The Bible is no ordinary book. It was written by men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit. When writing Timothy, Paul gives a couple of reasons why we should study God’s word: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work”. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
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Studying the Bible book by book is important for the following reasons:
- It is profitable. To put it in other words, it is beneficial to us.
- Reveals the righteous life in light of the righteous God we serve
- It offers us guidance through life
- It helps us to find the right path after messing up
- Equips us for the work of ministry
The above are just some of the many other reasons for studying the word of God. For instance, in Joshua 1:8, God commands us to study his word day and night. But how do you do it? Which books should you ready? And where should you start?
How to read the Bible for beginners – where to start
Even though the Bible is full of stories, you shouldn’t read it as an anthology. This is to mean you don’t read it cover to cover as would a novel. You need to have a study plan. For instance, if you are a new believer or a beginner, it is recommended that you skip the Old Testament books and head over to the gospels.
The gospels are the first four books of the New Testament and they are called that because they document the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. These books are Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John. Of the four, John is the simplest to read so it would be a great place to begin.
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned 1 Corinthians 2:14
How to study the Bible for yourself
While it is important to attend church in order to be taught from the word of God, you must also study it for yourself. The thought of reading 66 books of the Bible might sound overwhelming but there are some awesome study methods that will make it so much easier. These are:
There are lots of awesome devotional booklets that you can use to study the Bible. Most devotional entries start with a brief anecdote that relates to a lesson from scripture, the scripture of study for the day, and a prayer.
Some devotionals also include additional passages in case you want to delve deeper into the subject and a Biblical reading planner for those targeting to read God’s word in a year. You can get a devotional booklet from your bookstore.
The word synthetic is derived by combining the Greek preposition syn, which means together and the verbal root, “the” which means “to put” The synthetic method, therefore, means to place together or put together. This method will give you a bird’s eye view of the Bible.
To use this method, read a passage, a verse or a book several times until you get the central theme. For instance, you can use this method to figure out the central theme in Colossians is Christ and the Church.
The analytical method entails pulling apart sections of a book, a chapter or even a verse in the Bible and then analyzing them in fine detail. This method will need that you use some study tools like the Strong’s concordance A concordance is a simple form that lists Biblical words alphabetically, with indications to enable the inquirer to find the passages of the Bible where the words occur. and other relevant Biblical dictionaries.
This method entails studying the life of a Biblical character. A biographical study will consider all events in the life of a character. For instance, if you used this method to study Jesus, you will consider his birth, his dedication, his getting lost in the temple, his baptism, his temptation, his public ministry, his passion, his death and his resurrection. You have to be careful when using this method because there are several people in the Bible who had one or more namesakes.
As the name suggests, the topical method entails taking a topic from the Bible and studying it. The topic may be a theme, a concept or even a phrase from the Bible. For instance, you may pick the topic of prayer and study everything related to prayer. You may need the help of Biblical dictionaries and concordances.
This is a very interesting method because it involves looking at the passage in a practical sense. The question you seek to answer when using this method is, “how does this apply to me practically?” This method can be used to study a short passage or even an entire book.
When reading a book of the Bible, it is always a good idea to read it over and over again. Each time you go over a book, you tend to notice things you hadn’t read before. Unlike other books, you cannot put the Bible back on the shelf even after reading it cover to cover. This is the only book that never grows old with time and God will always speak to you new things in old passages.
Bible Study Resources for deeper study
Good study bibles:
A caution with using study Bibles: Don’t just read the text and then look down at the notes for an explanation. Work for it, wrestle with it, write down the question to look into later, etc.
A great way to do it: Print out that section or the book double-spaced. Then you can mark it up, write down questions, circle any repetitive words that you see, jot down connects, etc. Study it through a few times and see if the text doesn’t just answer your question before turning to a commentary or your study bible.
The Bible’s truths will transform you, aligning you with the character and ways of Jesus as you encounter him in the Scriptures. This easy-to-understand book shows you how to study the Bible in Rick Warren’s way. It gives you not just one, but twelve methods for exploring the riches of God’s Word.
At least one of them is exactly what you’re looking for—an approach that’s right for you, right where you’re at. Simple step-by-step instructions guide you through the how-tos of the following methods: • Devotional • Chapter Summary • Character Quality • Thematic • Biographical • Topical • Word Study • Book Background • Book Survey • Chapter Analysis • Book Synthesis • Verse Analysis Thousands of individuals, small groups, churches, and seminary classes have used this practical manual to unlock the wonderful truths of Scripture. Rick Warren’s Study Methods will help you develop a customized approach to studying, understanding, and applying the word of God.
As a beginner, you may find it hard to read through an entire book in a sitting but that’s fine. You can start by reading a couple of verses and then get to a chapter, and before you know it, you will be reading through the short books in one go.
If you read something that doesn’t make sense to you, take the time to study it until you understand it. Sometimes, it might require reading through the book over and over again. Other times, a simple word study will help clear out the confusion. You could also reach out to a Christian friend for help.
I hope the study tips shared in this article will help you to start or improve your study of the word of God. Remember, the word of God is our manual for living and we had better read and study it in order to know how to enjoy everyday life as God intended.