I’m studying through the Bible. No big deal right? Not so.
I’m just an ordinary guy, no special training, no specific approaches followed, just taking God’s Word at face value and going forward from there.
I’m saying a prayer and asking God to open my mind and heart to His Word, through His Holy Spirit, every time I study. Trust me, it makes a big difference. His Word is intimate. His Word is personal. Respect it, honor it, absorb it, like a sponge. There’s a mindset needed when you come to God’s Word. It’s beyond special. It’s time, revelation, words spoken and communicated to us to reveal, explain and open our understanding. It’s true, we haven’t seen but we can see, through our minds and our hearts. And there are emotions, if Jesus wept over Jerusalem, we can and will weep when He speaks to our hearts.
I’m using colored markers. Underlining different passages in different colors, one color for important, another for very important and another for “put this on my forehead!”. The way you do this isn’t important (markers, colored pens, underlining etc), the process is.
Don’t be afraid of printing important keywords or topics that this passage addresses above or to the side of the scripture. Also key cross references.
I could give you examples but I’m not going to. This is God and this is you. Him to you. You to Him. He’s going to show you things you’ve never seen before. He’s going to open up doors that you’ve never opened. Be prepared to say “Wow”, a lot. Be prepared to see just about everything that Jesus said, in the Old Testament.
And, as you read through the words, don’t be afraid to highlight one word differently from the others. Sometimes it is that one word that is within something that is important, that is REALLY important.
Go slow. Deliberately slow. Take time over EACH word. I know it takes longer but it is worth it. When you catch yourself speeding up, it’s time to stop. There isn’t any hurry. It’s not about finishing the chapter or particular book today, it’s about not missing what is in this chapter or book. When you stop absorbing every individual word you’re going to miss things that you don’t want to miss. Think of God’s Word as something to be savored, not consumed in one swallow.
When you run into something that you don’t understand, take the time to get the background information on the subject, it can and does make a big difference.
Ask questions. How did they know that? Where did they get that knowledge from? Where was it revealed? When did that change? Why did it change? How did it change?
When you notice details, pay attention to the details, they are there for a reason.
Pay attention to attributes about God that He reveals about Himself. Pay attention to the names that He uses about Himself.
If you have a study Bible (which I recommend), read the footnotes.
Pay attention to the broad overview and the details that follow. Watch for the recurring patterns.
And as always, there are three important things to remember when studying scripture, context, context and context.
Watch for the subtle, the first time a particular word is used, also look for warnings preceding any consequences to follow. Pay attention to the particulars and watch how it expands throughout the Bible.
Notice what separates, what makes one thing different from another, via distance, geographical position or order of movement.
Pay attention to colors, numbers, materials, research them so that you don’t lose out on the below the surface implications.
As the detail opens up for you, you’re going to have a new appreciation for the actual work involved, the intelligence involved, both by God and by the person to whom God committed the work to.
When you’re given dates, numbers or sums, pay attention. How old was he/she when this started? How long did he/she wait? Your concept about time is going to change.
Take the time to also note what isn’t being said. Sometimes what isn’t being said is just as important as what is being said.
Keep a notebook (physical or digital) to write down particular topics or subjects that you want to watch out for.
Follow the chronological order of the Bible so that you have the applicable books and prophets being discussed during the applicable time frame.
Repeat this process often. The more that you do it the more that you learn and appreciate.
I’m sure that there are other important aspects to be aware of, but this is a good starter, Don’t be in a rush, there are no shortcuts, it takes time.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!