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How to Study the Bible — Part One

How to Study the Bible — Part One

The Bible is an amazing book, light-giving, life-changing. And yet, the ancient text is often puzzling. Let’s work out the puzzle! Become a student of the world’s greatest Book. Study the Bible!

Wouldn’t it be great to have a Bible teacher coming alongside of you, sharing his or her insights and depth of knowledge from years of training in the Bible? Yup. I think so, too.

This post explores how to do just that. We’ll discuss options for the student who would enjoy a “guided tour”.

Through The Bible

The radio program Through the Bible is one of the most enjoyable ways to study God’s Word. The teacher is an “Ole Southern Boy”, as he would say when he was alive on earth. J. Vernon McGee is in heaven now, but his recordings are played each weekday through his radio program and online. His broadcasts reach listeners in over 160 countries around the globe!

Dr. McGee presents a study of every book of the Bible, taking a full five years aboard the “Bible Bus”, to journey through every chapter of all 66 books. His ministry provides Notes and Outlines, free of charge. You can also go to the website and listen to many lessons, one right after the other. Each lesson is about 20 minutes long.

I really appreciate Dr. McGee, and continue to benefit from His program through the years. We don’t see eye to eye on everything, but it doesn’t matter. The background research he presents for every single lesson is so appreciated. I hope you check it out, and that you enjoy it as much as I do!

Bible Study Books:

Lifeway

Lifeway is a publishing platform that offers many pre-planned Bible studies. These are fun to do with a group, or on your own. I have a friend who really loves to study the Word. She has been using these studies for years.

In fact, she recommends the Bible Study Insider, where twice a year she gets 12 new, just-released Bible studies to enjoy on her own! The pricing for these is super reasonable.

You will find topical studies, books of the Bible studies, studies for men, women, youth, marriages, family, etc. Take a look at Lifeway, and see if any of their titles interest you.

Christian book Distributors

For another resource for finding Bible studies, check out Christian Book Distributors for an amazing assortment of Bible Studies. They offer studies on many topics, on books of the Bible, for every many seasons of life, and sometimes with amazing savings (check out their bargain bin.) They offer many different authors; perhaps one or two of these will become your favorites!

Some of these studies include videos, where you can with a group, then discuss the teaching together. You usually do a bit of homework, and then come prepared each week to talk about what you are learning. Studying together like this, in a group study, can be really instructive, and of great value to us in our Christian walk.

The Bethel Bible Series

Not to be confused with Bethel Church in Redding, CA, the Bethel Bible Series is an amazing 2-year study into God’s Word.

I can’t say enough good things about this series. Check them out! Here is their site.

I was blessed to take this course some decades ago, and the foundational teaching helped me understand the sweep of the Bible, its grand themes, its interconnectedness, and how Christ is evident throughout, both in the Old and New Testaments.

Previously, the only way you could take this course, was if a member of their church attended an intensive on-site training. Then, they’d come back and teach. You’d go weekly (in person) and attend the 40 lessons at your church. Pretty cool. But not available to everyone.

Here’s what one Bible College had to say about the Bethel Series:

From the first lesson, the Bethel Series begins to acquaint you with the narratives of the Old and New Testaments, and presents the themes of the Scriptures in the clearest, most systematic manner possible. Soon you’ll begin to see the interrelationship of themes, events, and concepts within God’s Word and gain a vital new appreciation for how each part of the Scriptures relates to the whole, and vice versa!

Lastly, here is an awesome way to study the Word with that “expert” at your elbow. Consider getting yourself a “Study Bible”.

Study Bibles

Study Bibles offer the ability to study the Bible with a Bible scholar’s insights. In notes in the margins, and sometimes in full-page inserts, the teacher(s) explains important concepts that you don’t want to miss.

For example, in Genesis, when Abraham offers his son Isaac to the Lord, in a non-study Bible, this story is just one of many in the text. After this story is told, it just moves on to the next. Yet, this story holds so much significance!

A Study Bible will go into the significance of this day: why God would ask such a thing, Abraham’s faith, the significance of the ram caught in the thicket (in terms of foreshadowing Christ’s sacrifice), etc.

Study Bibles are now available, tackling issues such as the Recovery Study Bibles for those seeking relief from addictions. You ill find Study Bibles for Pentecostals, Dispensationalists, Calvinist/Reformed, Catholics, etc. Never before have so many Bibles been published for so many folks. I suppose reading several might give some balance.

There are also Study Bibles published by various Bible teachers. For example, I enjoy the keen insights provided in my Chuck Swindoll Study Bible.

As great as all that may be, just bear in mind that no Study Bible can get super deep. They are prohibited from spending too much time on any one topic, and must move along. After all, it can’t be enormous! The book needs to be small enough to carry from room to room!

Which One?

Now that you’ve gotten some ideas to think about, where will you start? Ask the Lord to guide you in your journey toward Him. May God bless you as you proceed, studying that most important Book of books, the Word of God.

Do you want to dig a little deeper? Check out How to Study the Bible – Part Two, where we discover the many awesome tools available to students of the Bible – many of them available online, for free.

See ya there!