How Do You Study or Teach The Bible?

bobinfaith

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Dear brothers and sisters;

I was sharing with my church family the importance of reading the Word daily. I also asked how do they apply what they read.

At first some were intimidated because they began to compare their study with another who had been studying for years.

I shared that when I first started reading the Bible I didn't know the difference between Genesis and Revelation, or that the Psalms was in the middle of the book, and got confused over the names of the books of Chronicles and Corinthians.

I wanted to ask if we all can join in this topic and what you share may encourage another in our academic discipline.

Romans 15:4, For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

God bless you all and your families.
 
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My advice to someone who wants to study the Bible would be regularity (study often, with a daily cycle and a weekly cycle), and to be varied.

By varied, I mean that some time should be spent in light reading wherever you are led. Sometimes studied more deeply, for example examining by topic or following cross-references. Make use of additional materials such as devotional materials and commentaries. Some study should be done with other believers, sharing insights. A weekly group Bible study is often great. Meditate about your studies through the day.

Keep a journal about what you find and think and how it relates to your life and the world around you. The Journal is also helpful in putting the scriptures into action. Make and record goals and how with Gods help to obtain them. Review that journal weeks and years later and see what God has done with and for you over time.

When I first accepted Christ, a family took me ‘under their wing’. We had a weekly Bible study and saw each other at Sunday services and mid-week prayer meetings. After about 9 months the mother asked me to help teach 4th & 5th graders in Sunday School, under supervision, using prepared materials. I can tell you that taking the responsibility to teach requires commitment to study well. A teacher often learns more than the Students.
 

bobinfaith

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My advice to someone who wants to study the Bible would be regularity (study often, with a daily cycle and a weekly cycle), and to be varied. A weekly group Bible study is often great. Keep a journal about what you find and think and how it relates to your life and the world around you. After about 9 months the mother asked me to help teach 4th & 5th graders in Sunday School, under supervision, using prepared materials. I can tell you that taking the responsibility to teach requires commitment to study well. A teacher often learns more than the Students.
Hello brother Siloam;

I highlighted some great advice in your experience of studying the Bible. Years ago my wife and I was hesitant to go to Bible studies in the new church we started attending. It was new to us to go weekly. But when we did the group was loving and welcoming. Soon we looked forward to attending weekly, being with our new church family and studying together. Praise God our Pastor was very knowledge and made us feel comfortable when asking questions.

I have a couple of church members who keep a journal. It blessed me because they've kept it consistently through the years and you're right. They apply the Scriptures daily but also have good memorization.

God bless you, Siloam, and thank you for sharing.
 

AtomicSnowflake

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This is a good question... thank you bobinfaith for asking it. As for me personally, I think I could use a little lot more discipline when it comes to "how" I read/study... so I look forward to the advice that will be shared.

I enjoy reading and studying the Bible. And I do make use of other books in order to gain more understanding of culture, customs, history, events, and other background so I can better grasp a fuller context of what I read. I do tend to read a bit, then stop to do some research, cross-reference, check some commentaries, or look up some articles or sermons... then go back to continue reading. That's just what seems to work for me.
As far as applying what I read... it seems that I am best able to "get it" when I am challenged by something in life. For example if a person or situation is negative and I get angry about something... instead of feeding the emotion of anger, I will stop & focus on how/why I allowed myself to fall into the trap of letting this emotion affect me. I will try to find out what the scriptures have to say about it. I view these situations as growth because it allows me the opportunity to identify weaknesses in myself that need to be addressed. It does not matter if I "think" that I may be right and someone else is wrong... if I am allowing a negative response about anything- then that is my problem, my flaw, my weakness.
If I find myself being critical of others in some way, that is a huge red flag to me... I have to stop those negative thoughts and look to God and find out what it is that I need to learn!

As far as group studies go, I do enjoy them. However, I sometimes have a hard time with the structured, "curriculum" type of workbook studying, but that's just me. I tend to get more personal benefit with a more in-depth type of study than what many of them offer.
Our church has Sunday school, and also a Wednesday night group study. We are able to go more in-depth with our group study because there is more individual input from the group members... so there is much more discussion. I really like studying the Bible more than answering a workbook...lol I find that I spend more time reading, praying, and studying throughout the week for the Wednesday night group than I do for the "Sunday school" workbooks. So for me, the group study keeps me more engaged and allows me to have better study habits and learn better.

One thing we do at our house, is ALOT of reading. My husband and I both like to read... so we spend hours reading & studying together at home. We will spend the evenings/nights together, while he will read out loud to me. This is something that is very special to me and creates beautiful moments that I will dearly treasure forever. Both our dog and our cat will will even sit and listen while he reads!

(I can't say anything on teaching... as I do not "teach"... but my husband does.)

Siloam
The journal seems like a great idea, and one that I would like to try, (and have tried)... but one problem I have is that it's hard to me to "simplify"... what I mean is that everything in the Bible is just so connected to everything else.. like a spiderweb. (Or like the Thompson Chain Reference.) It's like me trying to just single out one individual thread of the web, and none of the rest. I supposed that just means that keeping a journal may be something I NEED to do.

bobinfaith
Thanks again for the thread... I do need to improve my study habits/techniques, and look forward to more good advice & tips.
 
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I have been studying the bible for a long time. I have taken and also led many biblical studies. Lately I have been exploring parts of the bible I have not spent quite as much time studying in the past. Like the book of Job last summer and fall. Besides reading and reflecting on the scriptures I do check commentaries and sometime books written on the particular part of the bible I am studying. And I often use a concordance to check out the meaning of the Words as they were written in the original languages. I also enjoy watching documentaries on biblical archaeology.
In my daily reading I chose either one Psalm or one Proverb (or part of either) to reflect upon, pray about, and apply to my life and any situation I am experiences. Then I pick a chapter or story from the OT. usually in the first 5 books. Also I usually chose one chapter or part of one in the gospels. I may focus on just a few verses at a time and see how they speak to me. And finally I chose either something from Acts or else one of the letters or something from Revelation.

I write down daily significant passages and keep a journal on all. Have been journaling like this since the mid 1970's.

This all precludes reading the entire bible in bible in a year processes four years in a row some years back. I try to listen to what the scriptures are saying to me trusting that the Holy Spirit is guiding me. And I also endeavor never to take a particular passage out of context. The best thing I have found in all of my years of studying is that the bible interprets the bible. You have to work at getting the entire message which rings consistently throughout all of it. In a word, God loves and cares for His people.
 

bobinfaith

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I also enjoy watching documentaries on biblical archaeology. You have to work at getting the entire message which rings consistently throughout all of it. In a word, God loves and cares for His people.
Hello Sandpiper;

Your interest in Biblical archaeology caught my attention. In my Old Testament I and II classes one of the texts we study is the Holman Bible Atlas. It has very detailed maps and archaeology and gave me an idea to provide copies of Israel to our Bible studies.

I noticed that when teaching the Bible the map helps recognize where parts of Israel is located, especially when studying the Gospels and Paul's missions.


Growing up I was never an avid student so I struggled more than most, even today. But when my teachers provided tools such as maps, video documentaries or visits to history museums helped me improve my study of history and the Bible. So I pass these tools on when I teach.

God bless you, Sandpiper and your family.
 
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KEVIN B GOODE

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A lot of my friends use the new an up to date technology for just about everything. Maybe one day i’ll follow suit but till then i’m just old school, rather let my fingers do the walking for me, you learn a lot faster and a lot more on occasion. It’s like taking the faster route down the interstate verses the backroads, get to see so much more, at a slower pace; even though there are times when time is of the essence.
 
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A lot of my friends use the new an up to date technology for just about everything. Maybe one day i’ll follow suit but till then i’m just old school, rather let my fingers do the walking for me, you learn a lot faster and a lot more on occasion. It’s like taking the faster route down the interstate verses the backroads, get to see so much more, at a slower pace; even though there are times when time is of the essence.
I use a lot of the electronic stuff, but I have noticed that researching with paper & ink materials affords more 'chance' discoveries.
When I first accepted Christ I was amazed and spent hours in the local library reveling in concordances, topical bibles, comentaries, etc.
Often things would catch my eye while turning physical pages and I would discover something wonderful.
 

KEVIN B GOODE

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I have been studying the bible for a long time. I have taken and also led many biblical studies. Lately I have been exploring parts of the bible I have not spent quite as much time studying in the past. Like the book of Job last summer and fall. Besides reading and reflecting on the scriptures I do check commentaries and sometime books written on the particular part of the bible I am studying. And I often use a concordance to check out the meaning of the Words as they were written in the original languages. I also enjoy watching documentaries on biblical archaeology.
In my daily reading I chose either one Psalm or one Proverb (or part of either) to reflect upon, pray about, and apply to my life and any situation I am experiences. Then I pick a chapter or story from the OT. usually in the first 5 books. Also I usually chose one chapter or part of one in the gospels. I may focus on just a few verses at a time and see how they speak to me. And finally I chose either something from Acts or else one of the letters or something from Revelation.

I write down daily significant passages and keep a journal on all. Have been journaling like this since the mid 1970's.

This all precludes reading the entire bible in bible in a year processes four years in a row some years back. I try to listen to what the scriptures are saying to me trusting that the Holy Spirit is guiding me. And I also endeavor never to take a particular passage out of context. The best thing I have found in all of my years of studying is that the bible interprets the bible. You have to work at getting the entire message which rings consistently throughout all of it. In a word, God loves and cares for His people.
I have found that watching pbs or national geographic especially, interprets biblical writings from a humanistic perspective. The only thing I’ve learned by watching such is their reporting from an unbelieving ignorant and unregenerated point of view.
 

KEVIN B GOODE

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I must clarify, not that i perceive these qualities in you sand piper . I was simply commenting on the discovery , archeology aspects of programming and finding that as such. My apologies for any miscommunication . In Yeshua
 
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A weekly bible study has been a blessing to me. We go through a chapter each week. Still reading the book of Numbers.
I find simply reading through a book chapter by chapter beneficial rather than just studies on topic that jump all over the Bible.

Another thing I enjoy is character studies. Am reading through a devotional of women in the Bible and it looks at 52 women in the Bible one for each week and their stories. Of course being female I can relate to these women.

I think my preferred teaching method would be this narrative, orderly way rather than jumping from topic to topic as sometimes happens in church services. Its not quite a liturgical way of approaching it where churches tie in bible readings with the time of year, for example Jesus birth with christmas and his crucifixtion with easter. Its not chronological either I get rather confused by those types of studies. As for revelation, well thats abit of a minefield since there's so many different interpetations of that book!

But if read the order in which the Bible is written..I find I can make connections. Of course when discussing the Bible with others like on a forum I'm not actually even teaching, but the holy spirit will give me something to share from scripture like a prophesy or a scripture reference that He'll just bring to mind. So its not me being a brilliant scholar at all or being learned from men its the holy spirit teaching me! Which I suppose in turn edifies others who read or hear it too.
 

bobinfaith

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At our church we are discontinuing our Saturday morning Bible studies to Friday evenings. starting in May. For the past few years we were meeting on Saturday mornings for a good study, with coffee and donuts.

Times have changed because our members work all week, so on Saturdays our members have to do their running around. It seems meeting on Friday evenings from 7pm - 930pm is a good way for everyone going into the weekend before Sunday worship service.

Please pray for our switch as we announce it this last Sunday in April.

God bless you all!
 
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Read a chapter of Proverbs every day. Proverbs has 31 chapters so you can keep your place by just looking at a calendar. There is no religion or nothing in Proverbs and you don't have to believe anything. Just read to find wisdom. When you are comfortable with that, then read the bible from Romans to 2 Thessalonians over and over until you start to remember what it says. That is the part that applies to Christians.

You only need five books to study the bible:
1. A King James bible. Other versions are ok, but all the reference materials are keyed to the KJV.
2. An English dictionary.
3. An Interlinear Greek-English Translation Of The New Testament, any brand.
4. An exhaustive concordance. There are several brands, but everybody seems to use Strong's. I like Young's because it is easier to use.
5. A Hebrew lexicon, if you study the old testament.

I do not recommend commentaries. Read the bible. If you don't understand something, write your question and put the paper in a safe place to wait for God to send understanding.

Here is a sample study. Suppose you are reading and your attention is caught by Colossians 1:17 "And he is before all things, and by him all things consist." The Interlinear New Testament says "consist*ed" which means the word was translated by a different tense or case from the original. You look that word up in the concordance. The root meaning is "place together". It is used twelve times and ten of them are translated "approve" or "commend". Why is this usage translated differently? You check the other verses for context and conclude that this usage should have been translated the same as the others, "commended". Some people object because they use that verse to support the trinity. Well, it does not support it. And that is how you learn to rightly divide the word of truth, as it says in 2 Timothy 2:15.
 
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Im now reading a book about the archeology of the Bible. If you can find video series showing you the places around the Bible lands thats very helpful to picture what the middle east is like, the landscape, terrain and climate and everything.
The Bible is very specific in the places it mentions so it helps to know a bit of geography as well. Maps are useful.
 
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The Garden Of Eden

The hardest part of studying the bible is that it was not written in English. The bible clearly describes the location of the garden of Eden, but the place names have evolved as they were filtered through several languages.

The first thing you need to know is that "Eden" means "Plain". If you look at a modern map of the mid-east you will find several places named Eden or Edin. The most significant plain is the one between the rivers. It is so significant that we don't even bother to say which rivers: everybody knows they are the Tigris and the Euphrates.

The bible mentions four rivers near Eden: the Firat, the Hidekel, the Pishon and the Gihon. If you go looking for those you eventually find that the names have changed as different languages passed through the region. The Firat became the Pareth and now is calle Euphrates. The Hidekel became Diglat and now is called Tigris. The Gihon was renamed Araxas, then Aras, and it is still known by that name. The Pishon became Uison and now is a dry riverbed leading to a dam and a reservoir named Qezel Uison.

A big distraction in the story is the reference to the land of Cush. "Everybody knows" the land of Cush is in Africa. Well, again the bible was not written in English. The land of Cush is/was any area occupied by the tribe of Cush. If the tribe divided, both places were called "land of Cush". If you inspect a current map of the middle east you will find four places named "Cush".

Armed with this information, you go to a map and find the Mesopotamian Plain ("Mesopotamia" means "between the rivers"). So that is Eden. Go to the east and you find a salt lake currently called Urumia which lies at the west end of a long valley with steep walls and a river through it. This is the garden of Eden. At the east end of the valley is an industrial city, the largest in northern Iran. The name is Tabriz and it is the site of the largest indoor market in the world, and the primary distribution point for Persian rugs. (Persian rugs are made from Turkey to India, and a few in China.)

As a teaching, this serves mainly as an example of dealing with different languages, and demonstrating that bible stories are literally true whenever they are possible. (When they are impossible they are figures of speech, and that is another teaching.)

4164

SOURCE:

Do watch the flick. It's a wonderful presentation.
 
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WHY FOUR GOSPELS?

This is a nice teaching to demonstrate how to do a word study. It concerns the Hebrew word 'tsemach', also spelled zemach, which means branch. The word is used 12 times, so it's easy enough to examine every occurrence to see that it always refers to an offspring of the earth. The first usage is:

Genesis 19:25 "And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground."

Those six words, "that which grew upon the ground," are translated from the word tsemach.

We don't need to examine all those occurrences, so let's start in the middle: there were four prophecies of the savior.

Isaiah 4:2: "In that day shall the branch [tsemach] of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel."

Jeremiah 23:5: "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch [tsemach], and a king shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth."

Jeremiah 33:15: "In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch [tsemach] of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land."

Zechariah 3:8: "Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for behold, I will bring forth my servant the Branch [tsemach]."

Zechariah 6:12: "And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The Branch [tsemach]; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord:"

Ok, that is the last of the verses. Now we can put it all together. Now we can see the reason for four gospels: the savior was prophesied as a servant, a king, a man, and the son of God. There are five prophecies, but the reference to a king is repeated in Jeremiah, so there are four different aspects of his life to be documented. Each gospel treats one of these four aspects.

Matthew is the story of a king. The genealogy in Matthew is the royal line, in ascending order because a king traces his ascent to the throne. It is in Matthew that we are told of wise men bringing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh: the traditional gifts to a king. It is in Matthew that another king tries to murder the infant Jesus to protect his own status. It is in Matthew that Jesus declares most of the new, stricter interpretations of the law of Moses, acting on his kingly authority. In Matthew we see the pageantry of an angel rolling the stone away from the tomb and sitting upon it. The other gospels just say the tomb was open.

Mark is the story of a servant. It begins, with only a slight preamble, where Jesus's ministry begins. Very little of what Jesus said is recorded, since a servant's opinions and pronouncements are important only insofar as they come from his master. His last words are not recorded, he just "cried with a loud voice." Mark is a short, terse record of where Jesus went and what he did. There is no genealogy because a servant has none.

Luke is the story of a man. As such it has a man's genealogy, recorded in descending order because a man traces his descent from an ancestor. The genealogy in Luke is the legal line, beginning with "as was supposed", which is a legal term meaning "determined by law". The genealogy in Matthew is the kingly line, recorded in ascending order because a king traces his ascent to the throne. The genealogy in Luke says so-and-so "son of" so-and-so, and some of the names were in fact adopted sons. But in Matthew it says so-and-so "begat" so-and-so, a purely human genealogy. Mark has no genealogy because a servant has none.

John has a very short genealogy: he is the son of God. His last words on the cross, "It is finished", recall his first recorded words, "Wist ye not that I must be about my father's business?"

Material from E. W. Bullinger
 

AtomicSnowflake

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Personally speaking, I have found it helpful to also try to learn what I can about the manners, customs, traditions, daily life, etc. of the people. It helps in that it gives more context to what is being presented... and thus allows for deeper understanding.
While I know this isn't necessary, it helps me quite a bit. And alot of the information is very interesting, Especially when studying what Jesus said and taught.
 
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Personally speaking, I have found it helpful to also try to learn what I can about the manners, customs, traditions, daily life, etc. of the people. It helps in that it gives more context to what is being presented... and thus allows for deeper understanding.
While I know this isn't necessary, it helps me quite a bit. And alot of the information is very interesting, Especially when studying what Jesus said and taught.
Bishop K. C. Pillai was a native speaker of biblical Hebrew and he published several books about Hebrew words, idioms, and middle eastern customs. They are available at amazon.
 
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FIGURES OF SPEECH

A figure of speech is a departure from the normal patterns of language for the purpose of emphasizing something. The simplest figure of speech is the SIMILE. A simile emphasizes a similarity of two things by merely saying it: "You are like a dog", or "You are as a dog". The figure rests entirely on one word.

A METAPHOR emphasizes a similarity of two things by saying they are the same; "You are a dog".

Next comes a big word: HYPOCATASTASIS. This is a Greek word for name-calling. Hypocatastasis just calls the fellow "Dog!" See Luke 13:32 "that fox", and Genesis 3:1 "the serpent".

A PARABLE is an extended figure of speech; a story based on a simile, metaphor, or hypocatastasis. If the story is possible, it is a MYTH. If the story is impossible, it is a FABLE. If a fable includes an explanation of the meaning, it is an ALLEGORY. Don't confuse any of these with LEGEND, which is a supposedly true but unverified historical account (Adam and Eve, for example).

These terms are not used with any precise meaning in modern discourse. For instance, most people think 'allegory' means "a story full of religious symbolism beyond human comprehension". But when discussing figures of speech they are very precisely defined. Here is a book that lists about 900 figures found in the bible. It is almost the only work in the subject for the last two thousand years:
 
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