Studying God’s Word

bible

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!

 

 

 

 

 

About

Disciple of Jesus, married to Peggy, with 5 grown up children, 7 grand children, ex-Canadian Armed Forces and residing in beautiful Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. a.k.a. "Papa"

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Posted in Apologetics, Defending Christianity, Faith, New Testament, Old Testament
10 comments on “Studying God’s Word
  1. Great advice and very helpful. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. SLIMJIM says:

    Very helpful. Bruce this is a good post on studying the Bible.

    Like

  3. Every page of my Bible has been underlined, margins written in, cross referenced, etc. I have used the same Bible for at least a decade, and every time I open it I learn or am reminded of something precious. Such a treasure …

    Like

  4. Deb Farris says:

    Thank you Bruce. I’ve fallen behind in my new Once a Day Bible reading plan designed to take you through in a year for the very reasons you have mentioned. Every Word needs soaking in not skimming over. All in God’s timing, right? At least once a day isn’t telling me which day, right?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bruce says:

      Hi Deb, I’ve read through the Old Testament a number of times and many times through the New testament and all of them were good but I’m finding that the slow is the best because I seem to notice so much more. I deliberately think if what I’m reading is important, very important and those occasion parts where the words seem to jump right off the page. And just by slowing down and making that judgement on every line, so many different things seem to stand out that I never noticed before because I was just reading without thinking about each line. I’m 73 and I just bought a new Bible in Dec and I’ve gone through Genesis, Exodus and Leviticus and I’m into Numbers now plus Matthew and half way through Mark. Heaven only knows if I will make it through to Revelation until God calls me home but it really doesn’t matter, it’s not about how many times, it’s about the those little details, it’s almost like an intimacy of listening to God tell you something important that you never noticed before because of the objective of keeping a schedule (so you rush). So it takes you two years, three years, it doesn’t matter, it’s that intimate detail that worms it’s way into your heart. And I’m sure the next time I read through the Bible the same thing is going to happen again. I just wish I had learned this when I was a little younger. It’s really amazing. Don’t be hard on yourself, He knows your heart and from what I can see, He’s already done a lot of work on your heart. Grace and blessings to you and yours.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Deb Farris says:

        I know what you mean. I have found that there is nothing richer in life than hearing God’s Voice speak into the deep places of my heart through His Word. First time I did a Bible in a year plan it took me 3 years. Since then I’ve followed my father’s approach to read one section from the OT, Psalms, Gospel and NT each day since I turned 50, 13 years ago. 🙂 It’s up to the reader to determine the length from each. The flow and connection from one section to the next has always amazed me. I’ve filled dozens of journals with my conversations with God. This time is proving to be the most profound yet. I’m sure it’s all about what my heart has been through and where I’ve landed. I just received the 6th week plan from the leader of my current study group and am only just beginning week 5. Thanks for giving me permission to continue to take my time. The overarching themes can often apply to many sections so my reflections have seemed to remain relevant to the rest of the group (if only to those lagging like me what the heck, right?) Thanks so much for your wonderful words, Bruce. To be continued…:)

        Liked by 1 person

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