Monday, January 6, 2014

Preparing to Study

Inevitably, when one thinks of studying God's Word, the first question to arise is, "What should I study?" God's Word deals with every aspect of life and has the answer to every question ("According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." 2 Peter 1:3-4). With so many options, what should we study? The answer for each individual is different, based on their need of the moment.

Choose Something That Relates Directly to You
~Has the Lord convicted you about an area in your life on which you need to work? (ex. anger, bitterness, forgiveness, pride, humility, giving, love, self-control, etc.)
~Are you memorizing a verse and do not understand all of the words?
~Is there a specific portion of Scripture that the Lord has brought to your attention?  
~Has a specific word stood out to you recently? (ex. trust, forgiveness, self-control, etc.)
~Do you have questions about a certain subject? (ex. God's grace, security of salvation, modesty, literature, etc.)

Keep a List
As you read through those questions, the Lord may have prompted your heart about a few topics. Write them down. Now. Keep your list handy (in the front sleeve of your Bible, on your night-stand, anywhere you frequent) so that any time a topic or question comes to your mind, you can jot it down to remember for later. This list is very useful when you have completed one topic and are wondering what to study next.

Gather Your Supplies
There are several tools that are very helpful to have when you study God's Word: Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, Webster's 1828 dictionary (assuming you are studying with the King James), and a notebook. If you are using your computer, I highly recommend e-Sword (www.e-sword.net), a free Bible software program on which you can download all of these resources.

Prepare Your Heart
There are different ways to approach the Bible, both good and bad:
     ~to extract from Scripture what it actually says (exegesis)
     ~to read into it what you want it to say (eisegesis)
     ~to learn what God's Word really says about an issue
     ~to fuel your argument and prove your point to someone else
     ~to go to God's Word with your mind already made up what you want to see

Psalm 119:18 says, "Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law." Our motive for studying God's Word should never be to prove our points, but to open our hearts to what God wants to teach us. Before we study, we should always set aside time to prayerfully prepare our hearts and ask God to give us a teachable spirit so that He can do His work in us.

2 comments:

TheDedicatedPen said...

Wow. This was such a blessing! I made a list, and tucked it in my Bible cover. :) And I mentioned in email that I downloaded e-Sword. ;) Do you use a notebook, or write things in your spiritual journal? Just curious. :)

The last section of this post really stood out to me. "Our motive for studying God's Word should never be to prove our points, but to open our hearts to what God wants to teach us."

"Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law." That is my prayer. :)

Thank you again, Amanda, for another post! :) The Lord has been really blessing and helping me through them!

Love,
Patience

Amanda said...

Hey Patience!

Oh yay!! So glad to hear about your list!

Actually, my overly-organized self has a separate journal in which I do everything. :) I have my Scripture journal in which I write down what God draws to my attention from my Bible reading then I have my study journal in which I have done some studies like I am sharing on here. More recently, I have begun using my computer for Bible study as I find that it is easier to keep everything organized. :)

I daily have to work on that last point. In fact, I have had to drop studies before because the Lord convicted me that I wasn't studying to learn but because I wanted to prove to someone else that I was right. :/

Praise the Lord! I'm super excited to hear how God leads you through your study of His Word!

~Amanda

"But be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." James 1:22

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