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What's are some good ways to study the bible?

So i guess this question is a bit broad but I’m coming at this from 2 perspectives.

  1. personal. I currently go verse by verse and look at cross references + the commentary blurb at the bottom for the specific verse. Do y’all do something similar? or any other strategies?

  2. for apologetics and doctrine. Is there a specific way(s) to read and organize what I read in scripture so that I can mentally stand on a strong foundation?

Thanks in advance for y’alls input.

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Hi Nathan!

I don’t know if this is going to be helpful or not, but when I read the bible in my own personal study, I will either work through a book with the help of a study that I trust. Or I read a book chapter by chapter and write down all the questions I have about the passage on a post-it note and stick it in my bible. I will then go and look at commentaries/ask people who I respect and trust and look up to in faith in the Lord and ask them my questions to help me understand. Its also helpful to maybe ask yourselves these questions after reading the passage a few times…

  1. What do you think the passage is saying/what is it about?
  2. What did you learn about God for which you can praise and thank Him?
  3. What did you learn about your own heart/the human heart that you have been challenged by or would like to repent for?
    4.Why are the truths of this passage important for us to know as Christians or those not yet Christians?
  4. Ar you living by these truths?
  5. What would it look like for you to live out these truths?

(these questions are all from a card I got from my youth group suggestion questions to ask when you read the bible).

And also just pray that God will help you in your study

Hope this helps
Karys :blush:

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I enjoy character studies a lot
Just pick a Bible character and read everything there us to know about them, noting down all the lessons along the way

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Hi Nathan!

@Karys_Battenfield and @Vickel have some good suggestions. I personally have found that studying the Bible starts with knowing the big picture. Reading the Bible all the way through several times has greatly helped me to understand it better. (I will be doing that again soon!) When I study verse-by-verse, I always read the entire book before applying the microscope. I try to read it in one sitting, schedule permitting. Both reading the entire Bible and reading the entire book help to see the big picture and also bring certain questions to the fore that will help to guide my study.

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Thank you @Karys_Battenfield @Vickel and @blbossard for your suggestions! I’m so happy to have a community like this were I can continue to grow in Jesus. I’m in 1st John right now for my personal reading and will do my best to try these different ways of studying the bible.

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1 John is a great book. I just read it recently myself. And I’m with @blbossard with trying to understand the big picture first before trying to get into specifics! The bible is one big story of God’s plan through the ages both being prophesied and fulfilled in Jesus. So getting a big picture is great. But that idea of going though a passage/book a few times and as you go getting more specific is a great thing to do!

Karys x

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Regarding bible study perspectives being categorized into personal or doctrinal: I have never split them apart like that… The way I’ve come to see things “bolt together” theologically is one in the same with my personal viewpoint and worldviews. If I can’t “buy it” personally I wrestle with it theologically.

Before getting into “techniques” I would point out that among the “laws of finding things” that in order to effectively find something that is buried or hidden or lost, you must believe there’s a decent likelihood the thing you’re looking for is actually located among the things your searching. For example: If you were certain your lost wallet (containing a large sum of money) was somewhere in your bedroom you’d be almost guaranteed to find it, if it is there to be found. Conversely if you don’t believe it’s there you’d possibly not find it even if it was sitting in plain sight.

So, maybe there’s not really a technique to getting convinced that the bible is credible and valuable and that the answers are actually there to be found. But I’m just saying that no amount of technique can replace that.

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Hey @nathan, what a great question!
I personally enjoy shifting between different methods according to the text I’m studying (whether it’s a narrative, a poetic excerpt, an epistle …)

Here are 2 Bible study methods that my cousin recently shared with me:

A. Examine it method
When we read God’s word, He speaks to us, but what is he saying and what is he
asking us to do? One of the secrets to good bible study is asking the right kinds of
questions. Use these four questions to help you hear God speak:

  1. God?
  2. People/me?
  3. Jesus?
  4. S.P.E.C.

Spelled out:

1.What does this tell us about God?
2.What does this tell us about people/me?
3.How does this point to Jesus (whether by comparison/contrast)?
4.What do you need to do? (S.P.E.C.)
-Sin to confess? Promise to claim? Example to follow? Command to obey?
(Don’t be a hearer of the word only; do it! James 1)

B. Imagine it method
This approach typically works best with stories or parables. Try to imagine the Biblical
scene in your mind. What would you think, feel, or do if you were in this situation?
Then see yourself as a different character in the story, and ask yourself the same
questions again.
Next, ask yourself these questions: “Who do I identify with most in this story? How
does their situation apply to my life right now? What is God trying to say to me?” Then
take a few minutes to write down your thoughts, observations, questions, or any action
items you need to take.
When you start picturing a scene on the movie screen of your mind, Scripture comes
alive to you and you begin to see it in a whole new light.

Hope these prove helpful !
Many blessings,
Linda

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LInda, I think that you have touched on a very important part of Bible study. We sometimes treat it too much like an intellectual exercise. It is very important for us to remember that we are reading about real people with real struggles in real places at real times. We need to read the Bible as we would any other great piece of literature. If I do not shed a tear when David cries, “Oh my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!” (2 Samuel 19:4, ESV) or feel chills run up and down my back when Heavenly fire incinerates Elijah’s altar (1 Kings 18:38), or chuckle when Paul claims ignorance that a man who he has just chastised was the high priest (Acts 23:5), then we have not fully engaged with God’s Word.

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Hi Nathan! I can totally relate to what you’re asking because this is something that I was clueless about before. I’d like to share what I do personally.

  1. I read my bible chronologically, I looked up a bible plan that arranges the books of the bible according to how the events happened. This is for me to understand better the whole narrative. I read at least a chapter a day.

This is the reading plan I’m following: https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-reading-plan/chronological.html

  1. I look up the background of the book, who’s the writer, what’s the setting, and what’s the global message of the book.

  2. For personal study, I look into the chapter and try to see what he chapter says about:

  • God’s character
  • Man’s heart
  • Sins to avoid
  • Commands to obey
    …and write down the verses that support those.
  1. I try to write down practical ways to apply what I’ve learned. For example, in Ephesians 4:29 “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them”. My specific application is to affirm my family members whenever they do something kind or helpful or initiated to do something good.

I hope these are helpful!

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