WHAT IS BIBLE STUDY?
by Thomas Kittrell
ROMANS 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. (KJV)
Bible Study is more than merely reading the words of the Bible. It goes beyond memorizing portions of Scripture. The apostle Paul tells us that it is for our learning. In John 5:39 we are told by Christ to search the scriptures. Jesus Christ tells us also in this verse that the Scriptures testify of Him. In Matthew 22:29 Jesus stated: Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures. So, then, a failure to study the Bible leads to making wrong judgments concerning Christianity and the teachings of Christ. This tells us that ignorance of the Scriptures is perilous.
There are three ingredients that are necessary for a healthy spiritual life: (1) Prayer (2) Church attendance (3) Bible Study. To leave out any one of these three is inviting spiritual decline and lack of spiritual growth.
If you are not presently engaged in daily Bible reading, then go ahead and get started in taking time out daily to read the Bible. When you come across a passage that is difficult for you to understand, then take the time to study and seek out the meaning of that passage. Your pastor can help. Your Sunday school teacher can help. Your Bible Study class can help. A good Biblical commentary can be enlightening. Study the passage in the context of the rest of the chapter and thought pattern. Do not isolate the passage and try to apply a meaning or an interpretation to it. Isolating Scripture passages is one of the reasons there are so many false doctrines.
Memorization of Bible verses is a very good thing, and this allows you to recall what the Bible has to say in various situations you may encounter. But, as I pointed out earlier, true Bible study goes beyond memorization. It adds depth to your knowledge and understanding.
There are several methods of Bible study. One is to start at the beginning of Genesis and go through Revelation. Another is to study one book at a time. Another is to study a subject matter, such as the Divinity of Christ, the Crucifixion of Christ and why it was necessary, along with other subjects you need to know more about. You may choose to start with the New Testament first; however, it helps to understand the New Testament if you have a background study in the Old Testament. The two are tied together in Godís revelation of Himself to us. Ask your pastor for his recommendation of a good Bible commentary and purchase it at your Bible Book store. Do not use the commentary as a substitute for the Bible, but rather as a supplement for study.
Study alone, study with a friend, and study within groups. All three are beneficial. Join a serious Bible study group or class. If you are not aware of one, ask your pastor or a Christian friend you trust. Do not get involved in arguing the Bible, as this can lead to discouragement or frustration or both. Your pastor, if he is called of God and obedient to God, will quote Scripture to you or read Scripture to you in his sermons. However, do not just take his word for what the Bible says. Read it for yourself. That way you will know if he is speaking the truth.
In closing, let me state this: There are many interpretations of Godís Word, but only one real meaning, and that is what God, Himself, meant when He gave us the Scriptures. You can only come to know the real meaning by studying and asking God in prayer for understanding. Pray before you read and study. Understand that the Scriptures came to us from God through The Holy Spiritís inspiring holy men of God to write what He gave them for our learning. How can you learn if you donít study?
2 TIMOTHY 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (KJV).
© copyright 2006 Thomas E. Kittrell
At the present I am reading through the Bible using a study Bible, and I am taking the time to read and think on the study helps as I read through the Bible. This takes more time than just reading through, but it is rewarding.
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