Greetings, my friend.
As you may have read from our first post, we will now focus on practical tips for effective Bible study.
1. Having little to no knowledge is fine.
Don’t feel bad because you don’t know much about what the Bible holds. That’s why you want to find out! All you need is to have time set aside and a willingness to learn. The more you familiarise with reading and studying the Bible, the easier it becomes.
2. Have (access to) TWO (or more) Bibles.
Now, now, don’t panic. There is a good reason for this.
Although there are many different translations of the Bible, there are various “types” of Bibles. (Not to say that one is better than the other, as the Word of God will always be the Word of God.)
a. The Word for Word: Simply put, it is the literal translation from the Hebrew/Greek Bibles (Also called the Interlinear Bible). As the name suggests, it captures the message from the Hebrew/Greek Bibles and puts it in English; word for word.
Examples: Interlinear, King James Version, New King James Version, English Standard Version.
b. Thought for Thought: These “types” of Bibles capture the thoughts and meanings behind the words used. Though some words have been changed extensive biblical research has made sure that the Spirit behind the words is still conveyed.
Examples: New Living Translation, New International Version, New Century Version, New American Bible.
Having two (or more) Bibles to study from is excellent as you tend to understand what you’re reading better. Having a Word for Word and a Thought for Thought can give you a good overall picture and a better context of what you are studying. As you saw from the first post, I personally use the New King James Version and the New International Version when studying.
Remember, before you do your research on which translation of the Bible you want to own and study from, don’t forget to read it before purchasing. It won’t be helpful if you pick up a translation and you can’t get much from it.
NB: Feeling excited? You can even go and look for a Bible concordance and study the Hebrew/Greek words themselves to get an even deeper understanding of the meaning of the word and the context it is used in. I recommend the “Blue Letter Bible” apps which you can download on your iPad, iPhone and Android devices for free.
3. Have an action plan
Remember you’re reading to learn, understand and apply the Word of God in your lives. So you need to develop your own reading plan or strategy that works well for you. If your bible has small sections where topics are often discussed, then that will be the best way to start. If not, then you can use the internet to search a point and find out Bible says about it. I recommend openbible.info/topics/ a quick reference point to find passages in the bible about your chosen topic quickly.
NB: It doesn’t have to be topics. You can decide to read whole books! For those who want to understand Christianity in a nutshell, the best starting point is the Book of Romans.
Want to learn more about Jesus? Start from the Gospels; Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
Seeking the wisdom of God to apply to your life? Then the Book of Proverbs is the way to go!
4. Ask for guidance and direction from God.
This is the most important point. Remember, we are not reading or studying for the sake of it. We’re seeking God’s face and asking for His input in our lives. We won’t be able to do this if we don’t know His word is in the situations we or others find ourselves in.
God has created every individual for a purpose. We need to ask Him to reveal to us what He has planned for us, and in one mind with Him so we can achieve what He wants us to achieve.
For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29: 11)
We need to humble our spirit and enter the Lord’s presence before reading His Word. Ask for wisdom and ask Him to direct you to what you need to know right now and to put it into practice. When preparing to read and study the Bible, have an expectant spirit, be sure to know that you will receive something from God Himself, that will benefit you and will give you peace of mind and life in the spirit. You may not understand it right now, but when the appointed time comes, you’ll definitely know and appreciate that God has your back always!
This post is not meant to portray as the most full-proof method of studying the Bible. Everyone has different strategies and different methods of Bible study. The intention is to give practical points on a method of study for beginners and to help stimulate your minds whilst creating or developing your own study pattern.
What methods do you use when studying the Bible? Please share your method in the comment section below.
Thank you for reading and may the Lord continue to bless you as you begin to dive deep into His Word.
Tunde T. Amao