Encouraging God’s People to Study the Bible Better!
Welcome to the August edition of the Bible-Student-Online.org e-zine, The Encourager.
As our summer wraps up, we're gearing up for some big things coming this fall. Stay tuned for important news in future issues. But for now, we have some great Bible study tips.
...without further ado...
Here are some of the useful little tidbits we’re offering in this issue…
1. Tip of the Month – Supercharge your Bible study time with these great ideas.
2. Starters of the Month – Can’t find anything to study? Look here for “starter” ideas.
3. Study of the Month – We’ve posed a question that we would like you to answer by making a thorough study of the Bible. Feel free to use resources. But the applications need to be your own.
4. What’s New? – We have several projects going (and are we busy!) Find out the "new news" here at Bible-Student-Online.org!
Alright…let’s get to it!
Bible Study Tip of the Month
Reading vs. Studying
William J. Brown
I wanted to take the opportunity of this month's feature to answer an important question...
What's the difference between merely reading the Bible and studying?
Let me put the issue to rest. There's a big difference! I know I probably raised a few eyebrows when I stated this on the website. So let me clarify what I mean by reading the Bible vs. studying it.
This is probably the most important reason for studying rather than just reading the Bible. Reading is important. But it's only the first step to Bible study. To just merely read a passage of Scripture just to mark it off your daily list of things to do isn't doing God's Word the justice it deserves.
You must go deeper than merely reading it. You must understand it. Find out what it means. What is God saying to you? How can you apply it to your life? All these are important questions that just merely reading the text won't answer. You must study the Bible.
The Bible clearly commands that we are to study the Bible. II Timothy 2:15 tells us...
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
And Psalm 119:97 reads...
O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.
Meditation makes Bible reading study. It's finding the deeper meaning of the Bible and applying it to our life. That's great Bible study method!
Reading is important. But we must do more than read the Word. We must meditate on it and take it to heart. That's God's command.
I remember hearing one man boast that he read through his entire Bible in one month. Rather than reading a chapter, he would read several pages per day. At the end of the month, he could claim he had read the Bible in one month.
It seemed like a stunning accomplishment. People were clapping and cheering for him as he explained his amazing feat.
However, I knew people who had worked closely with this man. Let's just say his testimony was less than stellar. He had read the Bible over and over in his life. But it had made no impact on the way he lived.
This ought not to be so in our lives!
We need to read the Bible for understanding and apply it. I personally don't read very fast. I've tried the various read-through-the-year programs. I've come to this conclusion...
They don't work for me. They sacrifice quality for quantity. I found myself rushing through it just to cross it off my list. I learned little from those years of "Bible rushing".
And that's probably what happens in most cases. We as human beings tend to be goal oriented. So when we look at daily goals set to get through the Bible in one year, we see it as a to-do item rather than an intimate brush with our Creator.
Don't get me wrong. Reading through the Bible in one year may work for you. If so, go for it!
I only caution you that you be God oriented rather than goal oriented in your reading time.
This isn't to say we shouldn't be systematic in our study. We should be careful with God's Word. All I'm saying is find a system that helps you learn not just cross an item off your list.
My advice is find a system that works that helps you learn not just read the Bible. Here's a good example of a weekly schedule for Bible study...
Sunday: Read the chapter.
Monday: Reread the chapter and write down any thoughts you have. Underline key words you find are important.
Tuesday: Reread the chapter, then seek outside resources (i.e. commentaries, Bible handbooks etc.) to help you with any difficult concepts. Use a Bible dictionary to define any key words you found.
Wednesday: Reread the chapter and compare your notes with some of the outside sources you found.
Thursday: Reread the chapter and meditate on what you've learned.
Friday: Reread the passage. Take all your notes and concisely (a few paragraphs) write a "lesson" on your passage. Make sure to include any word studies as well as applications that you discovered. Writing it out will cement it in your mind.
Saturday: Read the passage again. Notice how it takes on a whole deeper meaning.
Did you catch how many times I said "read" and "reread"? Reading is important. But just reading the Bible won't cut it. We must study the Word and make sure to hide it in our hearts (Psalm 119:11). Only then will we feel the full force of the Bible in our life.
That's it for this month. I hope this was a help. We'll have more next month.
Keep up the good work. And...
Keep the Faith!
Bible Study Starters of the Month
Here are a couple ideas to jump-start your brain for your personal Bible study…
1. Compare the lives of Lot and Abraham. How did their lives parallel? How did their lives end? Do you think they were both believers?
2. Study Revelation from a little different perspective. Don't look at it as an end times prophecy. Take note of how Jesus is portrayed. What kind of person is He? How do the elders, beasts and angels treat Him?
Bible Study Project of the Month
Put on your thinking caps this month...
Read two or more Gospels (depending on how much time you have.) Note every time Christ speaks on the subject of salvation. Then answer these questions...
How did He say to obtain it?
What was it's nature?
What results does true salvation produce?
If you have time, compare what Jesus said with what Paul said about salvation.
And of course...
Contact us through our “Contact Page” and tell us what you found. We're interested to hear what your studies turn up!
I just wanted to thank all of you who subscribe to this e-zine. I hope it's been a blessing. Don't forget to remind your friends to sign up for it as well. The more the merrier.
And of course...
Please pray for the ministry here as well. Putting our ministry on your prayer list would be such a blessing and a help. Thanks everyone!
That about wraps it up for this month. We hope you enjoyed this e-zine provided by Bible-Student-Online.org.