How to Begin to Study the Bible
We understand that you've recently become a Christian. That's truly wonderful. Now you're a child of God by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ... It is of the greatest necessity that you daily feed on the Bible which is the Word of God. This Book is a divinely given means of growth in grace and the knowledge of Christ (2 Pet. 3:18).
As you learn the delightful lesson of daily feeding on God's Word, you will become stronger and wiser, and happier in the Christian life. Conversely too, if you fail to consistently study the Book of books, you will be unlearned in divine things, a prey particularly to every wind of false doctrine, weak in ability to serve Christ, and continually unhappy. And all of that is bad, very bad.
Let me repeat: There is no progress in the Christian life without Bible Study on a daily scale. It is sustenance, encouragement, guidance, comfort. It is food, drink, light, life. There is nothing in the Christian experience which can take its place. To ignore it is to despise your Christian progress, to insult the God that has planned your highest success.
...Our purpose now is to show you how to begin to study the Bible.
- You'll never understand Bible Study until you understand this principle. Studying the Bible is different from studying any other book of all the earth's millions. It's different because its author's comprehension is different.
- God is the Author of this incomparable Book. This fact is explicitly stated some thousand times, and implicitly implied in every word. More than that, there is a wealth of substantiating evidence surrounding the Scriptures which offers completely satisfying proof to the honest inquirer.
- This being true, the contents of the Book are divine, the wisdom is heavenly, the truths are transcendent. They are beyond the ability of mere human wisdom to either formulate or appreciate. Nor are they learned by application of human diligence.
- Rather, God's method of imparting His infinite wisdom is by revelation. By that we mean simply that to the earnest, seeking soul God will gladly unveil His truth. This unveiling is without reference to riches or poverty, education or ignorance, color of skin or length of years.
- More than that, God earnestly desires to reveal Truth to the sons of men. This is the purpose of the Bible. This is proved by the miracle of the unprecedented distribution of the Book. To all this you may add the immeasurable Gift of the Teacher of the Bible, the Holy Spirit.
- What then? Lesson number one surely is, that in order to study the Bible one must learn the proper approach. We must recognize first, that God's truth is received only in God's way; and second, that God reveals truth only to sincere, teachable, obedient hearts.
- What utter folly to approach the Bible with the attitude .... "let God show me, and I will consider as to whether I will accept. Rather, it should be ... "dear God, show me Thy truth, and this will automatically become the law of my life."
- Then, ... as you proceed, let your study moments be bathed in prayer. Let your heart cry out continually for enlightenment, and let your soul repeatedly praise the God of all wisdom.
- Now, a few practical words. You should own a well-bound, clearly printed Bible. One that feels comfortable to you. Perhaps even two, with one to carry places, and one to be "at home" on your study table.
- There are many translations. But one that has stood the test of time is the greatly beloved King James version. Safely accurate, it has blessed the hearts of countless Christians for over three centuries. You may safely rely upon it.
- Perhaps the best study Bible is the Scofield Reference Bible. This is the King James version with Dr. Scofield's valuable notes and a helpful system of chain references.
- The first law of successful study is simply to read. Every moment spent in prayerful reading will most certainly reward you. And while your devotional reading may of necessity occupy only minutes daily, your study time should be as much as you can afford. One of the most amazing features of Bible reading is its perennial freshness. No matter how many times a passage is read it never seems to grow old.
- Do not be disturbed over difficult passages. If you could understand the Bible at first reading it would then demonstrably be of the same stature as other books. You'll also find plenty you can understand.
- There are many methods of studying the Bible.
- There are tools too. Everyone who is serious in study should obtain a good Bible Dictionary and a Concordance. The dictionary will explain terms, places and persons. The concordance will enable you to find quickly the location of any verse in Scripture.
- Eventually you may plan to provide yourself with helpful commentaries. These are explanatory books by various authors. Some cover the whole Bible, some only a book or two.
- But read for yourself the Bible first. Endeavor to read an entire book at a sitting. Don't hesitate to read it a number of times, thoughtfully, unhurriedly. So the Bible will become really yours.
Copied and edited from Believer's First Bible Course by William W. Orr. Wheaton, Illinois: Scripture Press Publications, ©1956.
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