by Erin Bird
I’m excited today to start a new blog series with you today. As our Growth Groups get ready to launch next week, the Elder Team thought it would be helpful for all of us to take some time to consider how you can get the most out of your Bible. So over the next few weeks, we are going to look at several different approaches to reading and studying the Bible, what some call “Bible Study methods.” This won’t be an exhaustive series, but hopefully one of the posts in the next few weeks will spark something that will help you go deeper in your understanding of Scripture and help you “get the most out of your Bible.”
But before we launch into the series next week, let me make a few preparatory comments:
1. Get a Bible
This is rather obvious, but in order to study the Bible, you have to have a Bible.
Almost every time I teach at Riverwood, you’ve heard me invite everyone to open their Bibles, and if they don’t have one, to either pick one up off the Give & Grow table, or to download one to their phone. And I don’t say this every week because I like hearing it come out my mouth. I say it because I truly want everyone to have a Bible!
So if for some reason you don’t have a Bible yet – get one! Find the Bible that’s been sitting on your bookshelf and put it on your nightstand or end table where you will pick it up every day. If you don’t have a paper-copy of the Bible, then this Sunday at our Worship Gathering, take one from the Give & Grow table and make it yours. Or if you want to go digital, head to Bible.com to download the appropriate app for your phone or tablet.
2. Come to the Bible
Next, if you are going to get the most out of your Bible, you have to have a plan to come to the Bible.
You might need to:
- schedule it into your day
- make a rule for yourself that you can’t open Instagram or watch Netflix or read the newspaper until you’ve spent time in the Word
- ask someone to hold you accountable to reading it
- sit down with a good friend or your spouse and read together
The point is that if you are going to read and study the Bible, then you need to discipline yourself to actually open it.
3. Be Open to the Bible
Lastly, as you come to the Bible to study it, don’t simply bring your preconceived ideas to it.
If you put on glasses with colored lenses, everything you see will carry the hue of the spectacles. Sadly, many people read the Bible with “colored” lenses. They see the words only through their own preferences, or culture, or past.
But as I’ve heard it said, “Don’t just read the Bible, let the Bible read you.” No matter which Bible study method you might be employing, always take a moment to pray and ask God to lead and guide you as you study His Word. Stay humble as you read, open to what He wants to teach you.
After all, the goal in Bible study isn’t just Bible knowledge, Scriptural consumption, or a spiritual task checked off our to-do list. The goal is to see God make us more like Jesus. So stay open to God’s work in your life as you read, even if it makes you uncomfortable.
So join me next week as we look at our first Bible study method – the S.O.A.P. approach.