January 20, 2014 by Chris French
This week we’re talking about how to study the Bible, which isn’t really that hard of a concept to get intellectually, it’s just hard to put into practice. In today’s post we’ll give you some practical things that will take you deep into God’s Word.
This is a revolutionary concept. Are you ready? To understand the Bible you first need to…drum roll please…read it. Okay so maybe that didn’t require a drum roll. Like I said, easy concept intellectually, tough to put into practice. If you read this post you know I’m not a fan of reading the Bible thru in a year. It sounds like a great idea, but in our rush to get the reading done for the day we just read the words and applying it to ourselves is kind of a hit and miss. I got my three chapters read and now I can go about my day guilt free! The major problem with reading the Bible that quickly is that each word is inspired! You’re going to need some time to let those words and ideas kick around in your mind.
Have you ever been sitting in your pew listening to the preacher and he brings out something in a passage you’ve read 100 times that you’ve never thought about before? He’s just really smart, right? At preacher school they downloaded the file labeled “Cool Bible Points” into his brain and he can access that file anytime. Nope, that didn’t happen (at least it better not have. If it does I got ripped off!) That guy sat at his desk Monday-Friday and read that passage over and over again trying to understand what the text was saying. He put in the hard work to understand the text and you’re going to have to do the same thing.
The good news is that God wants you to understand Him. That’s why He wrote a book! He revealed Himself to us, but there are some problems.
- We’re pretty far removed from the actual historical events
- We’ve got a significant language barrier
- There’s a BIG cultural gap between us and the Jews and even Rome
- We aren’t familiar with the geography so we easily get lost in the narrative.
We’ll deal with those problems in tomorrow’s blog.
Despite the hurdles people today have to jump to understand this ancient document the fact remains that this is God’s book. You’re not going to be able to understand everything He says in one reading. Take your time and go thru it again.
This is not original with me by any means, I think John MacArthur came up with it, but spend about 30 minutes reading thru the Old Testament each day. I’d do it in chronological order. It’ll make more sense that way. Here’s a good reading plan. You’ll be good until you reach 1 Samuel and David’s life then you’ll be launched into Psalms and 1-2 Chronicles, but it will give you a more insightful view of what actually happened. With David he’s even going to tell you how some of the events in his life made him feel! It’s pretty cool! Remember spend 30 minutes on this every day.
Your next task is the New Testament. MacArthur says to start in 1 John and read all 5 chapters every day for a month. Write down the theme of each chapter as you read it and every day write down the questions the text makes you think of. Don’t stop to answer them just yet, right now just ask them. By the time you’ve read 1 John 1-5 for 30 days you’ll have answered most of those questions, if not all of them. When you finish 1 John move on to the Gospel of John. It’s got 21 chapters so read John 1-7 for a month writing down chapter themes and questions, then move on to 8-14 for a month doing the same thing until you’ve finished the book. Rotate between small books and larger books until you’ve spent a month with each New Testament book writing chapter themes and asking questions.
So there you have it! There’s part of the hard work you’ve got to put into study Scripture. Remember He wants you to know Him, that’s why He wrote it down, but you’re not going to grasp everything God has to tell you quickly. Forget about the hurdles, understanding even what God has revealed about Himself will take time, but it’s worth it! If you work this schedule it will get the job done. Have you used a method like this one in the past to get into Scripture? I’d love to hear about it and how it went!