The best resource we have to help us study God’s Word is His Word. Now, I love doing a wide variety of Bible and book studies and I have learned a lot from them. However, once I learned to do in-depth study of the Bible on my own I gained a lot deeper knowledge of God’s Word.
I wanted to share some of what I do during study time to help you learn to study deeper as well.
- As I read I try to identify the author, date, key words, locations, main individual or people group, purpose, and theme.
- I highlight or mark all the key words in my Bible.
- I try to locate any places mentioned in the text on the handy maps that you can find in most Bibles.
- I make note of all the main people discussed so that I can research them more later.
- To find the purpose and theme I read the text section (or preferably the whole book). Once I have an idea of what the whole section is about I go back through and try to answer the questions – Who, What, Why, Where, When, and How. (Anyone else having a flashback to English Lit 101). I may not be able to answer all these questions depending on my text selection but by answering as many as I can I gain a detailed picture of the theme and purpose of this section of God’s Word.
(ex. who wrote this, when did they write it, who were they writing to, why did they write it, where were they when they wrote it, what does the writer want us to understand, what were the people/person told to do, how did they respond).
- To help myself understand the text better I may try to summarize each paragraph, cross-reference individuals or themes, look up the original word and definition of my key words, or read the passage in different translations.
After I have dug as deep as I can on my own I consult commentaries or may choose a Bible study focused on that book of the Bible. I find these resources helpful especially in regards to understanding history and cultures.
If you have not tried to study the Bible this way I highly recommend trying it. A lot of people feel that they are not qualified to study the Bible without guidance but the Lord gave us everything we need when He gave us His Word, His Son (who died for our sins), and the Holy Spirit that lives in us!
How do you use the Bible to study the Bible? I love hearing how others are digging into Scripture. Are there certain questions you ask yourself as you read? Do you highlight a lot? Do you write out a bunch of notes? Do you use different translations? Please share helpful tips you have gained.