin your study. By starting with prayer and seeking out tools and resources as you need them, youll make progress in your knowledge of Gods Word and in getting to know your personal Savior, Jesus Christ.
The only way to go is up!
Find A Quiet Place To Do Your Study
Bible study requires a quiet environment so that you can focus on what you are reading. God also speaks to you as you read His Word. Look for a quiet place in the house where you can study the Bible. Use your bedroom if it is quiet, and has some privacy. You can also go to a room in the house where there are no distractions or interruptions. Take your New Testament, or the Old Testament if that is where you are at. Even a Bible dictionary may help you understand what Jesus teaches.
Some people prefer the outdoors, and if you are one of them, you can use your yard or find a nice quiet place with sitting space. When you read the gospels, you will see that Jesus often went to a quiet place to pray . He knew the importance of spending time with His Father away from the crowds.
Recommended Reading: How Many Verses Are In The Book Of Psalms
Note Big Theological Concepts
I also note big ideas that stand out to me theologically.
For example, many Jewish people walked around Samaria because of their disdain for Samaritans, so when the Bible says that Jesus had to walk through Samaria, it doesnt mean geographically maybe its because he knew he had to meet the Samaritan woman to give her this new beginning.
So what that teaches me is that God will out of His way, into the darkest places, to meet people and offer them rebirth.
Look Up The Word In Its Original Language
The next thing you want to do is to look at the definition of the word in its original language. I recommend Blue Letter Bible for this. You can watch this video for a quick tutorial on how to use this tool for a Bible word study online or as a Bible word study app.
Some other things you want to note as you look at the word in its original language:
- What part of speech is it?
- How many times is that word used in the Bible?
- What are some examples of other related words?
Also Check: Order Of Bible
Write Out Verses From The Bible
Writing out a verse or several verses makes you slow down and think about the Scripture. It can give you a different perspective on the verse than just reading it alone.
Write it in your own handwriting. It can be on a lined sheet of paper. You can also get creative and write it in a different pattern. You can get colorful if you want to. You can doodle a little bit and draw small pictures if it helps you process the verse.
As you write the verse, ask yourself:
Read the passage out loud several times. Try reading it slowly. Try reading it quickly to get a sense of the structure. Read it again as many times as youd like.
I didnt include journaling as a separate way to study the Bible because that can apply to any of these different ways to study the Bible. But, a journal would be a great place to keep these.
Take the journal or paper you wrote the Scripture on and look at it throughout the day. You can take a photo with your phone and set a reminder during your lunch break to look at it. Think about the verse and how you can apply it to your life.
To take it a step further, you can paraphrase or summarize the verse or passage in your own words. This makes you process and ask what the verse means even further.
How To Do A Bible Word Study
I love a good Bible word study! They are great for helping us gain a deeper understanding of what the scriptures are saying.
We are living in times when truth does not like to be defined. Many things that were once considered right or wrong and black and white have now taken on a shade of gray. Its important for us to know how to discern and search out the truth laid out for us in Gods Word so that we are equipped to identify what is truth and what isnt as we go about our daily lives.
This post contains affiliate links. See my full disclosure for more details.
Word studies are an important part of how we properly know and study the Bible for ourselves.
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Should I Study The Bible Every Day
The second reason I share that story is because my mental response to my teacher was you mean you expect me to study the Bible every single day?
At the time, that seemed overwhelming and it still can be at times. But honestly, the days that I seem to have a greater joy, peace and connection to my purpose are the days I have spent time with God.
I feel most at home when I am in Gods Word and although my trials might not change I have greater peace in the midst of them because Scripture reminds me of where my hope lies.
Man does not live on bread alone but by every Word that comes from the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4
How To Read The Bible
Reading the bible consists of reading the Bible as a whole and understanding it. The Bible should be read slowly, at least two or three verses each day in order to fully grasp its meaning. As you are reading stop every now and then to think about what you just read ask questions such as what does this mean? and how do these words
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My Favorite Online Commentary
Perhaps my favorite commentary is one that is free online called Dr. Constables Expository Bible Study Notes.
Dr. Constables Notes, authored by Dr. Thomas L. Constable, provide commentary on all 66 books of the Bible and contain over 12,000 pages of material in PDF format. Dr. Constable taught at Dallas Theological Seminary for 45 years, and served as the Chairman of its Bible Exposition department for 13 years. He now spends most of his time upgrading these notes. They are a wealth of information and he makes them very easy to understand and apply.
You can access all of his notes by clicking here:
Other Bible Study Commentaries I Enjoy Using:
- This site gives recommendations on the best commentaries for each book of the bible
- These are excellent and great for beginners in Bible Study but I also know many pastors that use them.
- These are a little more exegetical and technical.
Choose A Topic Relevant To You
Is there a topic youre curious about? Grace, repentance, forgiveness, or strength during trials? Look up specific verses on any topic you choose and study each of them. You can also start with the resources found on ChurchofJesusChrist.org, which list common topics and related scripture verses. You can then use the linked words to expand your study.
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A Deeper Understanding Of The Bible
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
The goal of Bible study is not just to gain greater knowledge but to apply the truths of the Bible to everyday life.
For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. James 1:23-24
The reason we study Scripture is so we can apply it. With every insight we learn from Gods Word, we should prayerfully consider how it should be applied in our own lives. Not allowing Gods Word to result in action is as unnatural as looking in a mirror and quickly forgetting what you look like according to James 1.
So no matter where you are in your journey, set a daily appointment with God. Then commit to spend time every day studying the Word.
How To Study The Bible: Background
When you start to study a chapter of the Bible, do some background study of the book. If you have a study Bible like this one , you can look in the notes at the beginning of the book or you can go to my favorite online commentary: Dr. Constables Expository Bible Study Notes
Find out who wrote the book, its purpose, its context in history, the date it was written and any other pertinent background information.
Here is how we would apply background study to Psalm 46:1-11:
Daily Quiet Time Bible Study
These daily online studies are adapted from our Quiet Time Bible Guide. The studies go through the Old and New Testaments in just over two years. The approach taken by our quiet time Bible studies does not include answers. The goal of the study is to help you dig into Scripture for yourself. You can go deeper using a commentary, Bible background guide or Bible handbook.
Begin Your Study With Prayer
No matter when or where you study, it is always a good idea to begin your study with sincere prayer. Start by addressing God. Then ask Him for wisdom and understanding as you read. Ask for specific guidance to your life. When youre done, end your prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. Praying before we study shows God that we are humble and want His help and direction.
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What If I Have No Knowledge Of The Bible
Thats absolutely fine! God is absolutely thrilled that you want to spend time studying His Word. You can get Bible tabs to help you find your way in Gods Word. Dont forget that there is a table of contents with page numbers. Although I have been to seminary, I was not at all familiar with the story of Hezekiahs victory over the Assyrians in 2 Kings. So, what you dont know you can find with your cross references and with commentaries.
How To Get The Most Out Of Gods Word: Bible Study For Beginners
Dont let intimidation prevent you from learning how to study the Bible in-depth! Just apply these simple steps with my free inductive bible study guide!
Maybe you are a new believer or maybe you have been in church all your life but dont know how easy it is to dive into Gods Word with inductive Bible study methods. Here are some simple steps that are simple to follow in order to get the most out of your Bible study time, making it the richest part of your day!
Read Also: What Is The Chronological Order Of The Bible
Where Should I Start In Bible Study
You can start anywhere in the Bible but I would recommend starting with a shorter book like 1 Thessalonians, Philippians, Colossians or 1 and 2 Timothy. James is one of my favorite books so thats also a great place to begin. You might also like to try the Gospels first : Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
I chose an Old Testament passage as a sample for our inductive Bible study to show you how easy it is to get background information from commentaries.
What Is A Manuscript Study
A manuscript study is an engaging, challenging, and fun way to learn and understand the bible. It is an interactive way to read and study the various passages within the bible.
Manuscript simply means an original document or piece of writing. In this case a manuscript will refer to books or passages from the bible.
A manuscript will be typed, double spaced with wide margins, have no paragraphs, and must be single sided. The more white space on a page the better. This allows for optimal space for writing notes, questions, and other thoughts or ideas. There are no headings, and usually no chapters or verses. Verses may or may not be marked, but I find it more useful to erase all other distractions and have a clean page of text.
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Find A Version Of The Bible You Can Understand
Theres no point in studying the Bible if you cant understand its basic language. Thats why its crucial for you to find a version you are comfortable with. Some recommend actual study Bibles, but keep in mind the Holy Spirit is powerful enough to give you insight and wisdom while using any version of the Bible.
Whichever version you use, its important to educate yourself on the different versions available. Test out passages in different versions as see which ones you can best relate to.
Based on research done by the Seventh-day Adventists Biblical Research Institute, these 4 versions are recommended for accuracy and readability for the English language:
- New King James Version
- New American Standard Bible
Milk Chocolate A Close Translation That Is Easily Understandable For Modern Readers
ESV A translation that tries to combine literal translation with being easy to understand in everyday modern English. This translation is common with mainline protestant communities.
NIV A translation that tries to combine literal translation with being easy to understand in everyday modern English. This translation is common with evangelical communities.
HCSB A translation that tries to combine literal translation with being easy to understand in everyday modern English. This translation is common with evangelical communities.
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Learning How To Read The Bible Can Be Fun And Enjoyable
By the way, if youre truly interested in learning how to study the Bible for beginners, Id love to invite you to check out my brand new book: Fall in Love with Gods Word: Practical Strategies for Busy Women!
Practical, encouraging, and full of biblical truth, Fall in Love with Gods Word has everything you need to learn how to:
- Overcome 7 common obstacles preventing you from spending time in Scripture
- Discover the personalized Bible-reading routine that works for YOU
- Learn 15 easy ways to make studying the bible for beginners more meaningful and enjoyable
- Use Scripture to conquer sin, false beliefs, and negative thought patterns
- Experience fresh spiritual growth and passion for Gods Word.
Please visit Amazon.com or your local bookstore to learn more and grab your copy of Fall in Love with Gods Word today!