The Bible is the very word of God. It is the source of truth and life, and thus studying the Bible is the very foundation of Christian life. It expands and refines our knowledge of God’s glory and the gospel. It builds up our trust in and obedience of God. It teaches us what God requires of His people. It warns us of sin’s destruction. It increases our wisdom. It reveals the beauty of the church to us. The Bible is of unyielding benefit to the believer. Yet, drawing these things out and being changed by them is often a struggle. Study time may falter because our minds are exercised in lieu of our hearts. We come to the Bible as a collection of facts best memorized, not as a trove of God’s truth best trusted. Without engaging our hearts with God’s Word, we miss God’s intended purpose and blessing – responding in faith to the truth of God.
I humbly submit to you three basic questions I have found beneficial in my study time. They help me utilize my mind and heart to know, appreciate, and faithfully respond to God’s truth. The first two questions exercise the mind and prepare you to answer the third question in faith. I pray they serve you well.
(Before you begin reading your Bible, start your study time in prayer. Ask God to help you know, appreciate, and respond faithfully to what you are about to study. I also suggest you write your prayers, findings, and applications down.)
Q1 – What are the details of the passage? Take your time to read through the passage a few times. Then list out the presented details of the passage – Who is talking, what does he say? Who does what, is there an explicit reason why? Is there a command, what is it? Is there conflict, how so and how is it resolved? What is the surrounding context of your passage? These (and many more) help you get the general trajectory of the passage.
Q2 – What are the general truths of the passage? Once you have a good handle on the details, think through what general truths of the passage. What do you see about God – His character, work, purposes, and promises? What do you see about humankind (both the ideal and the broken)? What do you see about Christ and the gospel? What does faithfulness look like?
Q3 – How do these truth apply to my life specifically? With a few of the passage’s truths in mind, it is time to respond in faith. Do this by applying the passage’s general truth to your life with specificity. This prepares you to be faithful and as you do your trust in God will be challenged. Apply the truth to specific-to-you topics: your relationships, finances, previous failures, repentance, trust, home life, work, idolatry, anxiety, health, church, service, and more. With faith, let the brilliance of God’s Word shape each area of your life.