To Study or Not to Study

Challies_Jan 24-30-05

I read this quote on Tim Challies blog. I believe it rings true.
Reading the Bible sure will give you a larger breadth of knowledge. It is important to have an understanding of the big picture of the Bible. I certainly advocate reading through the Bible in a year. But I strongly advocate studying the Bible one verse at a time. I would even go so far as to say: one WORD at a time.

Studying the Bible can be a daunting task. Where do I start? How do I go about studying?! I mean I haven’t studied anything since I was in high-school. I am a visual learner. I am too busy. The list of excuses goes on and on.

Well, let me suggest a book on studying the Bible. That’s right. A book that you can study to learn how you can study better. OK. Maybe, not to that extreme. But it can help.

Living by the Book by Howard Hendricks is an excellent tool to enhance your study by equipping you with tools on getting more from the Bible. Let me give three helpful tips from the book that Howard Hendricks gives as his “bread and butter” of Bible study.

  1. Observation – What do I see? 
    • This is probably the best place to start as you learn to study the Bible. Take a verse. One verse. And observe every single thing you notice in the verse. Think like a detective. Literally nothing is too small or too big for you to notice. Write down everything. Be the Sherlock Holmes of Bible study.
    • I like to individually write out each word on a separate line and then write my thoughts and observations underneath that word.
    • The goal is to stockpile as much ammunition as you can. This ammunition will load up the weapons of interpretation and application. Too often we try to interpret the Bible and apply it to our lives without actually observing what it is saying.
  2. Interpretation – What does it mean? 
  3. Application – How does it work? 

Try it out for yourself. Pick a verse this week and study it out. Begin by simply observing every single thing that comes to mind. Look up cross references and definitions and everything you can think of. Record that information. Store up your ammunition. Then you can begin to interpret and apply it later on. For now, OBSERVE. OBSERVE. And OBSERVE some more. I’ll give some more insight in the coming weeks about how we actually interpret and apply these observations.