The Importance of Bible Study
2 Timothy 2:15 tells us to Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. Just as studying and applying lessons learned will make one a good student in school, studying God’s Word and applying the lessons to our lives makes us better Christians.
As someone who has spent twelve years working in education, I can tell you, not everyone learns the same way. Some people need lots of repetition. Others can hear something and get the lesson right away. Some people learn visually; others learn by doing the work hands-on, for themselves, rather than listening to a lecture. However you process information, it’s important to know what method of learning works for you so that you can get the most from your studying.
Bible study is a great way to become better acquainted with God’s Word. Study, by definition, involves research, analysis and detailed examination. Even with modern Bible translations that make the language easier to comprehend, (as opposed to Old English), there are certain concepts that can still be a challenge to grasp. Perhaps you just have an interest in delving deeper into a particular topic. This is where studying comes in.
Take the time to examine various passages from the scripture with the same relationship. Look at the context of each scripture. How is the concept being used in that instance and why? When does this take place in history? Examining the time period is a part of the context. Look at who is speaking and who is being addressed. Often scriptures are misinterpreted because people pluck a verse out of the Bible without looking at the surrounding context. (A common example is the reference to Lucifer in Isaiah 14:12).
As I mentioned before, there is no one way to study because we all process information differently. My personal preference is to study Christian themes. Others may enjoy studying certain topics of personal interest such as the history of the Jews or women in leadership throughout the Bible. But no matter what you are studying, here is a summary of suggested things to keep in mind along with some tools you may find useful.
- What verses come before and after?
- Who is speaking?
- Who is the audience?
- What is the time period or social environment?
Supporting tools for Bible study:
- The New Strong's Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible by James Strong
- Biblical commentaries by leading Biblical theologians: See Adam Clarke; Matthew Henry; John Darby*
* Keep in mind, while these scholars often have great insight, they are not always accurate in their interpretation of the gospel.
- Online resources: Crosswalk.com; e-Sword (A thorough bible study tool that can be downloaded on a PC)
- Apps: Strong’s concordance and KJV Bible; Bible study app: e-Sword X (for Mac users)
- Why is this important?
- What is the objective?
- What are the opposing arguments? (if applicable)
- What do I hope to personally achieve from this study?
Salvation from Sin
Objective: To show, through both the Old and New Testament scriptures, that God requires his people to live a blameless life, and that Christ came to take away the sin of the world so that we could live a consistent sin-free life as he did.
Why is this important?
Fundamentally, this is perhaps the most essential aspect of the Christian experience, yet so many religious people do not comprehend it, nor have they experienced it. This is due in part to their unbelief, and the fact that so many religious leaders claim it is impossible to live a sin-free life.
What are the opposing arguments?
Today, many pastors and religious teachers will argue that no one can live a life without sinning every now and then. They will say things like, "We're all sinners saved by grace," or that Jesus died to take away the penalty for sin, not so much as the sin itself.
What do I hope to achieve from this study?
I want to be able to doctrinally defend why we as Christians today are held to a higher standard than Old Testament saints. I also want to have a strong, solid comeback for the religious folks that will argue that Christians sin too, or that living free from sin is impossible.