Pick Up Your Fork: How to Study the Bible
As you study the Bible in order to know the God Who wrote it, approach the Word with awe and reverence. First, spend time in prayer. As Psalm 46:10 says, "be still and know" that He is God. Praise God, and then confess any sin that is present in your heart. Get on your knees or open your hands in praise and surrender. Being in a low posture is a physical reminder of how great our God is and how small we are. Ask Him to show you truth and speak to you through the Word. Next, drink deep from the Well of God's Word. Approach the text with a wide view, researching the background of the book you are studying and reading the passage to uncover the purpose of the text.
Spend time learning about the author, the audience, and the context. Read through the entire book (if you can, read it out loud) and write down repeated themes, phrases, and points that are made. What is the overarching theme? How is the book written? Why and when was it written? As you gather this material, ask God to show you more of Who He is in the text. Remember that the Bible wasn't originally written with chapters and verses; each book was written to be read in its entirety. While you read, journal the Word and interact with the text. Write down verses. Ask questions. Sit with it for a while. Pray Scripture and respond to the commands given. Some days you will move slowly and other days you will move quickly. Every day, though, move intentionally and purposefully as you study the Word.
Once you have made a basic outline and understood the main points, as well as acquainted yourself with the author, audience, and context, then start to dig deeper. Use the cross references that are in your Bible to let Scripture interpret Scripture. The Bible is divided into the Old Testament and the New Testament. These separate sections are beautifully intertwined. The Old Testament is in the New Testament and vice versa. The Bible is one Story. It tells of God's mercy and redemption. It begins with the creation of the world and mankind in Genesis 1 and 2 and is followed by the fall of man in Genesis 3. The fall of man changed the course of history. Immediately, God began working to redeem His people and bring us back into right relationship with Him. He did this through directing all of history to lead up to the birth, life, death, and resurrection of His perfect Son, Jesus (John 3:16).
The Bible is a book of redemption. Not only does the Bible tell us what has happened in the past; the Bible also tells us what is to come. It is still being lived by us today! We currently await the second coming of Jesus, and the prophecies that are found in Revelation are still to be fulfilled. We study the Bible knowing that God is still working and still moving. Though this Book was written thousands of years ago, every word is just as relevant to our lives today.
Through picking up your fork and eating Truth daily, you live your life as a well-watered woman.
How to Study the Bible:
Research the background -
- Who is the author?
- Who is the audience?
- Why was it written?
- What is the context?
- When was it written?
- What is the message?
Look for key words -
- What words are repeated?
- Circle, underline, and highlight themes
Study the language -
- What does the original language say?
- Use cross references
- Identify metaphors and parables
- Use different translations
- Look up definitions to words
Dig deeper -
- Create an outline
- Paraphrase the text
- Use commentaries - Trust your sources!
- Let Scripture interpret Scripture
- Interact with the Word