Question: Bible Study? What is that?
Answer: Studying the Bible.
All right! Class dismissed. We can all go home now!
Question: But wait, is it really that simple?
Answer: Well….. yes & no.
Bible study is a simple concept, yes. But it, like quiet time, is incredibly individual to the person doing it. Bible study means different things to different people. But, unlike quiet time, it is always involves one thing…actually studying the Bible. The process of the study is what is different for people. So let’s go through the different styles of Bible study you may see:
- Reading: My mom would simply sit & just read her Bible. She would read every morning during her quiet time & throughout the day would meditate on what she had read. I don’t ever remember seeing her use resources to help her understand or to really dig into certain things.
- Group Study: These are studies written by someone else. They require you to read, answer questions, and maybe watch a video along with it or pull in outside resources.
- Inductive: Inductive studies are when scripture interprets scripture. The use of outside resources (commentaries, books, etc.) are limited. These types of studies are normally done with a specific style Bible, but can be done without that as well.
- Word Study: Using a Bible dictionary or software, every use of a specific word in the Bible is looked up & dissected. For example, if you wanted to do a study on the word “love”, you would look up all the verses in the Bible that mentioned love. (Clearly this would be a very long study.) The intent is to get a large overarching and well-rounded view on the Biblical take on love, & to discover all the possible meanings and uses of the word.
- Topical Study: This is similar to a word study but focuses on a topic instead of just one word. An example of this could be a study done specifically on creation. With that, you would start in Genesis & look up all the cross-references throughout the Bible that reference the story of creation. This is what most Bible studies revolve around that are done with a group.
- Book Study: Studying one book of the Bible at a time, this style of study gets you to a complete & well-rounded grasp on the subjects & themes throughout that book. This would most likely integrate many of the other types of study as well.
You can see there are a lot of different types of Bible studies. I am sure I didn’t even name them all; these are just the types I have been a part of personally. Other tools and resources that appear in different styles of Bible study are are commentaries, different Bible translations, Bible dictionaries, maps, and study Bibles. Some of these will be covered in weeks to come, but the options for how to study your Bible are endless. Regardless of how we study, there is one thing we need to remember more than anything else, & it comes from 1 John 2:27:
But the anointing that you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie – just as it has taught you, abide in Him.
The beautiful thing about being a believer & having the Spirit in us is that we don’t need those things – those other resources and teachers – in order to study and understand the Bible. The Spirit is our teacher, so we don’t need other things to understand the Word. They are helpful & God has given a very special gift to the people who write these resources, but He has given us the most precious gift of all: the Spirit, who teaches us & interprets these things for us. I don’t necessarily mean that you will receive some divine word coming down from the heavens with clouds parting & harps chiming, but that you will grow to understand the Bible as you read it & pray about it. The more you learn about God & His word & His character, the more you will understand.
Over the next two weeks Jessica & Keisha will take us into a few of those resources more in-depth, so be sure to check back here every Monday & Wednesday for more of our Foundations study. If you aren’t already, don’t forget to follow along with us on Facebook & Instagram for more peeks into our daily lives & walks with God. Let’s do this community thing together.