Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. (NKJV)
2 Timothy 3:16–17
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (NKJV)
I have to admit, I get pretty excited about studying the Bible! I love to dig into the Scriptures and discover the amazing depths of truth and wisdom that are there. I’ve heard it said that “the closer you look, the greater the Book!” I’ve certainly found that to be true in my journey.
Over the years, I have found five specific ways of studying the Bible that have been very helpful for me. Since they have been such a blessing to me, I thought I’d take a few moments to share them with you. Here they are:
1. Book Study
This is a Bible study in which you focus on a specific book of the Bible. The idea is that you are seeking to master the content of one specific book. As a part of this study, you will want to research many details about the book, such as the author, recipients, date of the document, general themes of the book, place where the book was written, purpose of the book, people of interest in relation to the book, etc. When doing this type of study, it is helpful to read through the specific book several times. I know one pastor who would read a book 50 times through to master the book.
2. Topical Study
The topical study is an approach to Bible study in which you start with a topic of interest and then trace all the Scriptures through the Bible that relate to that topic. When done properly, this is basically a form of systematic theology. In other words, you are systematically going through the Bible and developing a theology around a specific topic. This is helpful when you want to gain a fuller understanding about what God has to say about a specific issue.
3. Character Study
A character study, also known as a biographical study, is when you research everything the Bible has to say about a specific person in the Scriptures. It can be fascinating and enlightening to gain a fuller understanding of a character from the Bible when you begin to piece together all the things that the Scriptures say about that person. Studying great men and women of faith can help you immensely when you begin to piece together the clues about their lives as they are described from various passages in the Scriptures. And studying the lives of people who fumbled in their faith can also serve as a healthy warning about things to avoid in your own life.
4. Saturation Study
A saturation study is when you decide to completely saturate your mind with a specific portion of scripture. The idea here is that you pull out a specific passage, and then you read that passage over and over and over until your mind is completely filled with every meaning and every nuance from the selected verses. For instance, you might pull Romans 12 out for special study. In this type of study, you might read the chapter perhaps every day for 30 days or so. Or you might choose a short (or long) book of the Bible to saturate your mind. Some have chosen books such as the Epistle of James to read 10, 20, 30 or more times in order to completely soak their minds with those truths.
5. Word Study
The word study is when you take a specific word in the Bible and discover every single way that it is used throughout the Old and/or New Testaments. For instance, you may decide to study how the term Spirit is used in the Bible. And you may find differentiations between the ways that it is used in the Old Testament as compared to the New Testament. Likewise, there are many, many great words that would be helpful for you to study: grace, peace, faith, courage, discouragement, send, devil, idolatry, etc. The list of great words is never-ending.
WARNING: Be extremely careful when studying the Bible. It just might change your life forever!
(Source: Chris Rusell & Bible Study Tools)