How to Study the Bible Part 1 – Read

A few weeks before I took my break from posting, a regular reader asked if I could write about how to study the Bible. They said, as a young adult they are used to studying (cramming) for tests in college and often  they find themselves studying the Bible in a similar way. They study for Bible Class, study for Bible Bowl, study so they could prove a point to their friends or even parents, so like many of us, they feel like they are “hit and miss” with their Bible study. So the question remains, how does one study the Bible?

Start by simply reading the Bible the way you would any book. This starts by purchasing a Bible you will read.  Some versions are more cumbersome than others by virtue of the style of language.  Find a version that you can easily read, then:

  • Read in canonical order, that is the order the books are in a standard version.
  • Read in chronological order. There are various lists online and a couple of printed Bibles that put the events it what many scholars consider the order they happened in.
  • Read the books by groups in types.  There are books of Law, History, Poetry, and Prophecy.

Remember that the Bible is more than a textbook on how to get to heaven. It is more than a list of facts to memorize or points to win arguments. The Bible is a story from Genesis through Revelation; a story covering thousands of years of history. The Bible is God’s story: the story of how He loves man, the story of how He reveals Himself to man, the story of how He provides a way for lost man to come to know Him and be eternally with Him.  While you read, look for God in His word.

Next Thursday we will look at the importance of understanding context as we study the Bible.

- Scott

8 Responses to “How to Study the Bible Part 1 – Read”

  1. November 29, 2012 at 8:45 am

    I find that beginning readers can be a bit baffled by the first books of the Bible. I usually recommend starting with a gospel, partly because they seem more like modern literature and partly because I think people really need Jesus!

    Genesis is okay for beginners, but the other books of the Law are downright baffling unless you have a better feel for what’s going on.

    That’s my three cents, anyway.

  2. November 29, 2012 at 9:22 am

    That’s a good article, Scott. Getting a version you will actually read is a point I have made more than once. Seeing the Bible as a unified story helps with some of the more challenging OT books. The OT points forward to Jesus as the ultimate expression of Yahweh’s love and restoration. The epistles discuss Jesus and being His disciples. In your discussion of context, I know you will include the broader context, how a specific passage fits into the entire Bible story. It was always easier for me to understand something if I could see how it fit as a part of the whole. You are doing good work. Thank you.

  3. 5 Melissa Harrell
    November 29, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    How appropriate, as I am currently “Cramming” for my December finals.

  4. 7 Melissa
    November 30, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    If cramming for 2 weeks is a cram lol

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Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, used by permission, all rights reserved.


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