At Calvary Chapel of Clayton, we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God. This is why we teach book-by-book, chapter-by-chapter, and verse-by-verse. As the Word of God, we know the Bible speaks directly to every situation in our daily lives.
The Bible tells us that it is God's desire that each of us study his Word. Often, individuals find studying the Bible a daunting task. It is our hope that the following information helps with guiding the reader through a fulfilling study of the Word.
Pray for Wisdom and Understanding
The most often overlooked and undervalued aspect of Bible study is prayer. Yet prayer is essential to gaining wisdom and understanding when you read God’s Word. Through prayer, you can approach God and acknowledge your incomplete knowledge of His Word, as well as your need for Him to open your heart to His instruction. Therefore, determine to begin each study with prayer. Only God can give you the wisdom to understand His Word.
If you received a letter and read only a few sentences here and there, the letter would not make much sense to you. But if you read the letter in order, you would understand it. The same holds true when you read the Bible.
Sadly, many Christians do not realize the shallowness of this approach. They read a portion of Matthew, a story from Daniel, a verse or two from Exodus, and then a chapter or so from Revelation and wonder why they do not have a good understanding of God’s Word. Furthermore, they end up misinterpreting the meaning of these passages because they have failed to grasp the context from which they came.
To avoid developing this poor habit, you need to discipline yourself to read the Bible in an orderly manner. One way to do this is to use an established reading plan. A reading plan lists Scripture passages to be read in a certain order. Many of the existing plans were created with a goal in mind. Some plans break the whole Bible down into 365 daily readings. Others help you read through the Bible in the order that the events actually happened.
Finish What You Start
In life, the benefits of doing anything are often not realized until the task is completed. The same is true when reading a book from the Bible.
Once you choose a book to read, read it from beginning to end. Although you may benefit spiritually by reading a verse from one book or a story from another, you will benefit more by reading the entire book from which the verse or story came. Reading the entire book puts each verse and story in its proper context.
Thus, you will have a better understanding of what each verse and story means. In addition, by reading books from beginning to end, you will become more familiar with the Bible as a whole. You may even discover passages that will one day become your favorites.
Meditate on God’s Word and Ask Questions
Thinking about what you have read cannot be overemphasized. Meditating on what you have read helps you to discover the importance of the passage. It also helps you to examine your life in light of what God reveals in His Word.
One of the best ways to begin meditating on God’s Word is to ask questions. Here are a few questions to help you get started:
To see how the text might apply to you personally, ask yourself these questions:
Invest in a Few Good Resource Books
The Bible alludes to many ancient customs that are completely unfamiliar to us today. Much of the subtle meaning behind these allusions that would give us greater insight into and appreciation for God’s Word is therefore lost. To understand the culture in which the Bible was written, you may want to purchase a few good biblical resource books.