Do you want to be a better student of Scripture, but struggle with where to begin? Do you hear someone talk about a “quiet time” and wonder what that even means? Trust me, you are not alone.
Several years ago, my grandpa passed away and we were going through some things in his home. Packed away in an upstairs bedroom there was a box. In that box were letters he and my grandma had written to each other when he was overseas during World War II. He had to leave her for a short time, but he promised to come back and he told her of his love. In return, she told him how she would be strong while he was gone and would faithfully wait for his return.
The Bible is not a list of dos and don’ts. It is not a bunch of “you do this or else” warnings. It’s a love letter. It is God saying to His beloved (those of us who are in Christ), You are mine and we will be together very soon. It’s one big, romantic, love letter written just for you. It is God promising to come again for us. It is a declaration of His love. Scripture is where we find strength, comfort and the ability to wait faithfully for His return. Do not read the Bible like a textbook. Cherish it like a love letter.
With that in mind, here are some tips for studying Scripture.
- Pray. Before you begin reading, ask God to help you understand what you are about to read. The Bible tells us that, after the resurrection, Christ appeared to His disciples and taught them. We are told that Christ “opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45.) Ask Him to do the same for you.
- Read Slowly. It is very popular these days to read the Bible in 90 days. There are a thousand read-the-Bible-in-a-year plans. There is NOTHING wrong with doing those things. However, to truly “study” the Word, take your time. Think “love letter.” Imagine how you would pour over every word.
- Read in context. Ask questions. Who is speaking? Who is listening? Where are they? Think about the passage I just referenced above, Luke 24:36-48. Read verse 37. But they were startled and terrified and thought they were seeing a ghost. How is that for drama, folks? That makes you want to go read the whole passage, doesn’t it? So, you’re going to ask yourself some questions. Who are “they?” They are the disciples of Christ. Who were they mistaking for a ghost? It was Christ. Why were they terrified to see Christ? They were scared because He has already, at this point, been crucified. Do you feel the tension? The excitement?
- What now? When you have finished reading a portion of Scripture, ask yourself, “What now?” Is there a command that you need to obey? Is there a promise that you can claim? Is there a sin that you need to repent of and move on from?
I pray you find these tips helpful as you read God’s love letter to you.
You are loved, my friends.