Encouraging God’s People to Study the Bible Better!
Welcome to the April edition of the Bible-Student-Online.org e-zine, The Encourager.
Spring has sprung at last. And with it comes new life. What better time could there be to add new life to you Bible study time as well? And we've got some great ideas that we hope will help. So...
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
So...what gets you excited about Bible study? Does anything? Maybe you're one of those people who defines study on any level as drudgery.
Well, don't think you're a terrible person. Most of us have gone through times when we felt like we were just going through the motions. What we need to do is keep in mind that we have a relationship with God. And He has given us His love letter, the Bible. That should change our perspective on study (and life, for that matter.)
But concerning Bible study itself, I think the biggest problem we face is being careful we have a method to our madness. If we just wake up in the morning, crack open our Bibles and read a few verses, then slam it shut, we aren't going to enjoy that time. We need to know what we're doing.
So we're going to go over a practical plan of Bible study this month. We've tackled this problem before from a different angle in past issues. But today, we're going to go into serious detail. Your plan for studying God's Word should resemble something like this...
Plan - Have all your materials out and ready before you begin. Have your paper ready, your pencils sharpened, your Bible bookmarked and your additional resources (concordance, commentaries, Bible software, etc.) close at hand.
Read - Bible study begins with reading. I personally try to read the passage I'm studying several times before I do anything else. If you're studying a longer passage (I personally recommend shorter ones) then you may only have time to read it through twice. Whatever you do, get to know your passage by reading it several times.
Analyze - Most people miss this step. They think Bible study is just reading. But if you want to have a profitable time in God's Word, you must do more.
Take your paper and pencil and write down any thoughts God brings to you mind as you read your passage again. Be careful to keep your material organized. You may want to write headings on your paper like "Personal", "Interpersonal", "Worship", "Commandments", "Key Words" or whatever other information you find in that passage. Place your comments about the passage under each appropriate heading.
Once you've done that, go to outside resources like commentaries and Bible handbooks. Don't be afraid of such sources. Some people feel that they don't need to use outside sources. But I say, there's nothing wrong with commentaries as long as we realize those men and women who wrote them are fallible. They aren't perfect. Only God's Word is perfect.
Use your concordance to look up key words that will lead to other verses with similar themes. Write down your information under the appropriate headings.
Interpret - Now, take what you've learned about your passage and ask, "What is God saying?" "What does this verse mean?" Try to determine what God wants you to learn from this passage. It's important that you have a clear understanding of the text. Doing this step correctly makes the next step a breeze...
Apply - This is the most important step. You may have all the biblical knowledge in the world stuck in your head. But unless you apply it, it makes no difference in your life. God wants to help make you better. So you need to realize that He does that through His Word. And His Word must be applied to all of life if it is to hold any meaning for us.
If God tells us to obey a certain authority, we need to do that.
If God wants us to live holy lives, we should practice personal holiness.
If God desires that we draw closer to Him through His Word, then, by all means, we need to obey His voice.
It is through His Word that God perfects His love in us. But we must apply it to our lives. Simple knowledge won't cut it. As the Apostle Paul tells us in I Corinthians 13, even if we have "all knowledge" but do not practice it through love, it is worthless to us. We must apply God's Word to our lives.
Well...that's all for this month. We'll see you next month. But until then...
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. You'll need to know how to use a concordance for this one. Find all the instances of the word "grace" in both the Old and New Testaments. Keep each instance organized by categorizing them, whether it's speaking of God's mercy or man's.
2. Read the book of Jude and write down any major and minor themes you find. Jude tends to have difficult passages. So consult good commentaries on any confusing verses.
Bible Study Project of the Month
Put on your thinking caps this month...
We've done studies on holiness before. But this assignment goes into more detail. Get out your concordance (or Bible software) and find all the references to the word "holy" or "holiness". Choose four of the major passages that deal with this subject (i.e. passages that use these words several times." Taking one passage per week, study them in detail. Determine how God defines being holy and what kind of holiness He expects from us.
Contact us through our “Contact Page” and tell us what you found. We're interested to hear what your studies turn up!
Don't forget about our newly released e-book, Successful Strategies for God's Soldiers.
You can pick up your own copy by going to homepage and clicking the book icon. We're very excited about this new edition to our ministry. And we hope you will be too.
And of course...
Please continue to pray for the ministry here. We can't do any of this without your prayer support. Thanks everyone!
That about wraps it up for this month. We hope you enjoyed this e-zine provided by Bible-Student-Online.org.