This blog post is a continuation of the series discussing the excellent guidance in the September/October 2019 issue of Bible Study Magazine. Below is a synopsis of the final “Words to Live By.”
Trevin Wax presents two useful tips. First, when you engage the Bible, focus on meeting with God. He lists five questions: (1) Who is God? (2) What is He like? (3) How has He made Himself known? (4) How does He speak to us? (5) What does He expect of us? Second, he points out that the Bible is meant to be heard, not just read. To listen to a text is a very beneficial way to gain another perspective on a text. Keep in mind that, most likely, over 90% of 1st Century believers were illiterate.
N. T. Wright advocates the benefits of Bible study with others. He says:
And it’s only when you get together in a group that people with particular [types of] insight have [them] honed, sharpened, and shaped.
Elyse Fitzpatrick poses one key question: “Why did the Spirit include that in the body of truth that a loving God would give to me?”
Jen Wilkin suggests Bible reading as a family. She says:
We go through a book of the Bible together and give our kids a chapter or portion to read for the week. We tell them to come to family devotional time with two questions and two observations. And we use that as a jumping off point for a discussion.
Her methodology helps the kids focus on the structure and an interpretation, which can then be subject to evaluation. Her suggestion is the road to gaining better Bible study techniques.
Now that we have looked at all the “Words to Live By,” I think it is worthwhile to compile a summary of fundamental basic guidelines for Bible study.
First, be steady and consistent with your Bible engagement. Bible study is a crockpot, and not a microwave, experience.
Second, vary the sources of your Bible intake. Use a different translation for your devotionals as opposed to the one you use for study. Listen to the passage. By listening to a text, you activate another one of your senses.
Third, engage the Bible in a community of believers. By doing so, you gain others’ perspectives and help yourself evaluate your theology.
Fourth, appreciate that you are going before God. Be reverent and humble as you experience the privilege of engaging His Word. Try to learn about Him when you study His Word.
Fifth, pray that God will give you zeal and curiosity for His Word.
Sixth, read and reread the text under study. It only makes sense that repetitive engagement of Scripture, which is “living active”, brings forth more truth.
Seventh, put yourself in the shoes of the people in a text. Let the text come alive in your mind.
Eighth, pose the question: “Why did the Spirit include that in the body of truth that a loving God would give to me?” After all, the Bible is God-breathed, and there is a reason for God, including a specific text in the Bible.
Like I wrote above, this is an exceptional issue of Bible Study Magazine. Please send me any comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the comments feature of the blog.