Encouraging God’s People to Study the Bible Better!
Welcome to the June edition of the Bible-Student-Online.org e-zine, The Encourager.
This month we'll be looking at one of the most important tenants in personal Bible study. We'll also give you some great ideas of Bible studies you can do on your own during the hot summer days (depending on where you are in the world, that is!)
...without further ado...
Here are some of the useful little tidbits we’re offering for this summer to get your Bible study moving...
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
Bible Study Mantra: Interpret the Passage Correctly!
William J. Brown
You may be thinking, "Bill, I knew that before you said it!" It does seem a bit obvious. But sometimes obvious truths are the most often overlooked ones. This one stands at the top of all Bible study mistakes.
To find out if you've broken this "golden rule" of Bible study, simply consider the first question you ask yourself when you approach a passage. If you think about it you might be surprised at what you find.
You see, most of us ask the wrong question up front. In fact, more often than not, there's one wrong question that pops up more often than any other. I've even heard small group Bible study leaders make this mistake. What is this wrong question many ask when they approach a passage from God's Word?...
"What does this passage mean to me?"
Ooooooo. I cringe just thinking about it. This is the wrong question to ask up front when approaching a passage and one of the worst mistakes anyone can make when dealing with God's Word.
Why? Why is this the wrong question to begin a Bible study?
First let me say asking this question isn't necessarily bad. It's just the wrong one to begin a study. But I will say, if you approach Bible study correctly from the beginning there's a chance you won't even need to ask this question.
The reason why you never begin Bible study with this question is because, truthfully, it's irrelevant to the subject. That's right! I said irrelevant.
Why is this?
The answer lay in the fact that the Bible is truth. No matter how we see it or what we think it says, the Bible still proclaims fixed truth.
To ask a question about what God's Word says to us makes the truth of the Bible subjective. But it's not. It's unchanging. It's absolute.
Every passage has a message for us, a message God has placed there. It isn't some subjective, ethereal knowledge. It's the plain teaching of God's Word, the way He clearly communicated it to us.
So it would be much better to ask the question, "What does this passage mean?" Beginning with that concept will focus your Bible study time on what's important, what God really said.
This doesn't mean a certain passage isn't meant for us. It simply means there's a message there that God has for everyone to discover. We shouldn't let ourselves slip into a self-centered attitude, thinking only we can discover what God has for us.
No. God has given the message of the Bible for all of us to understand and apply. What's important is that we discover what the Bible says, then we can ask what that means to us. Focusing on what the text means will tighten your understanding on the text and aid you in better applying the Bible to your 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. Follow the word "glory" through the Old Testament and New. Answer these questions...
What does the word refer to in its various contexts?
To whom does this word apply?
To whom does it most often apply?
2. Choose one of Paul's epistles and study it, carefully noting the different subjects on which he speaks.
Bible Study Project of the Month
Put on your thinking caps this month...
Israel's history is an intriguing study. Its ups and downs follow a very predictable pattern: the people would dedicate themselves to God, that generation would believe and the next would fall away. God would bring Israel's enemies upon them as punishment, and back they ran to God only to start the cycle over again!
On and on this cycle went, spiraling downward, until God finally brought ultimate judgment on the people for their sinfulness. The Jews were carried off to foreign lands as a result of God's chastisement. Later God led the Jews out of captivity and back to Israel.
You can find the aftermath of that captivity in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Read and study the accounts in those books, paying careful attention to the the attitude the Jews had as they made their way back to their own land. Notice also the strength of character the main figures of those two books exemplified. Write down this information as well as any other observations you may have regarding those books.
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!
God has been good to us, much better than we deserve. Our readership is growing, and we'd appreciate your help in making it grow even more. Encourage your friends and family to sign up for our e-zine. Make sure to mention it's free.
We also encourage those of you living where the weather is starting to warm up to stay in God's Word. Beaches are fun. Picnics are great. Summer leagues are entertaining. But the Bible is most important. Keep your nose buried in God's Word. All the other events of your life will take care of themselves. Study the Bible!
That about wraps it up for this month. We hope you enjoyed this e-zine provided by Bible-Student-Online.org.