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  • 1. What is the proper way to study the Bible?

    Many books have been written about “the proper way to study the Bible.” Actually there is not just one right way. There are many many ways to study the Bible. You will want to choose the way that works best for you. You may want to do a book study. In this way you read an entire book of the Bible in one sitting. (Most biblical books can be read in less than 20 mins.) Maybe reading an entire book is too much. If so, then focus on a smaller portion such as one chapter or a paragraph or even a single verse. Or maybe you will want to do a topical study and read the parts of the Bible that deal with a certain topic or person. (To do a topical study you will need a concordance of the Bible that lists the words of the Bible in alphabetical order and gives the verses where they are used. No matter which method you chose, there are several principles of Biblical interpretation you will want to keep in mind.
    First, pray about it. Ask God to help you understand what you read. You will not understand the Bible correctly if you are not guided by the Holy Spirit. He is the author of the Bible and only He can lead you to its correct understanding.
    Second, remember, that the stories of the Bible are about real events that happened to real people. They are not just nice made up stories with a moral, like Aesop’s fables.
    Third, remember that the purpose of the entire Bible (both the Old Testament and the New Testament) is to direct the reader to Jesus. Whatever you read in the Bible, ask yourself, “What does this tell me about Jesus?” Sometimes the answer is obvious–other times it can be a bit more difficult.
    Finally, it is important to distinguish between Law and Gospel. The Law tells us how we are to live (like the 10 commandments); whereas, the Gospel tells us what God has done for us through Christ Jesus, like “God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). A great deal of confusion results when one mixes up Law and Gospel.
    If all this seems too complicated you can always get a good study Bible such as the Concordia Self-Study Bible (available here) the Lutheran Study Bible (available here)or the ESV Study Bible (available here). Read a portion of the text, then read the notes that accompany those verses.
    Whatever method of Biblical study you choose, make Bible study a regular part of everyday and you will gain a deeper understanding of God’s Word and become stronger in your Christian faith and morals.
    –Dr. John Tape

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