What is the purpose of Bible Study?
Bible study shouldn’t be a mere academic exercise, or something to cross off the to-do list.
The purpose of Bible study (and any Bible intake) is to know the only True God, and Jesus Christ His son (17:3), to grow to love Him with all of our heart, soul, strength and mind (for how can we love Him whom we do not know?) The purpose of Bible study is to be “filled with the fullness of God, ” and so that the Word can “richly dwell in you,” (Col. 3:16); that God can “work in you” (Phil 2:13); and that Christ can “live in you” (Gal. 2:20, 4:19).
By extension, this knowledge and love of our Father through the study of His Word will work to renew and transform us (Rom. 12:2). His Word teaches, convicts, corrects, and instructs us (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
When we are “filled with the fullness of God” we are also better able to spiritually encourage others, and “turn many to righteousness” (Dan. 12:3).
What is the difference between Bible Reading, Bible Study, and Meditation?
While Bible study, begins with Bible reading it doesn’t end there. Merriam-Webster defines “study” as “to read in detail especially with the intention of learning.” It’s not a quick perusal of the text, but a detailed reading and asking intentional questions about the text. There are various ways to approach Bible study, and God willing over the next few weeks we hope to share templates for some of these: Book Study, Bible Character Study, and Word Study templates. Bible study can facilitate meditation by providing “food” to return to in thought over and over.
Tips for Bible Study.
The following are some tips that may help a closer investigation of God’s Word.
- Begin with prayer.
- Read the passage multiple times, with various translations.
- Look at the context. What is the context of that Book of the Bible, and the surrounding context of that chapter.
- Look at the structure.
- Look for repetition of words or ideas.
- Look for cause and effect words.
- Look for ifs and thens.
- Look for comparisons and contrasts.
- Ask “Who, What, Where, When, Why”
- Check cross-references.
- Try emphasizing different words in the sentence to think about how that effects the meaning.
- Rewrite the text in your own words.
- Ask what the text is teaching.
- Ask how the text points to something about God’s character, His purpose, or His plan.
- Ask how the text points to Christ.
- Look for applications of the text.
- Ask how what you have learned affects your relationship with God.
- Ask how what you have learned affects your relationship with others.
- Pray about what you have studied.
Next week, we hope to share a template for approaching a “Book Study.”
Below are this month’s journaling pages.