How Y’all doing today?,
Today I will concluding this look at Book Clubs or Bible Studies, which is right for us.
This I share from 1 Corinthians 2:12-13; KJV “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” and from the NIV “What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.”
There are different formats that we can follow to study the Word of God; studying a book that is NOT part of the Bible is not one of them. The six ways I have found to study the Bible are:
- Book Study: a study of the Bible by book. Pick any book of the Bible in the old or new testaments and read it from the first verse to the last. We are taught in school that skimming through a well written book is a quick way to see the meaning of a book and it is true with Scripture. Also, take the time to read slowly so that not a word is skipping over. An example is reading through Ester or Job. These two books look at the lives of people that have life pretty good, a bit a tribulation comes along and there is victory in the end.
- Character Study: a study about a specific person of the Bible. Read through each passage of Scripture that names the person as well as each piece of Scripture that refers to that person, also read any the Scripture that that person has written. Reading about that character from the viewpoint of others will show you what their outward appearance was. Reading what they wrote will show you their thought process when writing about events outside themselves. An example would be David or Peter; both men were written about and both wrote parts of the Scriptures.
- Read Study: a study by reading a verse, a passage, a chapter, or a book and then discussing it with others. This is the most used study. It is simple and allows time to be spent with others as they read the same verses that you are reading. An example would be Ephesians 6:10-24, the passage of the Armour of God. This is the type of Bible studies that were at one time quite popular to do on a Sunday morning, or any evening across the globe in homes, at the kitchen table as well as in many church buildings wherever people were gathered, a verse stuck me as fitting for this is Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
- Saturation Study: a study of Scripture by saturating your thoughts and your mind with a passage and mulling it over and over again. Basically reading, and reading, and re-reading, and reading the passage some more until you have come to understand all that it is teaching you. Psalm 23 would be an example of this. Only six short verses but they speak volumes to the ones that study this Psalm.
- Topical Study: a study of the Bible by subject. Pick a topic and read each passage regarding the subject until you have thoroughly read all there is on that topic. When finished pick another topic. At times, many times you will read a verse that covers multiple topics. There are many many topics to pick from, though examples that could be easily studied would be subjects of our everyday lives, such as conflict resolution, how to pray for our enemies (enemies may be a strong word here, though it can apply to anyone we have a conflict with), salvation, the difference between heaven and hell.
- Word Study: a study of a specific word in Scripture. Picking a specific word and reading all the verses in the old and new testament that have to do with that word as well as contain that word within them. A few examples would be; blind, home, Saviour, or holy. Be care which word you pick because your study may be longer than you expected; the number of verses with the word “God” in them is cover to cover in the Bible whereas the word “saltpits” will take you considerable less time to study.
Each of the above ways to study the Bible work well when you take the time to commit to studying the Word on a schedule whether it is once a day or once a week, stick with the schedule. Also make sure to take notes: pose questions to yourself, copy Scripture, write down thoughts. Pray for understanding before you begin reading and thank Him once you are done. Be consistent in your study. Journal about your experience if you wish, pray through the verses you are reading.
The following books come in handy when studying the Bible; James Strong’s Concordance with Hebrew and Greek Lexicon, Matthew Henry Commentary, Noah Webster’s Dictionary, and Merrill F. Unger’s Bible Dictionary. You don’t have to take my word for it, please take a look for yourselves. By the way these are not the kinds of books that I have been talking about through the last three blog posts. Each of these men were on fire for the Lord and wrote books that compliment the Bible not replace it as a source of study.
Finally, let me close with the same verse I started with and conclude with a thought about this verse; Psalm 119:1 of the NIV, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
Whose word is in your heart when it comes to the things of God? I do hope it is God’s Word and not man’s, however that is for each person to decide for themselves.
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Yours faithfully, Elroy