October 2, 2011

How to stop being buddies with sins III: Approaches to bible study

In the story of Mary and Martha, Jesus made it clear the kind of relationship he desired with his people. God understands that we have affairs of life to attend to but those affairs can be better taken care of if we can spend time at his feet like Mary.

When Martha interrupted Jesus to report Mary; Jesus said Mary has chosen what was vital and it will not be taken from her. Let’s learn to come at Jesus feet to receive strength, power, wisdom, joy, peace and patience to face whatever challenges may come our way.

Studying the word is being at the Lord’s feet, hanging on every word and tapping from the Most High.

One of the reasons a number of people do not read the bible is because they don’t understand it. I used to have such a challenge when I used King James Version of the Bible. However, studying the bible has been a delight since I discovered The Message. This version has made me realize the bible is applicable to a 21st century Christian. Yes, bible versions in contemporary English such as The Message can help us appreciate the word of God.

Come to the word prayerfully and determined to be dealt with, willing to let God reproduce his character in you. Then you can get up from your place of study having taken a dose for the day which will nourish and keep you.

There are a number of ways to approach the study of the bible. You can choose any approach or apply a number of approaches.

Study by book
You may study by choosing a book to read. If you are new to the word or you have decided to return to the basics in your relationship with God, I would recommend the book of John which I am reading currently. It teaches a lot about Jesus and how he related with our father in heaven. If Christ is our model, then we ought to learn how he succeeded here on earth to obey his father till the end.

Afterwards you may choose to read the other books of the gospel – Matthew, Mark and Luke; and some letters of Paul such as Romans and Hebrews. In Romans, Paul discusses the life, death and resurrection of Christ and exposes the beneficial implications to us while in Hebrews, he teaches us to let go and let God. You can read the books one after the other until you have read all and then you start all over again.

Study by Topic
You may also choose to study the word by topic. If there is any topic you don’t understand or you want to know more about; you can do so with the help of a concordance. Perhaps you want to know what God says about suffering or self-sacrifice; then you can make use of study tools to achieve this. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance can help you undertake an exhaustive study of the topic.

Study by symbols, people or time
Fire, water, earth, passover, tabernacle, numbers, places and colours for instance are symbolic and worthy of study. The number 3 is symbolic for balance or completion while number 7 is for perfection. Purple is for royalty and gold is for kingdom. I also see gold as refinement. So you may choose to study to know what these symbols signify.

You may choose to study the lives of people such as Jesus, Abraham, Daniel, Joseph, Steven, David etc. How you want to study by time is up to you – flood age, fire age, Christian age, before Christ or after Christ etc.

In addition, you can use a number of study tools in order to enrich your output.

Have a study notebook
A number of times as you study and ponder on the word, God may expound a passage or verse and it will be great to write what he is telling you and you can meditate on it. Many days later, when you read what you have written down, it will be fresh. God’s word is so alive that each time we study; there is always a fresh angle to it.

Look for study tools
You can use commentaries, bible dictionaries, Bible guides such as devotionals

A site to go for a number of bible study tools is BibleStudyTools

Now having studied, Apply!

Ephesians 6:13-17 (The Message)

Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life. God's Word is an indispensable weapon.

Need I say more? You are more blessed if you are a doer of God’s word. You are an overcomer if you are a doer of God’s word.

Like the song by casting crown; at the Lord’s feet we find all we need, we ought to dwell there and never leave. Yes, we should operate from there. Sin cannot be your buddy if you operate from God’s feet.

How do you study the bible? Share by leaving a comment to motivate and encourage others.


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