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November 6, 2003

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Q/A's
Q/A Topics: Bible Study Methods - (Study Series)


How-to Study the Bible

READER QUESTION:
Why do so many people, and books on "how-to study the Bible" use an academic approach to studying the Bible? i.e. by focusing on one book, break it down, and study verse-by-verse.

I have a hard time sticking to this academic, text-book-like approach. I may get through a few chapters, but am easily sidetracked to some other topic/passage, settle on that for awhile, and on to the next, etc. Sometimes I'll pick up my Bible, and think "hmm.. What should I look at today?", literally flip through, see something and say "Wow, I've never seen that before.." and just dig into it. That particular study may last one hour, or one week. I don't always feel like going back to the same book. Is this random, "wandering" through the Bible a lack of discipline? Can you recommend an approach?

VW ANSWER:
Well...there are -many- ways to study and read the Bible. If you were to attend a Bible college and took a course in "Bible study methods", what you listed above would be one of -several- different methods they would teach...the book/outline/verse-by-verse approach. For analytical study that is certainly a most effective method.

However, study methods are like people. No two people are alike. Some people are analytical...others are more emotional. And just like a person many not eat the same food everyday, day-in and day-out.... neither is their approach to Bible study going to always be the same.

The most important thing is that a Believer is -in- the Word, reading it and meditating on it. Ps119:15,78 Sometimes a person might read -through- a whole book or series of books. At other times they will do exactly what you are doing...jumping around.

Obviously you are "hungry" for the Word, and from your reaction to your time in the Word, it sounds like the Holy Spirit may be guiding you to things you need when you are needing it.

The "lack of discipline" (as you say), would be if you were not in the Word...when you are feeling 'restless', to put the Bible down and not read. From what you say, you are pressing on, and finding 'something' to read and spending time with.

The Holy Spirit wrote the Scriptures (2Pt1:21); and Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would also, "..guide you into all truth.." (Jn16:13) That includes not only the understanding of 'what' one is reading, but also -what- 'to' read at any given occasion.

Q/A -Study Tools and Methods

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