Have you ever read the bible and found yourself wodering “What does that mean?” or thinking “Now I’m totally confused!” Don’t lose hope. God’s Word is alive and we can be certain it is the will of God for you to know, understand and apply His Word to your everyday life. Choosing to study God’s Word is different than just reading the Bible. You can read the bible without studying it, but you can’t study the bible without reading it. So here are some tips on studying God’s Word.
Begin with Prayer: Pray that God will speak to you through His Word; that He will help you discern the meaning; and use His Word to produce fruit in your life that will bring Him glory. Pray for wisdom. God has filled us with His Spirit (John 14:16-17) who speaks to us, leading and guiding us into all truth (John 16:13.)
Read the Bible: Set time aside daily to read God’s Word.
Talk Back and Ask God Questions: The bible is God-breathed, and if you come across a passage in scripture that you don’t understand, stop reading, and share your thoughts with God. There have been many times that I have said out loud, “God, this makes no sense to me, what does this mean?” God is faithful! He can reveal the meaning. There have been times when God answers my question immediately through other scriptures that I read that day. Other times I will be in church and the pastor will have a sermon which explains that verse in detail and my question is “finally” answered, or other instances when I take my questions to a godly source for counsel. (a mentor, bible teacher, or commentary)
Ask Yourself Questions: What does this scripture teach me about God? What does this passage teach me about the church, world, myself, or my desires/motives? What do I need to confess and/or repent of? What have I learned from this passage that will help me focus on God & His glory? What action is God asking me to take?
Search for Answers: I use tools like biblegateway.com, gotquestions.org, and blueletterbible.org to do word/topic/question searches and read commentaries. If I sense that God is telling me I’m acting prideful, I will do a “word study” by looking up the words: pride, humility, self-centered, humble, arrogant, etc. in a search tool like biblegateway.com to learn more verses that may help me understand better what God has to say about a particular topic or theme. Take an active part in finding the answer to questions you ask both God and yourself while reading His Word because that’s the best way to learn and “own the truth for yourself.”
Participate in Bible Studies: This has helped me answer many questions and learn much more about God, His Word and what it says.
Memorize: “Lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul” Deuteronomy 11:18, KJV. When you begin memorizing scripture you are putting it in your heart where you can later rely on it for wisdom and guidance. This helps you to better know God’s Word and how to apply it daily.
Attend Church: Hearing the Word preached in a message is another way to study, learn and apply God’s Word.
Apply what you learn: Take action and apply God’s Word to your life. When you begin to “do” the Word in your life, it will take your experience and knowledge of God and his precepts to a new level. 2 Timothy 16-17 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of Godmay be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Experiencing the truth of God through applying His Word is a life-long study habit that is sure to bring glory to God, and bless you and those around you!