This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Joshua 1:8
Getting Started...Before you get started, think through the following questions: • When will you read? Do you have a consistent time? • Where will you read? Do you have a consistent place? • What will you read? Do you have a plan? • What do you need? Do you have a Bible, journal, pen and highlighter?
#1 PRAY...Always, always, always begin here. You should always approach the Scriptures in a posture of prayerful humility and longing. Asking God to: • Incline you entirely to His Word. • Open your eyes to see the beautiful wonders of Christ and the glories of the gospel. • Unite your heart to fear His name, knowing that your desires are ever divided. • Satisfy you with His steadfast and unfailing love.
#2 READ...The first step of study is to simply read the passage a few times to get an idea of the content, context and flow. Highlight particular sections that stand out so that you can come back to them later.
#3 OBSERVE...This is where you will use your own observation and allow the Holy Spirit to point things out to you. What do you see? Note: It is this observation that lays the groundwork for all subsequent study. If you choose to cut corners in this step you can cause the entire process of Bible Study to unravel.
What are you observing? EVERYTHING! Your goal is not to determine what is and what is not significant. Everything is significant. Observation is kind of like panning for gold in the Klondike. Your goal is to dig up as much as possible and allow the later processes to sift the gold.
1. Mark up the passage...don’t be afraid to write in your Bible. Circle, underline, use symbols and/or highlight. Write in the margins. Get creative. 2. List 2-3 overarching themes you see in the passage...these are main ideas. 3. List at least two observations per verse. The more the merrier. 4. Write down questions to think through in the step of interpretation.
#4 INTERPRET... Ask yourself: "What does this passage mean? Your observations will most likely lead to interesting and challenging questions about the text. This step of interpretation allows you to sift through the various observations in order to provide answers.
ASK SOME KEY INVESTIGATIVE QUESTIONS... Who is… …the author? …the audience? …being discussed? …accomplishing the action?
Where is… …the author? ...the audience? …the action taking place? What is the… …meaning of this word? …significance of this phrase? …implication of this statement? …overarching theme? Why did the writer… …choose this word? …include this phrase? …use this command? …connect these ideas? …not say ____?
1. Always...Keep the CONTEXT in mind. The context is the Scripture that precedes and follows the passage of study. 2. Use other translations to compare (Recommended translations: NLT ESV, NASB, NIV, HCSB, NKJV). 3. Look up key words...using www.biblestudytools.com or even a Bible Dictionary if you have one. (Psst! Or borrow one from the church library) 4. Check out cross-references to see how this passage relates to others. 5. When stumped, list out all the various options and pros and cons of each. After due consideration, use supplemental resources such as the ESV Study Bible or commentaries for helpful insights and background information. 6. Don’t stop until you have considered how this passage fits into the overarching redemptive plan of God – the gospel. How does this passage relate to the person and work of Christ? 7. Make sure to discuss insights and questions with your spouse and your gospel-centered community.
APPLY... What do I do with what I have just read and studied? Bible study is incomplete until you have thought through how to apply the particular passage to your life. Some passages will be more readily applicable than others, but all Scripture is useful and helpful (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
1. List a number of potential applications. To get started, here are a few questions to consider: • Is there an example for you to follow? • Is there a sin to repent of and/or avoid? • Is there a promise to trust? • Is there a prayerto repeat? • Is there a commandto obey? • Is there a condition to meet? • Is there a verse to memorize? • Is there an erroneous view exposed? • What else is the Lord pressing upon my heart and mind?
2. Choose one or two particular applications and prayerfully consider how you might pursue greater faithfulness in them. Be specific about what you will do (or not do) and whom you will ask (in addition to the Lord) to help you.
RECOMMENDED RESOURCES... "How to Read the Bible For All Its Worth" "Living by the Book " by Howard Hendricks www.biblestudytools.com
The following is a listing of books and resources that have influenced and continue to shape my own life and hopefully they will influence yours.
PRESENTLY READING... "The Explicit Gospel" By Matt Chandler "The Golden Shore" The Biography of Adoniram Judson "Undaunted" The Story of Josh McDowell "Creature of the Word" The Jesus Centered Church" By Matt Chandler
DISCIPLESHIP... Your own Bible... "Desiring God" By John Piper "The Cost of Discipleship" By Deitrich BonHoeffer "Living By the Book" By Howard Hendricks "Mere Christianity" By C.S. Lewis "How to Read Your Bible for All It's Worth" By Gordon Fee "Pilgrim's Progress" By John Bunyan "The Journey" (Former titled "SHARE Program")
FICTION... "The Tehran Initiative" By Joel Rosenburg "The Twelvth Imam" By Joel Rosenburg
BIOGRAPHIES... "Just As I Am" The Autobiography of Billy Graham "The Golden Shore" The Biography of Adoniram Judson "Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret" By Dr. & Mrs Howard Taylor "Born Again" The Autobiography of Charles Colson "Seven Men and the Secrets of their Greatness" By Eric Metaxas