Bible study, like prayer, is a foundational and crucial skill for every Christian. Surprisingly, the majority of believers including many Christian ministers do not know how to personally search the scriptures effectively. On this page, you will find the resources to equip you with the knowledge and skills to make you effective, accurate, and confident as you search the scriptures for yourself.
What is Bible Study?
Bible study is acquiring the knowledge of the Bible, understanding what it means, and ascertaining how it applies to us. These three core aspects—acquiring knowledge, understanding, and applying—constitute the core of sound approaches to Bible study( hermeneutics and exegesis). The technical names for these core facets are observation, interpretation, and application.
So when you study the Word, you want to accomplish three simple tasks:
- Find out what the Bible says: be aware of the facts, know what is written in the Book
- Understand what it says: correctly interpret the text and determine the accurate meaning(s).
- Ascertain how it applies to you and others: not the actual actions(yet), but knowing how it applies to you, others, and the world today.
Bible study is closely related to Bible reading. Although they are virtually synonymous in most cases, there are subtle differences between them. To learn more, please see the articles below.
Why Study the Bible?
Since studying the scriptures, like any other form of study, is acquiring knowledge, the trophy of our efforts is the knowledge we gain by studying. And if the Bible is an ATM or cash machine, then knowledge is the cash it dispenses, and studying is the activity that makes the ATM dispense the cash.
But none of us really wants cash, no matter how much it is; we want the things that cash affords, not the money in paper or electronic form. Just as cash, the knowledge from the scriptures is only a means to the desired end—God’s desired end, His ultimate purpose for giving us His book. This ultimate divine purpose for seeking knowledge from the scriptures is a relationship with God, a living and transforming experience with His presence and power.
If knowledge was God’s ulterior motive, then studying the Bible is solely an intellectual pursuit. But God purposed our pursuit of the knowledge of the scriptures to be both intellectual and experiential. Furthermore, these two aspects—intellectual and experiential—are not like the two sides of a coin with equal weight, but are like a bi-level Olympics trophy podium where the first level(knowledge) is lower and leads to the second level, which is higher, and the ultimate trophy(divine experience).
Why Do We Read or Study the Bible?
Many believers do not have strong enough reasons to sustain themselves through the hassle of reading or studying the Bible. This article will fan to flames your hunger for the scriptures.
A Christian Dilemma
In their classic the Inductive Bible Study: A Comprehensive Guide to the Practice of Hermeneutics, David R. Bauer and Robert A. Traina recount a perplexing anecdote of master of divinity students approaching graduation who were asked what was the one thing they thought their seminary experience failed to give them. Their responses were not only unexpected but were shocking, the least expected of master of divinity student from a top seminary in the United States. Across the board, their laments for the missing piece were similar: “a clear method for studying the Bible for ourselves.”
As if he had read the outcry of these seminary students, one of our visitors commented on our Inductive Bible Study Course and wrote, “I grew up going to ministry all my life, and I still don’t fully understand how to interpret the Bible.” The full comment can be found here and shown below:
So Christian ministers, with or without formal training—including training from the best seminaries, have an unanswered heart cry: how to dig into the scriptures effectively and personally. And if ministers struggle with this vital skill, the average believer is at a loss. And if the believers are incapable of finding the truth for themselves, the Church, the Body of Christ, becomes unstable as a house built on sand.
Bible Study Methods
Many believers sincerely want to read and search God’s Book for themselves. Many just do not know how. Often, most believers, including those with formal training study the Bible in a haphazard, disorderly and unproductive manner. However, there are effective Bible study methods developed by God’s people over the past centuries. Anyone can learn and use them.
To learn more about these effective Bible studies, please visit:
- Bible Study Methods: A Practical Guide
- How to Study the Bible in Five Steps
- What is Inductive Bible Study?
Effective Bible Study for All
A central goal of our ministry is to equip believers to study the Bible effectively, personally, and experientially.
- Effectively: An orderly and systematic approach that achieves the purpose of studying the study(immediate and ultimate).
- Personally: Search the scriptures for themselves, and then listen to what others have found.
- Experientially: A study that transforms and produces encounters with God’s transforming power and presence
As a physician, I highly regard scholarship; I believe Bible scholars have their place. Furthermore, as a minister, I know and believe firmly in the role of Bible teachers like myself. Nevertheless, these two roles—Bible scholars and teachers—are no replacement for establishing every believer in arguably one of the most crucial skills in our walk with God: how to study His word for themselves.
Rather than stifle the skills of the believer and make them perpetually dependent on external sources, indirect study, or second-hand interpretations, Bible scholars and teachers should have an ultimate objective to equip the saints to study God’s words effectively and personally.
A prime objective of this page, and our website, is to furnish the tools and resources to equip any believer—including ministers—with the knowledge and skills to study the word of God effectively, personally, confidently, and experientially.
State of Bible Reading Amongst Christians
How are we doing as Christians reading God’s Book? Sadly, though we revere the Bible so much, our actions as Christians do not support that reverence. The statistics are out. Lifeway research found out that only 32% of Church-going protestants read the Bible daily, while up to 10% never read the Bible. The American Bible Society State of the Bible annual research findings were even more troubling.
tHE NUMBERS ARE OUT
State of Bible reading
These numbers reveal how Christians really feel or what they truly believe about the Bible.
With the dismal bible reading statistics amongst Christians, the need to improve Bible literacy in God’s house has never been more pressing. Please read this classic article from Christianity Today archives titled “The Greatest Story Never Read”.
A firm foundation of the Word of God revealed in the Bible is mandatory for a healthy and growing Church. Sadly, the vast majority of believers including ministers struggle with studying the Bible personally and effectively.
Moreover, a Christian’s hunger for the Word is proportional to the strength of their motivation. We recommend you start by having a deep and personal revelation of what the Bible is, and why God wants you to read or study it. Once this is done, we recommend you first have an organized big-picture plan to study the Bible before diving into any details.
It is our passion to see believers get into God’s Word. If you have any questions or need personal guidance, please reach out to us; comment below or contact us directly.
- Why Do We Read or Study the Bible?
- How to Study the Bible in Five Steps
- The Purpose of Bible Study
- God the Word
- Watch: How to Study the Bible For Yourself in five simple steps
These are a handful of online resources with many free tools to help you search the scriptures effectively.
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