How To Start A Bible Study?
When starting out in the Christian faith, it can be difficult to approach the reading of this large work of 66 books 📚. So here are some tips to start your bible study.
1) Bible Study: Understanding The Bible
First of all, for your study, it is important to understand that the Bible is not a book like any other: it is the living God's word! He uses it to speak to us with the help of his Spirit (the Holy Spirit). 🤲
In addition to the Old Testament to the New, the entire Bible points to Jesus. The Old Testament is a bit of an inventory before the coming of our Savior; it shows us how evil man's nature is and that the many sacrifices are not enough to appease God's anger towards His creature because of sin. 😈
The New Testament provides the solution: Jesus Christ, who by His sacrifice ✝ wipes out the past, present and future sins of all mankind; it also emphasizes the power of the cross in cooperation with the Holy Spirit to deliver man from the bondage of sin.
We also discover that in the Old Testament, the many prophets foretold the things that were to come and that was fulfilled by Jesus, thus demonstrating that He is truly the Messiah who was to come and save mankind.
Thus, whoever does not know the stories of Adam and Eve, Noah, the people of Israel, etc., will have difficulty understanding perfectly the need for Jesus' coming as Savior, and whoever has not read the books of the prophets may be less convinced of His Messiahness. 😇
2) Where to Start A Bible Study?
For those who have never read the Bible or have read very little, it is generally advisable to start with the four gospels; these are the first books of the New Testament that begin their account of Jesus' first coming to earth. 🌎
A. The Gospel of John for a Bible Study
We saw that it was important to read the whole Bible, but if there was only one to go through, or rather one to start with, it would be the Gospel of John. 📖
This gospel is often distributed during evangelistic campaigns because it perfectly summarizes the work of Jesus and implicitly states the divinity of Jesus, God's word made flesh. In addition, there are many accounts not present in the other three gospels (of Matthew, Mark and Luke, also known as the "Synoptic Gospels") such as certain specific miracles or the multiple apparitions of Jesus after his resurrection.
In the Gospel of John, there are also many speeches by Jesus himself that are not included in the synoptic and which are marked with the famous "I am" statements.
"These things were written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name, "John 20:31.
B. The Other Gospels
On the other hand, important moments in the life of Jesus are totally absent from the Gospel of John: the birth of Christ, the temptation in the desert, the call of the twelve disciples and their mission, the transfiguration, calming the storm 🌩, the announcement of the Passion, the institution of the Holy Communion, the agony in the garden of Gethsemane...
Thus, the reading of the other Gospels will be an indispensable complement to perfect the knowledge of the life of Jesus when he was still on this earth.
C. The Epistles of Paul to Continue the Bible Study
Paul's epistles are a good way to continue reading the Bible once the reader has inquired about the reason for Christ's coming through the Gospels. 📘
These letters were originally addressed to specific churches, but the timeliness of their message is still directed to the whole Church, i.e. the Body of Jesus or all God's children.
The Pauline Epistles include:
- The Epistle to the Romans
- The First Epistle to the Corinthians
- The Second Epistle to the Corinthians
- The Epistle to the Galatians
- The Epistle to the Ephesians
- The Epistle to the Philippians
- The Epistle to the Colossians
- The First Epistle to the Thessalonians
- The Second Epistle to the Thessalonians
- The First Epistle to Timothy
- The Second Epistle to Timothy
- The Epistle to Titus
- and The Epistle to Philemon
A fourteenth letter, the Epistle to the Hebrews, the work of an anonymous author, is sometimes added to them. 📜
These letters, full of good advice and revelations, are a true treasure for those who wish to please God and live a life that honors Him.
It is also in Paul's writings that we can discover our true spiritual identity in Jesus.
3) 10 Tips for Studying the Bible for Beginners in Video
4) In What Order to Study the Bible?
There are many ways to read God's word. Here are the 3 most common methods:
A. Read Random Bible Chapter
Some people like to open the Bible randomly. Certainly, for a young reader (spiritually speaking) there will always be a revelation or a word that will speak to his heart. ❤
"So is my word which proceedeth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, except I have done my will and purposed," Isaiah 55:11
But such a reading cannot make a Christian grow spiritually, and it is not conceivable to remain in a state of spiritual youth indefinitely.
In order to grow, it is necessary to be nourished by a solid diet, and this is only possible by reading the Bible in a structured way.
B. Have a Bible Study Reading Plan
Whether on the Internet or in books, there are many ways to read the Bible. Some will help you to read the Bible in one year, two years, or even three years, from the 1st to the 66th book. 🤓
Other reading plans will lead you through the Bible in a different order but with a particular theme in mind.
C. Study the Bible in Chronological Order
You can also study the Bible in chronological order of the sequence of events; for example, the book of Job is read in parallel with the book of Genesis. But If you are used to reading, reading the Bible from beginning to end is not a bad thing if you don't have a specific reading plan.
It can also give you a quick first overview of the Holy Book because at normal reading speed it takes 38 hours to read the Old Testament and 12 hours to read the New Testament, which is about 50 hours in total to read the whole Bible. ☺
5) Bible Study at Home
Once you have chosen a reading plan and have your Bible in hand, it is time to get started. Here are some valuable recommendations that will be useful to both the youngest and the oldest in the faith :
- Find a quiet place and time for your reading and meditation. 🧘♀
- Prefer a paper Bible and turn off your smartphone and any device that might distract your attention.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what you are reading. "When the Comforter has come, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you into all truth; for he will not speak of himself, but will speak all that he hears, and will declare to you the things to come," John 16:13. Do not avoid the passages which seem difficult to you, but reread them until you understand. Neither seek someone else to explain them to you: if you are born again, the Spirit of God will guide you if you ask Him and expect Him to do so; this will also help you to avoid the pitfalls of false doctrines.
- If you are not a "big reader," start with one or two verses each day. There is no need to thread the chapters if you don't remember anything in the end. 🤦♂
- If possible, try to read the studied passage in several versions/translations, so that you can understand it better.
- Why not also listen to the day's passage in audio? Some people understand the instructions better when they are spoken than when they read them.
- Read the context of the verse(s). Read not just one verse, for it is the context that will help you understand exactly what God wants to give us.
- Try to keep in mind cultural contexts. The Bible was written more than 1900 years ago; the customs and traditions of that time, of the regions and of the Jewish religion ✡, in addition, were different from those we see today in our countries.
- Meditate on what you have just read by asking the question: "Lord, what do you want to teach me from this passage?". 🤔
- Take notes, either directly on your Bible or in a separate notebook, on the revelations you have received; they will certainly be useful to you later on.
6) How to Study the Bible in a Small Group?
Asking good questions is the most basic and essential tool for small groups of Bible study. The group leader can prepare questions based on his or her own study of the passage or use questions from a study guide.
The questions need to be adapted to the specific context of the group.
It is useful to have a mix of questions to achieve the following objectives:
- To encourage group members to look at the passage carefully and understand the main points.
- Motivate all members of the group to think deeply about the meaning of a passage.
- Create bridges between the message of Scripture and our reality today-connecting God's word with our personal lives and with the world around us.
- Help group members to respond with prayer and practical choices in their life.
- Questions should allow openness to more than one possible point of view or question.
Avoid questions that are too obvious 🙅♀ or can be answered with a yes or a no, because they can cut a conversation short and lead to a Bible study that would only be questions and answers.
7) How to Study the Bible - Video Tips
"Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful."
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