Editor’s Note: Last week, Gina talked to us about reading our Bibles. This week she moves to the topic of studying our Bibles.
Study your Bible or don’t study your Bible? That is the question.
Study your Bible. That is the answer.
Last time we discussed the value of reading your Bible with purpose and regularity. Reading and studying are not the same thing. We read our Bible for comprehension, adoration, encouragement, exhortation, enjoyment, and appreciation. When we study our Bible, we are drilling deeper, making connections, analyzing, investigating histories, original languages, and more.
Bible study can feel intimidating. The Bible is a big book. Where to start? What to study? How to study? It can immobilize us if we don’t look it straight in the eye and keep things in perspective.
Most of us are just everyday people when it comes to studying our Bibles. We aren’t in seminary; we just want to know our Bible and the God who wrote it. We want to grow as Christians. We want to be able to offer helpful counsel, not from our own wisdom, but from the inspired Word of God.
Bible study groups are a great place to start. Most often, groups study books or topics of the Bible. Our StudyTogether program is offered throughout the year. Small groups of women gather once a week for approximately eight sessions in the fall, winter, and spring. Typically, reading and study is accomplished at home, then the ladies gather once a week for discussion. (See covfel.org for more information.)
Maybe your season doesn’t allow for an in-person study group. That’s okay, but we are not exempt from studying. In those seasons, perhaps try one of these study methods:
The S.O.A.P. method:
S = Write out the Scripture passage for the day.
O = What observations can you make from the passage? What stands out to you? Who is the author talking to and what is he saying? Are there any commands, instructions, encouragements, or exhortations?
A = What applications might you be able to make from this passage?
P = Respond in prayer.
Or try journaling. Journal through a passage of Scripture. Note observations, applications, and prayers. Go where the Spirit leads.
Or do a word study. This is also called systematic theology. Perhaps you want to study all the Bible says about joy, thanksgiving, or God’s attributes. Thanks to modern technology, we can easily plug that word or phrase into a search engine, app, or Bible study website and view every verse the Bible has to offer on that topic. Then look up each verse, studying them in context of the greater passage. You can utilize other tools such as cross-references, Greek/Hebrew dictionaries, concordances, topical books, or even couple this with one of the above methods of study.
There are countless ways to study your Bible. These are just a few.
The main takeaway for all of us is that we need to read our Bibles and we need to study them. It is not an either/or, but a both/and lifestyle. But it’s more than a “need to.” It is a “get-to.” When we hold our Bibles, we’re holding the Word of God. What a privilege we have to “get to” know it.
Find what works and run with it. Change it up as necessary, but ladies, let’s keep on reading and studying. By the grace of God, this time next year, we will know God better, we will know who we are in Christ more surely, and we will know and love our Bibles even more.