“I want to know God’s Word better. Can you provide me with a plan to help me get there?”
Here are five helpful steps to ensure you are effectively studying God’s Word.
Step 1 — Reading
Begin by developing a plan on how you will approach reading through the Bible. Unlike most books, you will probably not read it straight through from cover to cover. There are many good Bible reading plans available. Here is one John recommends:
- Read through the Old Testament at least once a year. As you read, note in the margins any truths you particularly want to remember, and write down separately anything you do not immediately understand. Often as you read you will find that many questions are answered by the text itself. The questions to which you cannot find answers become the starting points for more in-depth study using commentaries or other reference tools.
- Follow a different plan for reading the New Testament. Read one book at a time repetitiously for a month or more. That will help you retain the New Testament so you will not always have to depend on a concordance to find things.
If you want to try that, begin with a short book, such as 1 John, and read it through in one sitting every day for thirty days. At the end of that time, you will know the book. Write on index cards the major theme of each chapter. By referring to the cards as you do your daily reading, you will begin to remember the content of each chapter. In fact, you will develop a perception of the book with your mind’s eye.
When you come to longer books, divide them into short sections and read each section daily for thirty days. For example, the gospel of John contains twenty-one chapters. Divide it into three sections of seven chapters. At the end of ninety days, you will finish John. For variety, alternate short and long books, and in less than three years you will have finished the entire New Testament–and you will really know it!
Step 2 — Interpreting
In Acts 8:30, Philip asked the Ethiopian eunuch, “Do you understand what you are reading?” Or put another way, “What does the Bible mean by what it says?” It is not enough to read the text and jump directly to the. . .[continue reading]