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Friday, November 7, 2014

Steps to Effective Bible Study (Part 2)

In review of Matthew 4:4 it says, “Jesus answered, ‘It is written: “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Bottom Line:
In addition to food, we need every word that God has spoken.

What this means to me:
In the scriptures I am told (and Jesus has confirmed it) that I can not live only on food. I need to be obedient to every word that God speaks.

God wants me to apply his Word and then allow it to change my life. All of this starts by studying God’s Word. Yesterday I reviewed  two principles:

1. Ask the right questions.
2. Write down my observations.

Here are the others:

3. Apply God’s Word. In this step, I move from the “what” to the “so what” and do what the Bible says. The ultimate goal of all Bible study is application. In other words, how will this Scripture change my life? I am to not settle for understanding alone. I need to apply the biblical principles to my daily life. Any of my Bible study efforts won’t really have any value if, I don’t become more like Christ.

What I’m learning is that I will only believe the part of the Bible that I apply. If I don’t do them, then its like I don’t really believe what the Bible teaches about them. The problem isn’t with understanding, rather with applying what I understand.

4. Study the Bible systematically, not just haphazardly. I can study it systematically by studying it verse-by-verse, book-by-book, topic-by-topic, or theme-by-theme. The opposite is a sort of dip-and-skip method, where you just open up the Bible and put a finger down where you want to study. This may not produce the kind of results God wants in my life.

5. Read the Bible over and over again. This simple tool will change your life. It can be amazing how much I can get out of a passage just by studying the same passage over and over again and then coming back to the same passage a few months later. The more I read a passage, the more I’ll get out of it.

By applying these five principles I’ll get more out of my study time.

Honestly I find myself doing a more haphazard approach as I use as a springboard the “Daily Hope” daily devotional from Rick Warren for my quite time studies. This tends to be more topic based and jumps around from book to book, so I may not be getting the benefit of seeing a portion of scripture as a whole. I have however just started my last college class for my Bachelors degree and it happens to be a study in Exodus and Deuteronomy. This is a more concentrated study, verse by verse.  This course will go on for the rest of this year. This will give me a good re-introduction into this form of study. Starting next year, I’ll re-address how I do my quiet time studies and possibly adopt a different approach that is more verse by verse or book by book.