I am honored to lead the Resources Division at LifeWay and serve with a team of leaders who are passionate to serve the Church in Her mission of making disciples. Each Wednesday I share the heart behind one of the resources our team has developed and give an opportunity for you to register to win a free copy of the resource. This week’s resource is a hardback edition of the HCSB Study Bible.
The HCSB Study Bible won the 2011 ECPA Award. People are helped in their study of the Bible with 15,000 study notes, nearly 300 word studies, 140 photographs, 24 articles, and a plethora of maps
Most Christians say they want to study their Bibles more. They also say that they can’t find the time. But the truth is we always have time for the most important things in our lives. Without the Word dwelling in us, we will not mature and grow as Christians. George Mueller said, “The vigor of our spiritual life will be in exact proportion to the place held by the Bible in our life and thoughts.”
If you want to truly engage and study the Bible, you have to be intentional. This means that you make time to do it. Maybe you set your calendar for a time early in the morning or later in the evening that (mostly) can’t be interrupted.
For others, more than the struggle with time, studying the Bible just feels like a daunting task. The Bible is very clear in one sense, and very confusing in another. In an effort to understand it better, people tend to overcomplicate the process and mistakenly spend more time reading books about the Bible rather than the Bible itself.
It’s one thing to sit down and read the Bible; it’s another thing to sit down and study the Bible. Here are a few tips to help you study the Bible.
According to the Bible itself, you can’t understand its message without the Holy Spirit’s guidance (John 14:26; 1 Cor. 2:13-15). So once you sit down to read, pray that God through the Spirit would illuminate His truth and draw you into a deeper knowledge and relationship with the Author.
2. Take Your Time
Don’t try to whiz through the text, reading as much as you can as quickly as you can. Instead, focus on what you’re reading and maximize whatever time you’ve set aside. Pay attention to the basics: the story, the dialogue, the commands, and the bigger context surrounding the passage. If your “Bible reading plan” is five years instead of one because you took more time to study what you were reading, you’re in a good place.
3. Use a Study Bible
Study Bibles are designed to, well, study the Bible. Any good study Bible (and there are many, many good ones) will help you better understand the passages you read by providing commentary, background, details about the bigger biblical picture, etc. Don’t let a study Bible distract you from the text; let it help you understand the text more.