The Bible was written thousands of years ago and yet, it is a timeless book that contains the answers to all life’s fundamental questions.
The Bible is known to be the best-selling book of all time. It has been translated into virtually all the major languages in the world. Billions of copies have been produced and it has been distributed to every corner of the globe.
As this might be the case, the Bible is also the most controversial and misunderstood book.
For most people, they barely open their Bible. Most Bibles are just sitting in a forgotten place in their homes collecting dust.
However, if you really want to become a highly effective Christian, you need to read the word of God.
If prayer is about you talking to God, then Bible study is letting God talking to you.
Therefore, if we are going to establish a strong and intimate relationship with God, Bible study is an indispensable element in our Christian walk.
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What is the Bible?
The word Bible literally means a collection of books. Though it was written by men, the real Author of the Bible is God. We can read in II Timothy 3:16-17:
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
The Greek word for ‘inspiration’ here means “God-breathed.”
The written words in your Bible are actually breathed out from God. It is the very mind of God. The Bible is the revealed word of God and it is through this book that we are able to know the road to eternal life.
Why Study the Bible?
Many people assume that the Bible is simply a great literary work by some obscure group of individuals.
They believe that it is nothing but a collection of fables, fallacies, and legends. As hard as skeptics may try to attack the Bible, it does not change anything. The Bible remains to be the Word of God.
So why study the Bible?
After all, it was written thousands of years ago?
Is it still relevant for us, Christians, today?
The answer is a resounding YES!
If there is one book that you should read from cover to cover, then it should be the Bible.
God’s love is so great that He does not leave us clueless to how to live this life. He gave us the Bible as an instruction manual.
It is the most excellent book that can show us how to live a more fulfilling, blessed, and holy life. Above all, the Bible teaches us how to live a pleasing life today for us to be part of God’s family in the future.
The Bible is the Book of books! We don’t have to experiment and see what works and what’s not. God has already revealed to us how to live this life. God’s way of life is perfect and you cannot improve something that’s already perfect.
Make no mistake about it; you can NEVER be a genuine Christian without habitually reading the Bible.
Sure, there are “Christians” who profess to be one, but their words are not enough to prove their claim.
It is through studying the Bible and applying its principles that we can truly be called the sons and daughters of God!
Studying the Bible is not just a request or something we just do when we feel like it.
Studying God’s word is a COMMAND!
Jesus Christ tells us, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY WORD that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).
The Bible is the foundation of all truths.
The chaos and mess that we see right now in our society are the direct results of forgetting what the Bible say about how we should live our lives.
People throw away God and His word and simply do as they please or do the things that seem to be right in their own eyes.
When we lose our sight to Biblical truths, we will all lose our way. We simply can’t live this life without the guidance of God.
Therefore, if you really want to know the will and purpose of God for your life, you need to READ the Bible.
If you want to know how to live this life, no other book can teach you that. It is only the living word of God that will completely transform you.
How to Study the Bible?
Now that we know how important it is for us to study the Bible, the question now is, “How to study the Bible?”
While millions of people are reading the Bible, it is undeniable that not all have the ability to comprehend it.
Some people have a hard time understanding the Bible that they give up trying and think that it is beyond comprehension.
Perhaps, you are one of them and you want to know more about the Bible.
Understanding the Bible is crucial for every Christian.
A true understanding of the Bible is needed to know the will and purpose of God and to develop a closer relationship with Him.
For this reason, let us take a look at some of the keys that will help us understand the Bible correctly.
Pray for God’s inspiration and guidance
before you even open your Bible and study it, you need to pray for understanding and this understanding MUST come from God. Bear in mind that God is the author of the Bible and if there’s only one Being who can explain it to us, it is God. Never commit the mistake of thinking that you can understand the Bible on your own. You need God’s divine guidance.
Let the Bible interpret itself
Skeptics are quick to find fault in God’s divine word. While it is true that there are parts of the Bible that are hard to understand and confusing – and may even seem contradictory – we can have the STRONGEST confidence that it can be explained.
We need to let the Bible interpret itself. In this case, it is helpful to start with CLEAR biblical passages to shed light on those passages that might be difficult to understand.
Remember this important principle: scriptural passages do not contradict each other, but rather they complement each other.Tweet
Know the context of the passage
taking scripture out of context is one of the most common mistakes Bible students commit. To learn the true intent of the Bible, it must be taken within the context. This means reading the verses before and after it, and even reading the whole chapter and using other verses to support a claim.
Know the historical background of a certain passage
Sometimes, taking into consideration the historical context of a passage will shed more light on a topic.
Know the original words used
If you want to know the meaning of a particular word in the Bible, you need to know the original words used.
The original Bible manuscripts are dominantly written in Hebrew and Greek languages. The most popular dictionary that you can use is the Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries.
Rightly divide the word
The Apostle Paul admonished Timothy to rightly divide the word of God (II Timothy 2:15). Dividing the word means studying the Bible by topics. It is helpful to concentrate on one topic at a time rather than jumping from one topic to another.
Read the whole Bible
Again, if there’s one book that you should read from cover to cover, it must be the Bible. There a lot of ways to read the Bible within a year. You can find some helpful resources to accomplish this on the Internet.
Compare different translations
There are different versions of the Bible and methods of translating it. There are three ways the Bible can be translated. This can be a literal rendering of each word, thought-for-thought translation, and paraphrasing.
It is very important that you start reading the Bible using a translation that uses a literal rendering. This is the closest (but not perfect) translation and example of this is the New and Old King James Versions.
The other types of translations can be used to easily understand a portion of the Bible.
Use Bible study aids
There are a lot of helpful Bible study aids that you can use. Bible commentaries, books, dictionaries, concordance, lexicons, maps, and devotionals are useful in pointing out different aspects of a particular topic.
However, you need to remember that they are just guides or aids written by men. So there is always the chance that they can be wrong.
You may also want to read, “The 50 Best Bible Study Tools That will Transform your Life.” It’s a great place for you start searching for the right tools for you.
These are just some of the important keys you need to remember when studying the Bible. When you keep these in mind, you will have a better chance of comprehending the Bible in such a way that God intended it to be.
How to develop a consistent habit of studying the Bible
Studying the Bible is not a one-time event. There are a lot to learn from the Bible that even a lifetime is not enough to FULLY comprehend everything.
Personally, the more I learn things in the Bible, the more I realize how little I know!
The Bible is like a goldmine. There are a lot of gold nuggets hidden within its pages. Some can readily be found while others need to be dug deeper. We need to explore the Bible to truly appreciate the lessons we need to learn.
This is the main reason that we need to develop the habit of reading the Bible. Not just when we feel like it, but in a consistent manner.
We need to set our priorities right and reading God’s word is part of seeking FIRST God’s Kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).
We can’t expect ourselves to grow spiritually without reading God’s word. Therefore, it is imperative that we invest enough time in meditating upon the Bible.
So how can we really develop the habit of studying the Bible?
First, we need to create a schedule. Ideally, we need to read the Bible as often as we can. However, with a vague concept of when you should read the Bible, you might quickly forget or lose track of your progress. For this reason, you need to create a schedule and stick to it.
The perfect time to read the Bible is in the morning together with your prayer.
Usually, we are most energetic, fresh, and alert during our waking moments. The best way to spend this time is to read God’s word. Perhaps, you can read your Bible while you are having your morning coffee.
In addition to this, it is advisable that we read and meditate on the word of God before we sleep. This is an effective way to “sandwich” our lives in God’s word.
Next, you need to find a right place to study the Bible. Like in prayer, you need to decrease the distractions around you when you read the scripture.
We can let the Holy Spirit inspire us more when we give 100% of our focus in studying the Bible. Ideally, a room dedicated to God is the perfect place. Sometimes, there can be a lot of distractions even in our bedroom.
In the aim of developing this godly habit, you can seek the help of others. This can be your spouse, brothers, sisters, family members, relatives, and church friends.
Having someone to encourage us or hold us accountable can strongly motivate us to persist in our Bible Study habit.
Use a daily Bible reading plan or guide. Usually, this will give a structure on how you can spend each Bible reading session. There are a lot of guides and plans readily available on the Internet today. You will be surprised how these resources can help you in establishing the habit of Bible Study.
Finally, be consistent. Some psychologists agree that for a habit to form, you need at least 66 days.
Whatever the case, the point is clear: consistency is crucial. When you start compromising with your schedule, you will soon find yourself farther and farther from your goal.
When you feel like giving up, remember the reason you started on this noble Christian endeavor.
Sometimes, we just have to look back and be reminded of why we are doing something. Most of the time when we do this, we find the additional strength to carry on.
Apply what you learned
The main aim of studying the Bible is to learn God’s principle in living this life. We want to know how we can be pleasing to God and fulfill His will and purpose.
We are not studying the Bible just to obtain academic knowledge. All the things that we learn will boil to NOTHING if we don’t apply them.
We are not Christians because of the things that we know, but how much of that Biblical knowledge we are using in our daily lives.
Studying the Bible and establishing the habit of consistently reading it is no doubt difficult. This is especially true when you are just starting.
Don’t lose heart.
Never give up because God sees the heart and our desire to learn. We might fail from time to time, but the important thing is we don’t give up.
There’s no better time to start reading the Bible than TODAY.
Decide to read the Bible and make it a habit.
Above all, start applying what you learned in your life. With this, you can now become a highly effective Christian!