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Studying the Bible and learning what it has to say is one of the most important endeavors any Christian can undertake. It can also be one of the most overwhelming.
Don't be discouraged, however. Studying the Bible is much simpler than you've been led to believe.
There are three main steps to learning to study the Bible.
1. Observation - Your first task is to see only what the passage you are reading is saying. Look for nuances in what is being said. Be careful of reading into a passage what YOU think it means, as this can be a recipe for disaster. Instead, just look for what the topic, setting, style of literature, etc. are.
2. Interpretation - This is the hardest part. Again, you are not trying to figure out what the passage means to you, but what the passage meant when the people it was written to read it. Keep in mind that the Bible was written to people thousands of years ago, and that their understanding and sensibilities were different from our modern ones.
3. Application - Take what the writer was writing to those people thousands of years ago and apply the concepts to your life. All Scripture is God-breathed and useful for us when we understand what it meant in the first place. Figure out what the Bible has to say to you, and then go out and put it into practice.
And that, in a nutshell, is all Bible study is. Pretty simple, huh?
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|