When setting out to study the Bible, it is a good idea to have a few Bible study tools. These can greatly aid us in understanding Scripture. There are many different kinds of tools available, from Bible dictionaries to commentaries to having multiple translations. However, one of the most important study tools we can have is the knowledge how to understand and apply what we read in Scripture. It is only when the Word becomes alive and real to you that it becomes beneficial.
In previous lessons, I explained 6 Guidelines for Bible study, and how to find the seed in God’s Word. This study tool will take you a step further by showing you how to identify the purpose of each seed. This, in turn, will help you find the seed – that which can produce life.
When my pastor set members in as Bible teachers in our church, he provided us with a useful 10-point Bible study tool to help us focus our lessons. As part of our preparation, he wanted us to write an outline of each lesson and note which points were covered in each part of the lesson. Each point expresses God’s purpose or instruction for that verse or passage. These points are:
- For believing
- For understanding
- For building faith
- For application in daily living
- For denying self
- For edification of the inner man
- For establishing authority in Christ
- For renewing of the mind
- For relationship to Christ
- For relationship to others
Most of the time, a verse or a Bible subject will incorporate more than one of these points. When we do a study, we can choose whether to expound a little on every point, or we can focus in and seek greater understanding on only one or two of the points. The first choice will help us understand how Scripture fits together as a whole. The second will make the Scripture come to life for us. Thus, this Bible study tool is useful both for personal study and for teachers.
We need to use both methods to gain the most benefit out of study. Understanding how it all fits together will help keep us from straying into error. For example, when we understand that the God of the New Testament is still the same God as found in the Old Testament, then we will understand that He does not wink at sin and that He expects us to learn His ways. This will help to keep us balanced when we read about God’s grace and mercy in the New Testament. God does not change.
When we have the foundation of understanding, then God can begin to show us the deeper things, and we will be less likely to sink into error and heresy. Following the above example, we will then understand that even Old Testament saints were saved by God’s grace through their faith and belief, just as we are. The works of the Law were a way of expressing their faith. The sacrificial system was in place to teach them that the wages of sin is death, and to point to Christ, the Messiah, who would fulfill the Law when He was crucified.
This 10-point Bible study tool can help us discover both the broad meaning of Scripture and the deeper truths of God. I will cover each point in a series of separate lessons, so you can understand how to apply each to your personal study, or how to use it in developing Bible lessons.
UPDATE: Check out my latest book, Practical Guide to Bible Study. It includes expanded versions of these online articles, plus several new chapters on Bible study. It also includes studies on 2John and 3John. It is available for sale from Amazon.com as paperback or Kindle (7/6/14), and will soon be available from other online retailers. It is about how to make Bible study practical in our everyday lives as believers.http://www.amazon.com/Practical-Guide-Bible-Study-SIMPLE/dp/1500352578/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404651213&sr=1-1&keywords=christopher+perdue