By Paula Marolewski
“Do you read the Bible?”
“Of course I do!”
“Then, what did you learn today?”
The first question is easy. The second leaves us stumped. We could
give answers like, “Well, I learned that David killed Goliath,” or, “I
read that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.” But we have
the feeling that isn’t quite what is meant. We need to make
the transition from merely reading the Bible to actively studying the Bible.
I know the protests: “I don’t have time!” “I
don’t know how!” “I’m not a Bible scholar!” “I
don’t know Greek!”
The answers to those are equally simple: You have time for what
is important. You can learn how. You don’t have to be a Bible
scholar. You don’t have to know Greek.
There are many ways of studying the Bible. All of them are beneficial.
Some people enjoy using commentaries, historical references, word
studies (even Greek!), or study guides. I recommend trying all
of these study aids at some point in order to find what you like
best and what helps you the most to grow in “the grace and
knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Which is, after all,
the purpose for which we study the Bible.)
But we should also have a plan for studying the Bible with nothing
but the Bible in front of us, a piece of paper and a pen, and fifteen
Step One: Pick a passage.
Step Two: Read it carefully.
Step Three: Explain the passage in your own words. (Even if you
may not understand certain specific verses, paraphrase the general
gist of the section.)
Step Four: Ask yourself -- What does this passage tell me about
Step Five: Ask yourself -- What does this passage tell me about
Step Six: Ask yourself -- How can I apply this to my life? Am
I in a similar circumstance? Do I really understand this aspect
of God’s nature? What can I learn about myself from this
Step Seven: Pray for increased faith and understanding about God
-- specifically, about what you have learned about him from the
passage. Pray for changes in yourself to become more “a man
or woman after God’s own heart” -- specifically, in
the ways you have learned from this passage.
Take a quick example: read the story of David and Goliath. If
you just read it, you might be able to say that David killed Goliath,
the Israelites beat the Philistines, etc. If you study it as above,
you might say the following:
How could I re-state this story? David killed Goliath against
all odds, with nothing but a stone and a sling and belief that
God could do it.
What do I learn about God? God is willing and able to work powerfully
(even miraculously) in our lives when we turn to him in faith.
What do I learn about man? David wasn’t a soldier or a hero
-- he was a kid who was a shepherd who had been faithful in tending
his sheep . . . and he became a hero of Israel with a little faith,
a stone, and a sling.
How can I apply this to my life? Do I believe that God is willing
and able to work powerfully in my life? Do I have the kind of faith
David showed? Have I been faithful in “tending the sheep”?
(After all, that was where David learned the courage and skill
he showed against Goliath.) Do I dream as big as David did? Or
do I settle for defeat and mediocrity?
And pray . . . Lord, I praise you for being an all-powerful God.
For being a God who takes shepherds and makes them heroes. For
being a God who delights in our faith and pours out his power through
our lives in response to our faith. Help me to be more like David:
to tend the ordinary things in my life faithfully, yet to dream
God-sized dreams, and to develop the faith to believe that you
will turn those dreams into a grace-filled reality.
© 2001 Paula Marolewski
Article Source: http://www.sinkyourroots.com
About the Author:
Paula J. Marolewski provides challenging
and interactive adult Bible
studies for individuals,
Bible studies, small groups, and adult Sunday School classes at
Sink Your Roots. Studies
include such topics as Debunking
the Myths about Knowing God's Will. The site also offers
free weekly Seedlings - “Little
thoughts that grow big results.”