here is no ambiguity in the Evangelical community regarding the authority of Scripture, its place in the believer’s life, and the need for every believer to be one “who correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15 NIV). Yet, reading the Bible is said to be one of the least practiced of all Christian disciplines.
Do we satisfy ourselves with just a casual acquaintance with God, accepting by faith our salvation but receiving spiritual truths only through what we hear from others?
Could it be that all day, every day, we are saturated with so much information that the thought of reading and studying seems like a mental overkill?
Could it be that in taking care of the necessities of life, our daily schedules push us, squeezing out our time for reading the sacred Scriptures?
Could it be that approaching a book with hundreds of pages sandwiched between black leather is not only intimidating but also unappealing because we have never been taught how to study and learn the Bible?
We are often challenged to read and memorize God’s Word, but when was the last time we heard of a class being taught on how to personalize or cultivate these disciplines?
Here are five simple steps in lifting God’s principles off the printed page and placing them in our hearts.
“As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God” (Ps. 42:1 NKJV). God takes delight with such fervency. Know that cultivating an intimate relationship with God is a lifetime process, “precept upon precept . . . line upon line” (Isa. 28:10 NKJV).
Millions of individuals are engrossed in reality shows, soap operas, and sports events on television. We have become spectators to other people’s lives and activities. If you want your Bible study to come alive, do not be a spectator, but participate in every reading. Immerse yourself in the text. Be there!
People make time for that which is important to them. The Word of God must again become the Christian’s passion. Just do it!
Approach God’s Word without preconceived ideas or assumptions. Be open to the wooing of the Holy Spirit to interpret the truth.
With so many methods of study available, simply choose one and get started. One easy approach is the “vowel method.”
A: Analyze what you are reading. Ask who, what, when, where, how, and why.
E: Emphasize key words by exploring their meanings and origins.
I: Interpret, restate, or paraphrase the passage. State it as simply as possible, as if teaching a child.
O: Observe other passages through cross-references, concordances, and different translations for clarification.
U: Use what you are reading and learning. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you how you can apply what you have read to your daily living.
It is a privilege to be able to hold the Sacred Page in our hands and have the author, the Holy Spirit, be our personal teacher.