A step-by-step guide to studying the Holy Scriptures and suggested tools to support your research.
- How to approach the Bible:
- What books do I start to study
- Look forward to it changing you
- Don’t seek to change the Bible
- Study the Bible in the Spirit
- Don’t lean on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6)
- Study the Bible with humility
- Choose a good Bible version
- Read slowly…
- Study a verse in context
- Munch on it like a cow
- About Bible reading plans
- Most importantly, apply it!!!
- Tools to help you study
You need to understand that the Holy Scriptures are one big message from God to you. It details his original plan for mankind, what went wrong, and how he’s fixing it.
The Bible speaks to all of humanity and to Israel. The Bible is a history book about the past and the future.
When you read the Bible, you’ll notice a ton of accounts about morality. Pretty much the whole Bible is about right and wrong.
This is because God wants a relationship with his creation. But he can’t father, friend, or fellowship with them if they keep offending him. So, God explains through his Word what right and wrong is and how to please him.
The Bible is also designed to encourage, strengthen, remind, guide, transform, rebuke, educate, and heal.
How to approach the Bible:
There’s an old and a new testament making up 66 books. There used to be more books packaged between the two parts called the Apocrypha.
What books do I start to study
For Hebrew Israelites, I recommend the book of Matthew. For everyone else, I recommend studying the book of Proverbs. These are just my personal recommendations. You can also do a topical search to discover how God feels about a specific topic.
Look forward to it changing you
Our destiny is to be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:28-29). Let the Bible change your life.
Don’t seek to change the Bible
If you don’t agree with the Bible or believe it’s the infallible word of God, don’t study it. Put it down and walk away until you’ve accepted that the Bible is from God.
Study the Bible in the Spirit
Don’t lean on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6)
If you come across a passage that doesn’t make sense or doesn’t align with your view of life, ask the Holy Spirit for clarity, don’t just assume you “got it.”
Study the Bible with humility
Don’t study the Bible just to boost your pride so you can feel smarter than others. While you’ll gain some knowledge, you’ll offend the author; and end up in hell for God hates the proud (Proverbs 15:25, 16:5).
Choose a good Bible version
The King James Version, the New Living Translation, and the New American Standard Version are a few good ones to check out.
…and look up the definition of the words. Don’t assume you understand every word. Fully understanding words helps you grasp the depth of the passage.
Study a verse in context
Read the passages before and after the submitted verse. Read the whole chapter if you need to. Understand the time-frame it was written, who it was written to, and the language of the translation; these all factor into your understanding.
Munch on it like a cow
Cows chew their food slowly, regurgitate it, and do it again until it’s completely broken down. Likewise, you must do the same with passages that speak to you. Meditate on them day and night (Psalms 1:2). Think of them until they change you.
About Bible reading plans
Who said you had to read the whole Bible in a year? The Bible is not some marathon to complete. It’s about accepting the message God has for you, and being transformed by it. Study the Bible at your own pace. Reading plans like a “Month of Proverbs” can lead you to pass over life-changing passages for the sake of completing a chapter per day. Real Bible study will take you down a rabbit hole not knowing when it’ll end. One chapter may have you studying for weeks! The Bible is a spiritual book, not a college textbook to conquer.
Most importantly, apply it!!!
James 1:22-25 says, “But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.” You must believe what the Bible says and do it. There’s no sense in studying the Scriptures if you’re not going to change your life.
Tools to help you study
Most bibles include reference numbers between verses to link you to related passages. A concordance will list most of the scriptures related to a word or phase. Hebrew and Greek lexicons will give you the meaning behind words. And there are commentaries that provide men’s interpretation of certain passages.
Use commentaries with caution
Hearing the viewpoint of others isn’t a bad idea, but you must always rely on the Holy Spirit. Men can be deceived thus misleading you.