“All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
I have a confession. I am a Christ follower and have difficulty studying God’s word. I enjoy bible study groups and listening to others’ teachings, but find hardship in reading scriptures on my own and unraveling the message.
I enjoy reading books and generally don’t have an issue with understanding the plot, but I am intimidated by the pages of the Good Book. Why?
The bible has some beautiful stories nestled in the Old and New Testament with rich and infallible teachings and written in several different versions. I prefer the New International Version because of its simple, current English translation. I have wondered where to start in the bible and tried opening up at the beginning and going through page by page. Only to get stumped by the Chapter Numbers and asking myself “Am I pronouncing the names correctly?” I am determined to get to a comfortable level of studying the bible on my own. Below is an outline I have started using to achieve this personal goal.
PRAYER– My first act is to pray and ask for guidance in what I should be focusing on in the bible. Recently, God placed on my heart the word patience. Oh boy, this is a doozy for me. So in my quiet time, I have asked him to point me to specific scripture to study. I have compiled a list of scripture relating to patience and this is my current study.
PRACTICE– I start by writing the scripture down in my journal. I read over it a couple of times and then I research around the scripture. I want to know the background of the chapter such as who wrote it and to whom, what is the time frame, and what actions are being taken during this period. I use reference materials such as Bible Notes.net, a bible dictionary, and concordances. A concordance is a book which outlays the different words alphabetically and their contexts for easy reference. Another key component of my bible study is to make time daily. In focusing on opening my bible daily, creates a good habit of taking time and being still with God. To me, this is where my growth starts to get real.
PREVAIL-When I apply the first two steps I find I am becoming more effective in diving into the word and learning it through my eyes. It is the opportunity to commune with God and comprehend what the bible means to me. I know my relationship with God is deepening and gives me the confidence and ability to talk to others about what I ascertained from scripture.
Believe me, I am no expert on deciphering and teaching the meaning of the bible. I have found it less intimidating for myself to use the three steps above in my daily devotional time. I continue to go to bible study groups because I learn so much from those who are blessed to be teachers of the bible. For me, the combination of church, group bible study, and personal bible study has drawn me closer to God and understanding my purpose.
Would you be willing to share some of your bible study habits? Please post in the comments what you find most effective in your study time. Blessings!