Meaningful Personal Bible Study
Meaningful Personal Bible Study on your smartphone, tablet or desktop computer.
If you have believed in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you have the ability to read God's Word, the Bible, with understanding. When you dig into God's Word, you are digging into a treasure beyond compare. As you begin to understand God's Word, you will develop a more intimate knowledge of God and His will for your life. Are you willing to invest time to pursue something of eternal value? If so, here are a couple of approaches to Bible study that you might find helpful.
- Begin with prayer, asking God to guide your study and lead you to the understanding He has put into the text
- Choose a literal Bible translation such as King James, New King James, New American Standard, English Standard Version, or Revised Standard Version
- Consider choosing a shorter New Testament book for your first attempt at Bible study until you become more proficient in your study methods
- Read through the book from beginning to end in one sitting. Repeat! Repeat! Repeat! Repeat!
- Determine, if possible, the human author of the book, and use the concordance in the back of your Bible to look up information about the author. For example, if Paul is the author of the book you have chosen, you can read about his life in other books of the Bible he has authored as well as in the book of Acts
- To whom was the author writing? This is usually found in the first few verses of the book
- Study the book verse-by-verse
- When studying a particular verse, ask questions of the text: Who? What? Where? When? Why? Try to put yourself in the setting if possible
- Remember that words have meaning. Seek to understand the words of Scripture with their normal, literal meaning. An old adage contains great wisdom when it comes to Bible study: "If the plain sense makes perfect sense, seek no other sense." If the literal understanding of a passage makes no sense, then look for a figurative meaning
- Pay attention to the grammar, taking note of subject, object, verb, verb tenses, etc.
- The original Scriptures were written primarily in Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic. Any time something is translated from one language to another, you can lose some of the original author's intended meaning. Make use of good lexicons such as Enhanced Strong's Lexicon, to help you access the rich meaning of the original words
- Context, context, context! Study a passage in its immediate context, in the context of the book you are studying, and in the context of the Bible as a whole. Do not overlook the historical and cultural context of a given passage. What was the author saying to the people to whom he was writing and how did they understand what he said?
- Be sure you are drawing the meaning out of the text (exegesis) and that you are not reading your own understanding, traditions, or theological bent into the text (eisegesis)
- Correct interpretation precedes correct application. There is only one correct meaning of a passage of Scripture, but many applications
- End with prayer and thanksgiving!
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