A few weeks ago, my seven-year-old daughter turned to me during church and asked me what we were learning about God in the sermon. She was filling out the worksheet our children’s director had provided. I noticed the question on the form simply asked: What do we learn about God from this passage? So I handed her my Bible, pointed out the verses our pastor was preaching on, and told her to search for God. A few minutes of study later, she leaned over and said, “I read all the verses, but I still don’t know what we learn about God.”
Her statement is one to which many of us can relate. Sometimes the Bible clearly states things about God. Other passages aren’t so clear. We can get lost pretty quickly in the details about animal sacrifices in Leviticus and wonder what it has to do with God. Books like 1 and 2 Samuel are rich with thick plots and interesting characters. We might get swept up in the story and forget to even think about God. God’s name is never even mentioned in the book of Esther! How can we possibly learn about God from a book that doesn’t talk about him?
Starting our Study with God, Not Us
Not only is it sometimes hard to find specific things about God in every passage of Scripture, but oftentimes we’re so busy searching for a meaningful takeaway that we make Bible reading about us, not God.
We want quick fixes to our problems, a hope-filled word to carry us through the day, or a pick-me-up for our troubled souls. So we open our Bibles, flip to a passage, and ask: What’s in this for me? Our desire to seek transformation from God’s Word isn’t wrong, but we can’t start here. If we don’t first come to the Bible with a desire to learn about its author, we will miss out on who God is. We can miss his purposes and what he offers us through his Word. When we seek to learn about God through our Bible study, we will find the wisdom, hope, and satisfaction we long for.
God is everywhere throughout the Bible. He wants us to know him, love him, and become like him. So grab a highlighter and start searching.
Why Should We Seek To Learn About God In Our Bible Study?
Before we jump into how to do it, it’s important to think about why we should study the Bible this way. Quite simply: God wrote it. God reveals himself to us in creation, but also through his Word. Psalm 19 reminds us first that God declares himself to us through the world he created, then explains how he uses his Word to also give us knowledge about him. It’s this knowledge of God that rightly shapes our hearts, our minds, our affections, and our lives.
How Do We Actually Study It?
One simple way to start is to take a highlighter (I like to use yellow) and mark every mention of God, including other references to him, like Lord, Jesus, Spirit, Father, Savior, and even pronouns used for God. Then, when you go back through the passage you’ve studied, look for the words surrounding God’s name. Here’s what to search for:
1. Words describing God’s character: what he’s like, what he values, and how he interacts with his people.
Some of these will be clear, like in Psalm 18:30: “This God—his way is perfect…” Other passages require a bit more thought. Consider another portion of the same verse: “...he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.” This reveals how much God values our dependence upon him.
2. Words declaring the actions God performs or will perform.
Have you ever noticed all the verbs associated with God? God was on the move in creation and throughout the lives of his people, and he continues to perform his wondrous deeds in this world. One day his actions will culminate in his return when Jesus comes to reign in all his glory.
3. Words God says and questions he asks.
The Bible is full of promises, declarations of God’s love, and God’s commitment to carry out his Word. His questions reveal his desire to be intimately involved in the lives of his people. Every word he says reveals more of who he is.
4. Words in reference to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
We cannot understand who God is without seeking to understand the ways he works and interacts with us in these three distinct roles. We see the Father initiating his love to his people, the person and work of Christ on every page of Scripture, and the Spirit moving in lives long before he appeared through fire at Pentecost (Acts 2:1–4). As we consider all three parts of the Trinity, we will be moved to awe and wonder at this God who chose to enter into a relationship with sinners like you and me.
There Is Something In It For Us as we Study
Based upon what we learn about God, we can then ask: How should this change my life? You see, we do need to think about what God’s Word has in it for us. The Bible is meant to be a sword for the soul (Heb. 4:12). We’re charged to rightly handle the Bible—clearly and directly applying it to our lives (2 Tim. 2:15). Faith in Christ will move us to obedience (1 John 5:2). God’s Word teaches, reproves, corrects, and trains (2 Tim. 3:16–17). God the Father ordained the Word, God the Son fulfilled the Word, and God the Holy Spirit enables us to apply the Word to our lives. We must know the One who gave us these life-changing words.
Studying your Bible to learn about God is a never-ending search, resulting in timeless treasures. Learning about God in your Bible study will most certainly change your life—you will come to know and love the Living Word, and you will never be the same.
Your friend, Lauren
Meet the author: Lauren Washer is a wife, mom of six, and a lifelong student of God’s Word. She’s actively involved in the women’s ministry of her local church through teaching the Bible and leading small groups. She learned how to study the Bible at Columbia International University, where she received a B.S. in Bible and Intercultural Studies. When she’s not playing LEGOs, changing diapers, or helping her older children navigate preteen emotions, she enjoys reading, cooking, and getting a full night of sleep. You can find more of her writing on Instagram or her website.