How To Personally Deepen Bible Study
Here are a few practical ways that you can deepen your experience of studying the Bible.
The lectio divina is an ancient four-step process of reading the Bible that helps you to liturgically walk through your Scripture reading each day. The four steps are as follows:
The Apostle Paul writes: âThese are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of Godââ.
The Apostle John writes: “Peace I leave with you my peace I give unto you.â
The Apostle John writes: âThis is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears usâ .
King David writes: âCease striving and know that I am God I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earthâ .
Use this exercise to give your spirit rails on which to run as you establish a daily habit of deepening your Bible study time.
How To Know The Bible Better Test
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Choose A Translation Of The Bible That Best Fits Your Needs
There are many English translations of the Bible. Some are more literal, word-for-word to the original languages the Bible was written in, but might not read as smoothly in English. Others are paraphrases and flow well in the English language, but you lose some of the richness of the original languages.
Choose a modern translation that aims for a good balance of accuracy and readability. Some of the popular translations include the NLT or the ESV.
I wrote an article that goes into a bit more detail about Bible translations: What Version of the Bible Is Easiest to Read . I explain the differences and share my recommendations.
One way to understand the Bible better is to read a different translation or two to supplement the one youre most used to. There are websites like Biblegateway that make looking at different translations very easy. I use one translation for my main reading Bible and look up the rest on my phone or computer.
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Go In With The Right Perspective
Although the Old Testament, with its strange and unfamiliar customs and rules, can feel irrelevant to modern life, it uniquely reveals much about who God is and the challenges we face in relating to Him. Many of these rules were given to specific people in specific situations. Some no longer apply .
If you mistakenly focus on the rules, you can miss the overarching story of God relating to humankind that culminates in the person and work of Jesus Christ. The Old Testaments customs and rules are part of that story and help you better understand and appreciate who Jesus is and what He did for us. Youll miss much in the New Testament if you have little to no grasp of the Old.
B No One Else Will Ever Go Beyond Jesus Christ
We live in the world of upgrades, where every product eventually become obsolete as we move on to the next model. No one ever upgrades on Jesus Christ! No one has ever gone beyond Jesus Christ, and no one ever willin this world or even in the world to come.
A man by the name of H. R. Mackintosh wrote this about Jesus, Never in any experience of God here or hereafter will you or I ever find anything that is not already there for us in Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh.
At the end of the Bible, John, who wrote this Gospel, was given a glimpse into heaven, a vision of the future. He saw the people of God gathered with great joy in the presence of the Lord with every tear wiped from their eyes, and he said, The Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them into springs of living water .
When parents take children to a theme park, the instinct of the children when they arrive is to run off and explore the ridesthe swings, the slides, or whatever else may be there. Heaven will not be like that.
When Gods people are in His presence, it is not that they are welcomed by Jesus Christ and then go running off to explore the celestial playground. Jesus Christ is the joy of his people in heaven. He is the center of it all. They never move beyond Him. Everything that Gods people enjoy forever comes from him, and no joy is theirs without Him.
There is no greater joy than to meet and to know Jesus.
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Tip #3 Read Without Any Chapter Or Verse References
I am not a fan of chapter and verse references in the Bible. Bible verses didnt even exist until about 1550, and chapters go back only to the 1200s. They can obscure the text and create artificial and sometimes inaccurate divisions.
Yes, chapter and verse references help us locate specific sentences and phrases quickly. But sometimes they do more harm than good. They lead many people to think of the Bible as a reference book that collects bullet-pointed verse-nuggets not as the literature that it really is.
So how do you read the Bible without any chapter or verse references? There are at least three options:
Take up and read a lot.
Tips For Studying The Old Testament
Reading the Old Testament is like trying to wrap your brain around a long, complicated movie. You need to read it over and over to catch and understand important details and see how they all fit together. The Old Testament provides a 2,500-year backstory to the New Testament, but because were so far removed from the customs, traditions and history it describes, it takes work to become familiar with them.
But the Old Testament isnt just a daunting book. It is 39 uniquely daunting books. Thats why many of us find one-year Bible reading plans such a challenge.
Many of us struggle to wade through the dense lists of commands, genealogies and prophecies in the Old Testament. So how do we apply any of it, let alone enjoy it?
We asked Dr. Mark Futato, professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, for his thoughts.
As Dr. Futato says, the Old Testament was written for our encouragement and instruction. So, as you read, ask and expect God to do both.
How To Read And Understand The Bible
Reading the Bible on your own is a great start to growing in your walk with Christ.
However, if you want to understand the Bible, you have to learn how to study the Bible.
Attending your local churches weekly bible study is a great place to start.
Bible studies are less formal than Sunday service. Usually, you can ask the Pastor or group leader questions and gain insight from other members of the congregation.
There are also ways to study the Bible on your own, but thats a topic for another day.
I hope answered all of your questions about the Bible and how to read it.
Dont forget to download a copy of my Bible Reading Plan for Beginners!
As always, remember to keep Jesus in the center of everything you do.
Your Sister in Christ,
Listen To An Audio Bible
For a lot of the churchs history, people listened to Gods Word instead of reading it. Sometimes it can be helpful to purchase an audio Bible, then take a walk and listen to the Bible instead of reading it. If you find that youre struggling through your daily reading, consider supplementing it with an audio Bible.
With the NIV 50th Anniversary app , you can read or listen to the full Bible textand its free!
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Memorize To Master The Bible
I used to think that it was better to have a lot of verses memorized, but in my effort to have as many verses as possible memorized, I had them memorized shallowly. I might have to struggle to get started, or get partway through a passage and have to paraphrase the rest. Now, I realize it is much better to have fewer verses memorized very deeplythat is where the power comes from. Rather than memorize a mile wide and an inch deep, it is better to memorize an inch wide and a mile deep. That is a key difference, because until we memorize verses deeply and spend time meditating on them, the truth of the passages does not seep deeply into our subconscious to influence our thoughts, attitudes, actions, and emotions.
When we memorize Scripture this deeply, it will often then jump into our minds as our first reaction to lifes circumstances, helping guide our decisions and influence our emotions. Even Jesus, when He was tempted by the devil in Matthew 4, quoted Scripture in response to the temptation. When we know Scripture well enough to quote it immediately in response to lifes challenges, the Bible begins to take on a power that it did not previously have in our life.
Memorize one verse so that you can say it without hesitation. Then, memorize another, but link it to the first. Then memorize a third one, but link it to the first two, and so on. Keep doing it the rest of your life. Pretty soon, your command of Scripture will be a mile wide and a mile deep.
Learning How To Read The Bible Can Be Fun And Enjoyable
PinPinBy 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!
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Know The Original Audience
Knowing the original audience of each book is enormously helpful for Bible study. It causes so many puzzle pieces to fall into place.
Take Galatians, for example. It was primarily to Gentiles who had been converted under Pauls ministry. These Gentiles were being harassed by Jews who said they needed to follow Jewish customs in order to be true Christians.
Knowing this simple fact sheds light on why Paul was so fired up about the seemingly weird subject of circumcision .
If you want to understand the Bible, understand the original audience.
Youll Discover That Some Questions Dont Need To Be Answered
As for those questions that dont seem to have clear-cut, direct answers, may we put them to rest in the knowledge that God alone understands all things and purposes everything according to his foreordained plans. Sections of books like Job, Isaiah, and Romans might lead us to ask, Why? But Scripture would simultaneously challenge us to submit our why? question to the established, known reality of who God is. What an opportunity as we traverse Scripture to humbly submit ourselves to God, who breathed out his Word so that we might know him better and learn to trust him more.
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Get Familiar With The Main Storyline
Its helpful to become familiar with the main message and the storyline of the Bible. The Bible is not a random collection of 66 books. There is a common thread, a storyline if you look at the big picture. If you have the big picture overview of the Bible, you can find out what part of the storyline youre at.
Its best to stick to the main and plain things in the Bible. The main idea and themes are very clear. The Bible was written over a period of 1600 years and the main theme is unveiled over that entire time. Its not necessary to make it more complicated than it is. Its possible to read the Bible for years and still not have the big-picture overview of the Bible.
If you stick to the main message of the Bible, itll keep you from getting lost in the details. The details can be fascinating because every verse of the Bible is useful and meaningful . You can literally spend years studying the details and still learn new things.
Getting lost in too many details can be frustrating, especially in the beginning. Its easy to get stuck on one verse, or even one word and miss the main point and the big picture.
The Bible is meant to be understood by ordinary people. Remember that the whole point of the Bible is that God wants to communicate with you. The main things in the Bible are the plain things and the plain things are usually the main things.
|The two main sections of the Bible are the Old Testament and the New Testament.|
Vi Memorizing God’s Word
The value and importance of memorizing God’s Word can perhaps best beseen in Jesus’ confrontation with Satan, Turn to Matthew 4 and read verses1-11.
B. How will you overcome Satan’s temptations?After 24 hours, you may accurately remember:
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Why The Bible Is Hard To Understand
âHe writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destructionâ .
When you introduce difference, you introduce confusion. We have a hard enough time making sense of our own intentions. Understanding those of others can be even more difficult.
The distance between the Bible and our 21st century experience is enormous. There are many obstacles to understanding these ancient texts correctly. We are historically, personally, theologically, chronologically, culturally, and geographically removed from the Bibleâs authors.
How To Read The Bible: Just Get Started
Once you get started, it is easy to expand your efforts. The key is just to start! That way, it will help prepare you for the next major issue that rocks your boat on the sea of life. You will be way ahead of the game in dealing with it.
If you commit yourself to this four-step process, you will begin to master the Bible so well that the Bible begins to master you. And as the Bible begins to master you, you will enjoy the inner peace, love, and joy that is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. In addition, you will experience a peace and power in life and ministry that the Holy Spirit gives to those who meditate on and practice His Word.
Taken from 30 Days to Understanding the Bible by Max Anders. Copyright © 1988, 1994, 1998, 2004, and 2018 by Max Anders. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. www.thomasnelson.com.
About the Author: Dr. Max Anders is the author of over 25 books including 30 Days to Understanding the Bible. He has taught on the college and seminary level and is a veteran pastor. Max was also one of the original team members with Walk Thru the Bible Ministries. He provides resources and discipleship strategies at MaxAnders.com to help people grow spiritually.
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Read A Single Book Multiple Times
Sometimes it can be immensely helpful to immerse yourself in a single book for an extended period of time.
I remember hearing pastor Mike Bullmore say that there was a lengthy period when he went through the book of Psalms repeatedly for the health of his soul.
Diving way deep into a single book allows you to pick up nuances you would never get on a single pass. It forces you to grapple with the logical arguments of the author and pushes you to a more thorough understanding.
As you read 2 Corinthians again and again, youll start to understand why it mattered so much to Paul when God said, My grace is sufficient for you.