How to Study the Bible


Luis Palau shares three simple steps to successful Bible study.

Christians sometimes neglect studying the Bible because they lack a simple, practical method that makes Bible study come alive for them. But we cannot mature spiritually unless we regularly study God's Word.

Here are three simple steps to successful Bible study:

1. Observation. Bible study begins with observation. We observe the Bible by carefully reading it daily. Noted Bible Teacher Dr. James M. Gray said, "There is only one law of Bible study, and that is to read the Book, and when you have read it, to read it again, and then sit down and read it again, and then sit down and read it once more, and by and by you will come to know the Book."

Luke is a good book to study at first. Read the entire book in one sitting in order to get a clear impression of the book as a whole. Disregard chapter and verse divisions. Read it again and again, occasionally using different translations to better grasp its message. Ask probing questions: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?

2. Interpretation. Pray for the Holy Spirit to give you understanding as you interpret the Scriptures, for apart from His illumination, proper understanding is impossible (1 John 2:20, 27). Examine the context of the passage you are interpreting. Compare it with parallel accounts and cross-references.

Although the best Bible commentary is the Bible itself, occasionally consult Bible handbooks, dictionaries, and a good atlas to help you better understand biblical lands, customs, and history. But don't spend too much time reading about the Bible without reading God's Word for yourself.

3. Application. As you seek to apply God's Word to your life, you'll find your behavior changing. Relate the Bible to all areas of your life—your strengths and weaknesses, your attitudes and actions. What does Scripture say to you as a parent or child, employee or employer?

James 1:22 tells us: "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." Obey the Word by prayerfully meditating on it with the goal of better understanding and applying it.

Observation. Interpretation. Application. These simple steps are the keys that open the door for exciting, life-changing Bible study.


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