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 the Bible.
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
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.
- It 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
- It 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?
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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 beginner Bible 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. Once you have read through the gospels, you can now read other parts of the scripture remembering to keep Jesus at the center of it.
Once you understand what Jesus came to do as narrated in the gospels, you will literally see him revealed in all the other books of the Bible. But Paul warns us not to rely on our intellect when reading the word of God. We have to rely on the Holy Spirit to teach us.
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 Bible study methods that will make it so much easier. These are:
Devotional Method –
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 Bible reading planner for those targeting to read the Bible 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.
Analytical Method –
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 and other relevant Bible dictionaries.
Biographical Method –
This method entails studying the life of a Bible 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 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.
Topical Method –
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 Bible dictionaries and a concordance.
Practical Method –
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.
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This is the only book that never grows old with time and God will always speak to you new things in old passages. 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 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 bible study tips shared in this article will help you to start or improve your Bible study. Remember, the word of God is our manual for living and we had better read it in order to know how to enjoy everyday life as God intended.