Monday, March 26, 2012

Time in the Word Struggle - Part 3

There are many ways to study the Bible, each specific to the user. Depending on your need, expectations, education, time, finances and creativity, you can develop a study method tailored to suit your goals. Let me explain - some people like to study with books spread out on the table while other streamline their studies by using online resources that are just a click away.

No one way is the only "right" way, so here's what I am going to do. My goal is to teach you a simple study method that will become the frame of your Bible study. Once you get these basics down, you can add to it and shape it into the study that meets your needs. This may be too simplistic for some of you - don't worry, I will include some additional suggestions later.

Although theologians have a wealth of wisdom to plunge their teeth into, the Bible was not written for theologians. It was written for mankind. There is a movement within the church that wants you to believe that unless you have a seminary degree and can parse Hebrew and Greek, you cannot know truth.


(Sorry if that was a bit graphic.)

God gave His Word to His children so that they could know Him better. Yes, it is filled with deep recesses of wonder and mystery - like the onion, with layers to peel back, one after another, the sum of its wisdom cannot be fully attained here on earth. But do not let it's depth scare you away. You have a lifetime to chip away at truth and it will become one of your greatest achievements and adventures - your journey to knowing God through His revealed Word. So here we go...

Methodology 101

A pen, a notebook and your Bible.

Let's start there.

Don't worry about commentaries, lexicons or dictionaries just yet. Let's not rely on other people to tell you what it says. You have the Word and you have His Spirit - that's all you need.

Once you have your supplies, you need to decide where to start. If this is your first time studying the Bible for yourself, I would avoid difficult books like Isaiah or Hebrews for your first study. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Genesis - it all starts here. It is story-driven and a wonderful way to get your feet wet because it is full of beginnings - marriage, sin, government, sacrifice, the chosen people, etc.
  • Any of the Gospels are a great choice - John is very deep, so if you are a deep thinker, start there! Luke is the woman's gospel - the most stories involving women are recorded and it's the longest one - we love details, don't we? Mark is more succinct and Matthew is a great option, too - studying the life of Christ is very easy with this method
  • Proverbs - just listing out the character qualities of a fool and a wise man is pretty simple, though I would prefer you start with a study on God
  • Joshua and Judges are more story based, so they are easier to read and understand - Joshua covers the conquest of Israel as the nation returns from their time of wandering in the wilderness. Judges teaches a cycle of sin and salvation
  • Psalms are wonderful, too! They reveal the character of God in a beautiful way and stress man's dependency on his Creator. They are full of emotion and description - there are even Messianic Psalms that draw pictures of Jesus. My personal favorite is the longest chapter in the Bible - Psalm 119, which tells you the benefits of having the Word in your life!
  • Exodus covers the wilderness wanderings of Israel and would have powerful application of the character of God - even looking at the basic law would reveal a lot of who God is
  • I will talk about the epistles later - if you wanted to start with one of them, I'd go with one of the smaller ones - Galatians, Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians or James. Even though they are small, you'll take a while to get through them because there is a lot in each book
So, spend some time looking through your Bible and decide which book you would like to study through. Next we will continue on with our look at methodology - be patient, we're getting closer...


  1. Excellant suggestions, I also love the book of Acts.

  2. +1 for Psalm 119. So many good prayers in there. Praying the Psalms is an awesome way to kickstart your prayer life.