Five Primers On How To Study The Bible

Photo from Breanna Lynn

Anonymous asked:

Tips on how to study the word of God? Thanks!

Hey dear friend, I totally got the thing for you.

1) Lather yourself in holy water borrowed from your local vampire hunter store.

2) Get in your booster chair and wear the bib that says, “Christmas? How about putting the CHRIST BACK IN CHRISTIANS #JesusJuke”

3) Put on 3-D glasses and your Bible Man cape and mask.

4) Use a fan to open your Bible and stop at any page with any of the Ten Plagues finger puppets.

5) Play “Mind Heist” by Zack Hemsey. You won’t regret it.

6) Read the Bible in a Welsh English accent as loud as possible.

7) Wait for a fiery dove to rip through your ceiling with a new chapter of Revelation, which should already be happening at your weekly prayer meetings.

By the way, if you actually do this, please record it and show me.

Okay, but seriously.

Reading the Bible is hard. The Bible wasn’t even mass-produced until the last few-hundred years, and suddenly we’re all guilt-tripping each other on “read more Bible or bring the lighter fluid for your stake-burning.” But the Bible itself is hard. Am I allowed to say that? It’s dang hard.

So I want to say first: It’s okay to feel dumb about it. The quicker we can admit, “This is way over my head,” then the safer we’ll feel to get help. Here’s some help then to read the Bible.

1) Start with a book and stay as long as you like.

It’s a good idea to camp out in a book. I once read Ephesians every day for a month. I’ve also read the story of David (1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings) about seven or eight times before I really got it. Books I recommend to start: John, Philippians, Colossians, Ephesians, Proverbs, Isaiah. There might be a lot you don’t get, but there will be a lot that you do.

2) Ask a lot of annoying questions.

Ask your pastor. Ask your mature Christian friend. Ask me. Get different opinions. If you’re stuck, ask.

3) Find what other people have said.

The best Bible commentary I’ve ever read is Henrietta Mears’ What The Bible Is All About. There are used copies and also illustrated versions. She goes over every book of the Bible, with history and character charts and story diagrams.

4) Engage with the text.

Ask the 5 Ws – Who, What, When, Where, and Why?

5) Engage with what God is telling you.

Every time you open the Bible, believe that God has something for you. Believe it. At every moment, good and bad, up or down, in all seasons, the Bible will speak.  The Holy Spirit convicts you of all truth. Be ready for it to push against you, to disagree with you, to challenge what you always thought was true. The Word of God is a sword that will cut you to your soul, exposing all.  The message of Jesus is crazy to those without him, but to believers is the saving truth.  And of course, all Scripture is breathed out of God, useful for everything we do and who we are.

This doesn’t mean you’ll “feel something” every time you read Scripture. But meditate on even a tiny scrap of a verse and let it sit. The Bible has the very words of God pouring out His heart for you. He is big, but by His Word, He is so close. Hear it as a friend speaking, as a leader leading. Be encouraged and convicted.

— J.S.

10 thoughts on “Five Primers On How To Study The Bible

  1. Great advice. Warm and inspiring – and faith filled. A good prayer to begin your session with God is from Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord….”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this. We need to be honest about the messiness of the Bible. Seeing the difficulty in reading the Bible is a hard pill for many of us to swallow because we naturally assume God’s Word should be easy and accessible. Personally, I think it’s more beautiful being the messy, confusing, rich, poetic library of books it is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “the messy, confusing, rich, poetic library of books it is.”

      Yes! I remember C.S. Lewis saying the Bible is so particularly weird and truthful, it would be near-impossible to make up.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. In addition to these wise suggestions, I would make one more: Read the Bible the way I did before anyone told me otherwise…

    When I, at age 36, suddenly came to faith and read a Bible, nobody had told me what to look for or how to read it. I had no intention of trying to “apply it to everyday life”, for example. I wanted to know, “Who is this Jesus and how does he think?”

    I have found that this approach fostered a far greater depth, a more integrated and authentic faith, and a much more satisfactory hermeneutic lens than anything else I have subsequently learned. It is fruitfully applied to any of the narratives, and also to the apostle Paul, for example.

    Finally, its greatest advantage is that it gets us doing what Jesus did, and saying the things he said, instead of talking about the things he did and talking about the things he said…


    1. Right on, I absolutely agree with this approach. It’s like “the motive of no-motive,” just reading to take it in. Thank you for bringing it back down to earth!


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