Everyone wants to get the most out of Bible Study. Howard shows some practical ways to make that happen in your life, today.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Bible Study
By Howard E Wright
There are many people who do not study their Bible, because they do not know where to start. This is understandable. It is like any other "technical" book. If you do not know the terms used, you cannot make sense out of it. A doctor would not have problems understanding a medical book, but may have problems understanding a legal book. A car manufacturer would not have problems reading car blueprints, but may have problems reading architectural blueprints for a Theme Park.
The two examples listed above are concerning specialized people. If we do not understand them, our lives will not suffer loss. On the other hand, it is very important that we know things that are life-changing. For example, people in some nations drive their cars on the right side of the road, while others drive on the left side of the road. If we were to go to Uganda, for example, we would be in real trouble if we drove on the right side of the road. In Uganda, they drive on the left side of the road. Another example is: If we were to go into a school chemistry lab and start mixing chemicals without knowing what we were doing, we could blow up the lab or the whole school.
If you don't know how to get the most out of your Bible, you are in much greater danger. This lack of understanding has eternal consequences. You don't have to understand everything in the Bible to reap its benefits, but you do need to understand its main message. If you don't, you would be missing out on a whole new way of life. You would be missing out on a loving, personal relationship with your Creator-Redeemer God of the universe.
There are many treasures in the Bible that can only be discovered through a diligent search. May the Lord bless you as you take another look at your Bible. Here are some things you can do that will help you make your Bible study more meaningful:
1. Know the Author personally. There is a world of difference between knowing about the author and knowing the author personally. Some authors are dead or for various reasons are not able to know you personally. You could know some things about them by studying what others say about them. You many know about the author by reading his or her autobiography or learning about his or her accomplishments in life. The advantage of knowing the author personally is, you would be able to ask questions and get answers from him or her. You could ask the author to explain something you did not understand in his or her book. You would have your very own expert mentor. The same is true with the Bible. God is the Author. He wants to know you personally. When you know Him personally, you can ask Him to explain what you do not understand.
2. Everything in the Bible is to be taken literally unless it tells you otherwise. The Bible uses terms like; "as, like a, likened to" and the like, to tell you if one thing is symbolic of another. The Bible also uses comparisons that can be understood by comparing Scripture with Scripture.
3. Let the Bible interpret itself. The Bible has cross referencing. Hint: If things in the Bible do not make sense to you, you can do a word study to find the meaning of the Scripture in question. There are books that have every word of the Bible referenced. These are called concordances. There may be an abridged one in the back of your Bible.
4. Learn the original intent of a Bible passage. To do this, you will need to know the customs and backgrounds of the people at the time the passage was written. You may also want to study the Scripture in its original language. There are Bible dictionaries that can help you understand the customs and backgrounds of the people. Also, there are interlinear Bibles that give a literal English translation below the original language. The better concordances have dictionaries of the original language in them. When you study the original languages, make sure you use the Received Text or Authorized Text for your original languages, as there are language texts that have been corrupted.
5. Ask a Bible expert to explain the Bible passage that is in question. There are many of these around. Do not accept just anyone as an expert. Being a pastor, a Bible school professor, or Sunday school teacher does not necessarily make that person an expert. Only those who have done all the things listed above should be considered an expert. That person could be your neighbor who loves God and loves you as himself or herself.
If you do these five things, you will be well on your way to understanding the Bible. With the aid of the many study helps that can be found at any Bible bookstore, there is no reason why you would not be able to understand God's Holy Word, The Bible.Howard E Wright