Do you find yourself bored reading the Bible? With so many books, chapters, and verses, nothing seems to make sense. Sometimes (or often), you are lost wondering what these verses mean, and how everything fits together.
As a follower of Jesus, you read the Bible just because you know you should. But you’ve never been able to get the full benefits and make it meaningful for you.
The Bible has intrigued many generations of readers. It has impacted the lives of many people. In fact, the Bible says that it is God’s personal message to people.
Here is a simple three step method to read, study, and meditate on the Bible.
When you sit down to read, pray and ask God to come and fill you with His Spirit. The Holy Spirit will guide you throughout this process of meditation. Select one paragraph or section. Use the subheadings within the chapters as a guideline for reading. Focus on just one of those sections.
1. Observation: Discover what the text says
As you read, ask the basic five W’s: Who?, What?, When?, Where? and Why?
- Who is speaking? Who is the writer? Who is this text initially meant for? Who are the main characters in this story?
- What is the main subject? What is at stake here?
- When was this written? When did this story take place?
- Where did the events of this story occur?
- Why was this text written, or why were these words spoken?
Questions such as these are important for understanding the background of the text. At this point, you may not feel competent to answer all these questions in a complete manner. But that’s fine. Just wrestling with these questions will move you to a deeper understanding of the text.
For further study, you can use Bible Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, and Commentaries. These are good tools that will help you to answer some of the above questions.
2. Interpretation: Discover what the text meant
As you work on answering the questions for observation, you will improve in understanding the situation of the people.
Now, consider the context. What is the situation in which the story takes place, or the situation in which the teaching is given?
When you understand their situation, you’ll be able to understand what it meant to the people at that time.
What it meant depends on the needs and concerns of the people of that time.
3. Application: Discover what the text means for you
Once you find what it meant to the people of that time, you are ready for the final step, to discover what the text means for you today.
- Find the general principle. A principle is the basic truth that is applicable in all societies and all times.
- Take that general principle and apply it to your life and your current situation.
- Make the application personal, and measurable.
- Personal – Rather than a great theological statement, make it something that connects with your life.
- Measurable – Identify what you can do this week to begin to apply that truth to your life.
This week, try using this system for your personal Bible study. Then, come back to this post and leave a comment and let us know how this works for you.
*This system of studying the Bible has been called Inductive Bible Study.