Old Testament New Testament Bible Scripture

What is the proper way to study the Bible?

Question: "What is the proper way to study the Bible?"

Determining the meaning of Scripture is one of the most important tasks that a believer has in this life. God does not tell us that we must simply read the Bible. We must study it, handle it correctly. Studying the Scriptures is hard work. A cursory or brief scanning of Scripture can sometimes yield very wrong conclusions about what God means. Therefore, it is crucial to understand several principles about how to determine the correct meaning of Scripture.

1. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to give you understanding. John 16:13 reads, "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come." Jesus in John 16 is speaking of the Holy Spirit and says that when He comes (the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost, Acts 2), He would guide them into all truth. Just as the Holy Spirit guided the apostles in the writing of the New Testament, He also guides us in the understanding of Scripture. Remember, the Bible is God's book, and we need to ask Him what it means. If you are a Christian, the author of Scripture, the Holy Spirit, dwells inside of you…and He wants you to understand what He wrote.

2. Do not pull a Scripture out of the verses that surround it and assume that the meaning of the verse is not reliant on the surrounding verses. You should always read the surrounding verses and chapters, and be familiar with the purpose of the book. While all of Scripture comes from God (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21), God used men to write it down. These men had a theme in mind, a purpose for writing, a specific issue or issues that they were addressing. Read the background for the book of the Bible that you are studying to find out who wrote the book, to whom it was written, when it was written, and why it was written. Then read the chapters prior to the verse or verses you are studying to get a feel for the topic the human author was writing about. Also, be careful to let the text speak for itself. Sometimes people will assign their own meanings to words in order to get the interpretation they desire.

3. Do not attempt to be totally independent in your studying of the Bible. It is arrogance to think that you cannot gain understanding through the lifelong work of others who have studied Scripture. Some people, in error, approach the Bible with the idea that they will depend on the Holy Spirit alone and they will discover all the hidden truths of Scripture. Christ, in the giving of the Holy Spirit, has given gifted people and spiritual gifts to the body of Christ. One of these spiritual gifts is that of teaching (Ephesians 4:11-12; 1 Corinthians 12:28). These teachers are given by the Lord to help us to correctly understand and obey Scripture. It is always wise to study the Bible with other believers, assisting each other in understanding and applying the truth of God’s Word.

4. Buy some good, conservative, reliable commentaries and Bible resource books to help you in your own study of the God's Word. A good, inexpensive, three-volume commentary set is the Bible Knowledge Commentary. This will give you the background information (mentioned earlier) for each book of the Bible and a concise commentary on verses and passages of all of the Bible. A good study Bible is also invaluable. The NIV Study Bible, or the Ryrie Study Bible (available in your choice of Bible translations) are good conservative study Bibles. You may prefer the King James Version, but if not, we recommend the New American Standard. It is as close to the original Hebrew and Greek as an English version can be.

Recommended Resource: What Does the Bible Say About . . ? Easy-to-Understand Answers to the Tough Questions by Ron Rhodes.

Related Topics:

Why isn't the Bible in chronological order?

Why are there so many different Christian interpretations?

Where is a good place to start reading the Bible?

What are some different methods of Bible study?

Why is it so hard to understand the Bible?

Return to:

Questions about the Bible

Return to:

elhijodedios.com Home

What is the proper way to study the Bible?