Study God’s Word
Proverbs 2:1-5 says, “Good friend, take to heart what I’m telling you; collect my counsels and guard them with your life. Tune your ears to the world of Wisdom; set your heart on a life of Understanding. That’s right—if you make Insight your priority, and won’t take no for an answer, Searching for it like a prospector panning for gold, like an adventurer on a treasure hunt, Believe me, before you know it Fear-of-God will be yours; you’ll have come upon the Knowledge of God (The Message).
What are some of the key action words in this passage
What are some of the key words used to describe God’s Word in this passage?
2 Timothy 2:15 tells us, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” (NIV).
What insight do you get from this verse in 2 Timothy about the importance of studying God’s Word?
Psalm 119.18 says, “Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions” (NLT). Remember how in a previous lesson we talked about the importance of receptivity? This verse is all about asking God to open us up to His Word!
Are there times in your life when you are very open to God’s Word?
When are you not open to the truth of God’s Word?
Is there anything you can do to stay more open to what the Bible has to say to your life?
Study is more than just reading. Just as reading the Bible involves more intentionality and thought than hearing it, so studying it requires more intentionality and thought than reading it. One way that you can achieve good results from your study time is to write down what you discover. Reading is faster than study and gives you the overall picture, but study requires that you think and remember. Yes, this is more time-consuming … but it will be worth the effort!
What are you presently learning from your study of God’s Word?
In John 8.31-32, Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (NLT).
What do you learn from these verses?
There are actually several ways you can study the Bible:
- A word (such as grace, faith, love, sin)
- A single verse (such as Hebrews 12:1, 1 John 1.5)
- A passage or chapter (such as Ephesians 1, or Ephesians 1:15-23, Proverbs 3)
- A book (any!)
A 4-Step Process
Before you begin your study, consider this 4-step process to help you gain the most from your time in God’s Word.
Step 1 Pray
Ask the Holy Spirit for insight and understanding! Open yourself up to what God wants you to see in His Word today.
Step 2 Observe
As you study the word, or verse, or passage or book you’ve chosen, you are looking for answers to the following questions?
- What does it say?
- What does it reveal about God?
- What does it reveal about having a more intimate relationship with God?
- What does this teach me about faith, hope and love?
- What new insights can I obtain about my new identity in Christ and how God has designed me?
- How does God want me to depend on Him for wisdom, strength, special abilities, and resources?
- What does this reveal about how God will meet my needs and accomplish His purposes?
- How can I resist Satan’s schemes and seek refuge in God from evil?
- How does God direct our steps toward the fulfillment of His specific plan for our life?
Not all of the study that you do will answer every one of these questions, but they provide a good framework for your thought and reflection.
Step 3 Interpret
As you read and think and reflect, consider “What does this mean?” Here a few other questions to help you identify the meaning of what you are studying:
- Is this passage to be interpreted literally or does it contain figurative words, phrases, or expressions?
- How does the context for this passage help in understanding its meaning?
- What other scriptures help to clarify or amplify the interpretation of this passage?
- What point is this trying to make?
Step 4 Apply
Here is the bottom line: What am I going to do with this new insight and understanding?
Specific Suggestions for Studying a Single Word
It is actually much easier to study a verse when you are first starting to study the Bible. If you choose to study a single word, you can use on-line searching or you will need a good Bible concordance which contains single words and a list of the verse where that word is used. What you are looking for is the different ways that word is used and what is being communicated.
Specific Suggestions for Studying a Single Verse
Begin by reading the context of the verse … what comes before it and after it.
Next, ask yourself, “Who is speaking, to whom, and what is the situation?” Visualize yourself in the situation and customs of that time and place. If possible, read in several different translations of the Bible (this is easy to accomplish with on-line resources such as www.biblegateway.com) Look up key words in the dictionary and write down their definitions. Ask questions from the “Observe” step described earlier in this lesson. Make notes! Take your study through the Step 3 and Step 4 processes!
Another way to approach a verse study is to look at each word individually within the verse. Here is an example using the first phrase of Psalm 118: 6, “The LORD is with me.”
With this approach you the verse down the left side of your paper one word at a time. In some ways we are crossing over into the “Meditate” process of experience God’s Word, but it is important to remember that all of these approaches interact with one another … not one truly stand alone! As you look at the first word, write down as much as you can about that word. Then take the second word of the verse, and spend time thinking and writing about that word, and so on until you finish the verse or phrase.
The Lord the mighty, almighty, creator, sovereign, loving, glorious
God. He is for me!
is — means right now, presently, an absolute certainty
for– purpose, goal, God knows me!, god has my best interests
at heart, He is on my side, He knows what is best for me
me– means personally, not in general, but specifically, by name.
It is awesome and exciting to contemplate “me” having such
intimacy…with God Himself!!
Read the passage in at least two different versions of the Bible and then write what it means to you personally.
Specific Suggestions for Studying a Passage or Chapter
First, read the entire chapter. Next, make an overall outline of what you have just read. Then, give it a title. Now, determine which verse is most meaningful to you at this time in your life. Finally, consider what challenge you see in the overall passage.
Specific Suggestions for Studying a Book
In many ways, the study of a book is similar to studying a passage or chapter, there’s just more of it at one time, but the process remains the same. Another great way to study a book of the Bible is to go through a study that has already been put together! These are available at various on-line sites or through a Christian book store.
Choose one way to study the Bible and work at it diligently for the next week or two (depending on what you have chosen to study).
What I plan to study:
When I plan to study: