How to Study the Bible

Here are some tips for studying the Bible on your own.

–Read the Bible a lot. Over and over. Cover to cover. Try at least once to read it as quickly as possible, like under a month.

–Question everything. Write down questions as you read it, then when you read it again, see how many more questions you get and how many old ones you can now answer. Don’t be afraid to question anything and everything.

–Ignore formal theology. Don’t read merely to find verses to back up or attack doctrines. Just read what it says. Otherwise you’ll miss half the message because your brain is arguing theology.

–Avoid dumb Bible study questions like, “what does this mean to me?” or “how can I apply this to my life today?” They tend to make the Bible all about you. One of the points of the Bible is that it’s about no longer you but Christ. Focus more on God’s/the author’s point, on aspects of human nature, what is God like, etc.

–Context. Context. Context. If you don’t know the whole flow of the Bible you won’t know the context of each book. If you don’t know the context of each book you won’t know the context of the chapter, thus you won’t know the point of any given verse. Concordances, although helpful when used right, have been one of the most destructive biblical tools ever invented. One word can be used in many contexts. Not all contexts mean the same thing. A text without a context is a pretext for a proof text.

–Think critically. Why does God say what He says? How does this relate to what He said before or after? Examine it to know what’s going on. Get past Sunday School level thinking. Be real. Be honest. Think about all of it.

–Explain passages to people. The best way to understand a passage is to explain the passage. If you can’t explain it; you don’t understand it. This doesn’t have to be formal, it can just be talking to your wife. Write it out or speak it out. It is best to explain it to someone to get feedback and input. The Body of Christ edifies itself. You can’t understand the Bible in isolation—that’s why there’s a Body of Believers. Spiritual gifts in other people are there to help you, just as your gifts are there to help others. People who study the Bible alone get very weird ideas. Avoid weird ideas by not avoiding other believers.

To summarize:

Read it
Question it
Think on it
Explain it

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