How To Study The Bible
Learning how to study the Bible is the number one key to staying on fire for God.
Interesting Facts About The Bible
The Bible as we know it today is over 1600 years old, written by 40 authors across three continents and in three languages. Depending on your translation, the Bible contains:
- 773,692 words.
- 31,173 verses.
- 1189 chapters.
- 3,566,480 letters.
- 1260 promises.
- 6468 commands.
- Over 8000 prophesies.
- 3294 questions.
- 1845 references to Christ’s second coming in the Old Testament and 318 in the New Testament.
What Is The Bible?
This Book is the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveller’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s character. Here paradise is restored, Heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed. Christ is its grand subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. Follow its precepts and it will lead you to Calvary, to the empty tomb, to a resurrected life in Christ, yes, to glory itself for eternity.Unknown Author
The Bible is like a telescope. If a man looks through his telescope he sees worlds beyond but if he looks at his telescope, he does not see anything but that.” The Bible is a thing to be looked through to see that which is beyond, but most people only look at it and so they see only the dead letter.Philip Brooks
The Bible is the window into the supernatural realm: the realm of the Spirit, who God is and of truth. Men do not reject the Bible because it contradicts itself but because it contradicts them.
Five Symbols Of The Bible
- Light (Psalm 119:105). God’s Word brings illumination and revelation. It reveals the truth about Jesus, and this truth sets men free (John 8:31-32).
- Water (Ephesians 5:25-27). Water brings cleansing, and the Word of God can act in this way in your life.
- Seed (Luke 8:4-15). Its purpose is to bring growth and fruitfulness into the lives of those who hear and receive it.
- Fire and Hammer (Jeremiah 23:29). The fire purges and the hammer breaks. We all need to be purified and broken by God’s Word.
- Honey (Psalm 19:7-11). Honey is used to promote healing. It is a soothing balm that turns bitterness into sweetness and pain into healing.
Five Benefits Of The Bible
1. The Bible reveals Jesus, (John 5:39).
2. Helps us conquer sin, (Psalm 119:11).
3. As a sword is to a soldier, so the Bible is to the believer (Ephesians 6:17).
4. Increases our faith, (Romans 10:17).
5. Guarantees us a successful life, (Joshua 1:8).
The Bible Is Your Daily Manna
In the Old Testament, God fed Israel in the wilderness with manna. They ate that manna every single day for 40 years. I want to show you 10 comparisons between the manna in the Old Testament and the Holy Bible that you and I have today.
1. It was bread from Heaven (Exodus 16:4; Numbers 11:9; Psalms 78:23-24; 105:40).
2. Manna was miracle bread (Exodus 16:7).
3. It was the bread that God had given them to eat (Exodus 16:15). The Word of God is the food that God has given us to sustain our lives.
4. It came to where the people were (Exodus 16:14). The Word of God is accessible. We really do not have to go far to get it. In addition, the Word of the Lord is able to meet us where we are. If we are babes, it is milk. If we are more mature, it is meat.
5. The manna was to be gathered daily (Exodus 16:4).
6. It had to be gathered in the morning (Exodus 16:11-12).
7. It could not be stored for another day (Exodus 16:20). Yesterday’s Word is insufficient to meet the challenges of the new day. We must have fresh experiences in the Word to keep ourselves alive spiritually.
8. That which was kept in the ark endured forever (Exodus 16:33-34; Hebrews 9:4). The Word that we hide in our hearts and make a part of our lives will stay with us forever.
9. It was to be eaten throughout their wilderness wanderings (Exodus 16:35). As long as we live on this planet, we need the Word of God.
10. Sadly, it was often despised by God’s people (Numbers 11:4-6; 21:5-6). They experienced a miracle every day. Unfortunately, it became commonplace and they took it for granted. They wanted something more exciting. May we never take God’s Word for granted in our lives.
The Bird Is After The Book
In Matthew 13:18-19, during the parable of the sower, Jesus let us know that the devil is out to distract Christians from being in the Word of God. There are two main ways the devil operates as the bird:
- He distracts your attention: The enemy can’t stop the Word from producing fruit once it finds residence in your heart, but he can stop you from receiving the Word.
- He attacks your appetite: The less we read the Word of God, the less we desire to read it. Also, the less we pray, the less we desire to pray.
How Did We Get The Bible?
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.2 Timothy 3:16
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.2 Peter 1:20-21
We can rest assured the Old Testament is the Word of God because of so many references our Lord Jesus Christ made to it. Jesus referred to it as the Word of God, as the scripture and as God said, (Matthew 5:18, John 5:39, Matthew 19:4; 22:29). Let us look at the two testaments individually.
- Around 250 B.C. the Jewish community had established the Old Testament canon.
- Four questions determined the Old Testament canon. Is it authoritative? That is, does this book come with a divine, “Thus saith the Lord”? Is it prophetic? By this, they asked if it was written by a man of God. Is it authentic and was it accepted by the people of God?
The early church used the letters of the apostles as a functional canon. It has been said that if we remove all the writings of the New Testament, we can reconstruct all of it from the quotes of the church fathers. Here are some scriptural examples:
- Jesus said that His disciples will be His witnesses, (Acts 1:8).
- Jesus said that the Spirit will teach them and remind them of His Words, (John 14:26; 16:12).
- Peter referred to Paul’s writings as Scripture, (2 Peter 3:16).
- Paul told the Church in Colossae to copy the letters, (Colossians 4:16).
- The Church was built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, (Ephesians 2:20).
The Apocrypha refers to 15 books of doubtful authenticity and authority.
In A.D. 90, the Jewish Council of Jamnia rejected the Apocrypha as scripture. The nation of Israel treated the Apocrypha books with respect but never accepted them as true books of the Hebrew Bible.
Luther had criticized the Catholic Church for not having scriptural support for such doctrines as praying for the dead, petitioning “saints” in Heaven for their prayers, worshiping angels, and “alms giving” as atoning for sins. By canonizing the Apocrypha, the Catholic Church gained scriptural support for their doctrines.
No New Testament writer ever quoted, referenced or mentioned any books of the Apocrypha. Apart from containing historical errors, there is also no claim in any apocryphal book in regard to divine inspiration.
American Bible Society Statistics:
- 87% of American households own a Bible.
- The average household has three Bibles.
- Just 11% have read the entire Bible.
- 30% of Americans surveyed have read no more than several passages or stories in the Bible.
The Center for Bible Engagement (CBE) made a key discovery in their research that “the life of someone who engages with scripture four or more times a week looks radically different from the life of someone who does not. In fact, the lives of Christians who do not engage the Bible most days of the week are statistically the same as the lives of non-believers.
Someone who engages the Bible four or more times a week is:
- 228% more likely to share faith with others.
- 407% more likely to memorize scripture.
- 59% less likely to view pornography.
- 30% less likely to struggle with loneliness”.
God exhaled the Scriptures; you inhale them when you read the Bible.
Seven Things To Do With The Bible
The Bible states that it is the Word of God, is true and is a guide for our lives, (Psalm 119:105; Luke 4:4, Psalm 119:160, John 17:17). Here are seven things we need to do to live by the Word of God.
1. Read it, (Matthew 19:4).
2. Listen to it, (Romans 10:17).
3. Study it, (2 Timothy 2:15; John 5:39).
4. Confess it, (Matthew 4:4; Joshua 1:8).
5. Meditate on it, (Psalm 1:2; Joshua 1:8).
6. Memorize it, (Psalm 119:11).
7. Obey it, (John 14:23, James 1:22, Matthew 28:19-2, Matthew 7:24-27).
How To Study The Bible
If you are struggling with how to study your Bible, try the SOAP method: Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer. I’m going to share with you five tips for understanding and studying the Bible.
The more I study, the more convinced I am that it’s possible to get to know the Bible yet not know God.
You can fill your head with knowledge yet not have an intimacy with God. It’s possible to know more about the Bible and not do anything about it.
1. Invite the Holy Spirit to guide you as you read the Holy Scripture.
2. Pay attention to the context of the verse.
There are two ways to approach the Scripture. The first way is exegesis, and the second is eisegesis. Exegesis is when you’re drawing meaning from the text. Eisegesis is when you are imposing meaning onto the text. The meaning is determined by the author but it is discovered by the readers. You might have to study the chapter before, after and note the overall theme of the book in order to understand the context.
President Lincoln was once misquoted as saying that he would rather live in Russia than in America. What President would make such a remark? He did say it but he was being quoted out of context. He actually said, “I shall prefer immigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty – to Russia, for instance.”
Lincoln wrote these words while expressing regret about a dangerous trend he saw in America. He feared that many wanted to change “all men are created equal” to “all men are created equal, except non-whites.” If that were to happen, Lincoln suggested, he would be more comfortable in a land where the government didn’t pretend to stand for liberty. The context makes all the difference, for it tells us exactly what Lincoln meant to say.
If the plain sense makes sense, seek no other sense or you could end up with complete nonsense.Anonymous
3. Compare with other translations.
No translation is perfect. The best translation is the one you will read and apply. There are different types of translations and some are more suited to different uses than others.
For devotional reading, I recommend using:
- Paraphrase translations: The Living Bible (TLB), The Message (MSG) and The Passion Translation (TPT).
- Thought for thought translations: New International Version (NIV) and New Living Translation (NLT).
For a deeper study, I suggest:
- Word for word translations: New King James Version (NKJV), New American Standard Bible (NASB) and English Standard Version (ESV).
You can compare translations so that you might research and have a deeper understanding.
4. Get a study Bible.
To help you understand the Scriptures, get a study Bible. My favorite study Bible that I’ve used for many years is the Spirit-Filled Bible. Here is a list of study Bibles:
- The New English Translation Bible.
- The Spirit-Filled Bible.
- Faith Life Study Bible.
- Tony Evans Study Bible.
- The Dake Study Bible.
- Life Application Study Bible.
5. Apply the Word of God to your life. The biggest problem with Bible study is not the failure to understand but failure to apply the Word of God we understand to our lives, (James 1:22-25; Matthew 7:24-27).
It’s good to read the Bible in English, Greek, and Hebrew but it’s best to read it in the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit was sent to help us teach and understand the truth of God’s Word. He is the Author of the Bible. Invite Him as you read and you will be surprised where your Bible study will go.
Precious Holy Spirit, You wrote the Bible, help me to understand Your Word. Holy Spirit, guide my study right now. Guide my reading. Unveil to me Your Truth. Reveal Jesus to me and what I need to know, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
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