Have you ever sat down to read your Bible, but not known where to start? You open your Bible randomly and begin reading. But your to-do list keeps running through your head. Then your phone rings and you’re off to check the latest news. By the time you remember your goal of studying the Bible, you’ve completely forgotten where you were. Just when you find your place again, you realize it’s time to get ready for work.
If you relate, don’t despair. We all struggle with making Bible study a priority. Often our challenge stems from not knowing how to study.
In 1 John 1:1-3, the Apostle John says he saw, touched and fellowshipped with Jesus — the Word of life. “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.” (1 John 1:1-3)
Though we can’t physically walk with Jesus, we can have just as real of an experience with Him through His Word as John did. Here are five things that help make Bible study time the highlight of every day:
1. Setting Aside a Time & Place: God deserves our complete focus! Schedule time with God just like you schedule your other appointments. First thing in the morning is always the best. Take it from Jesus. “In the morning, rising a great while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place and there He prayed.” (Mark 1:35)
2. A Heart Preparation: It’s been said that our mind is like a parachute; it only works when it’s open. So, take time before you study to pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and a desire to learn and listen. “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:13,14)
3. Reading—A Matter of How: Most importantly, read contextually. If you read a verse, read the whole chapter it is found in. If you’re reading a few chapters, then read the whole book. “Whom will he teach knowledge? And whom will he make to understand the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just drawn from the breasts? For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.” (Isaiah 28:9,10) “Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.” (Luke 24:44,45)
4. A Greater Understanding: Bible study is an opportunity for a God-led conversation. Jesus loved asking questions because those who listened carefully would then ask Him questions. This exchange of questions led to life-changing understanding. Try asking questions like these in your Bible study: “Who is this about?” “What does this tell me about humanity (and me)?” “What can I learn about God?” “How does this apply to me today?” “Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.” (Luke 2:46,47)
5. Oh, to Remember: Two things are important for remembering what you learn: 1) Write it down, just at the moment of learning, and 2) Share the Biblical insights God gave you with someone else. “Who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near… saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia…” (Revelation 1:2,3,11)
We encourage you to begin to practice these five things in your Bible study this week. We know you’ll be blessed. And this is just the beginning! Look for more blog posts on how to study the Bible and pray, how to share your faith, resources for deeper study and much more in the coming months. So, keep reading!!
Learn more about having a conversation with God by reading Job 38-40; Luke 24:13-34; and Acts 9:1-22.
P.S. Are there things you do that help you to enjoy studying God’s Word? We would love to hear about it!
Note: This devotional is part of a 10 part series on 5 Keys to Enjoying God’s Word. If you have not already, please take time to read the devotionals in the series. How to Turn on God’s Alarm Clock, Finding a Quiet Place Alone with God, Faith – Essential Preparation for Bible Study, A Willing Heart for Bible Study, How to Read the Bible, and Tools for Bible Study, Conversation with God, How to be Transformed by God’s Word, God’s Seven Tools for Remembering, Why God Wants You to Share What You Learn. Also, please see the related video devotionals with Pastor McKenzie.