There are lots of ways we can study the Bible. We can study topics, books, themes or read through the Bible in a year. The way we study isn’t nearly as important as the fact we are studying. Here are some ways to help us ensure our study is meaningful. For me there are four things I do to help me with this.
Study The Bible With Application In Mind. “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22 (NKJV) Personally, I believe that a consistent time in the Word is probably the number one key to growth in Christ-likeness. However, there has to be more to it than reading just to accumulate knowledge. Knowledge is good but knowledge alone isn’t enough. “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” John 5:39-40 (NKJV) The Pharisees studied the Scriptures. The Pharisees knew the Scriptures. What the Pharisees were failing on was their application of Scripture. Taking the Scripture and being doers of the Word and not hearers only. We must not only read Scripture but do what it says.
Focus On The Bible As The Word Of God. One of the keys to letting our time studying the Bible connect us with God so we can be more like Jesus is to focus on it being the very Word of God. We call it the Word of God but I think it’s easy to forget that’s really what it is. In this book, we are holding in our hands the very words of God Himself. That’s powerful stuff. We have to find ways to keep ourselves focused on that so that we can really let His Words sink into our hearts.
Look For Patterns Or Repetitions. I like to look for patters or repetition in Scripture. Sometimes these patterns don’t present themselves in a particular chapter. I have to notice them over a period of time and then I’ll go back and mark them.
Keep A Study Journal. Keeping a study journal has been one of the best things I’ve done for my private devotions. I record thoughts, outlines, prayers, praise, gratitude and anything else that is related to the passage I’m studying. For me it helps me clarify the thoughts. Rick Warren says that thoughts disentangle themselves as they flow through the fingers. This has really been true for me.
Pray Before You Read. I always like to pray a short prayer before I study the Bible. It helps focus my mind on what I’m about to do. I just pray a simple prayer asking God to open your eyes to His Word. “Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from Your law.” Psalm 119:18 (NKJV) “Teach me, O LORD, the way of Your statutes, And I shall keep it to the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart.” Psalm 119:33-34 (NKJV)
My commitment regarding Bible study:
Here are some tips to ensure that your commitment is truly a commitment that helps you grow in godliness.
Your commitment should be specific. Specific commitments are always better than general commitments. To make commitments specific, they must explain exactly what is expected. “I commit to read my Bible” is not specific enough. “I commit to read my Bible more” is not specific enough. When are you going to study? How often? How long? Where in the Bible are you going to read? These are the kinds of questions that should be spelled out in your commitment.
Your commitment should be measurable. The idea here is that if a commitment is not measurable, it is not possible to know whether you are making progress toward successful completion. Measuring progress is supposed to help you stay on track and keep your commitment.
Your commitment should be attainable. This stresses the importance of commitments that are realistic and attainable. While an attainable commitment should stretch you in order to achieve it, the commitment is not extreme. The commitment should be challenging but attainable. In the end, unattainable commitment will discourage you and keep you from keeping your commitment.
With all of this in mind, an example of a commitment to Bible study would be something like this. Monday-Friday I’m going to study my Bible from 7:00AM to 7:30AM with the goal of reading through the Bible in a year.