Please Help With Bible Studying

Discussion in 'General discussions' started by Ryan&Amber2013, Feb 9, 2018.

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  1. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    I know this is a loaded question and it's hard to pinpoint exactly what I need, but I really want to know the best way of studying and applying the Scriptures. I would love to gain tips from all of you, but I would especially like to hear from those who have had a beautiful system for many years which has proved to be beneficial.

    Here are some bullet points of my thoughts as of now:
    • I prefer a physical Bible to grow familiar with, but the font can't be too small. I have a few that I really like, but so far I don't think I have "the one." I prefer the ESV.
    • I really want to always focus on comprehension and application. I want the Scripture and what it means to always stick with me. Sadly though, I often forget too quickly what I learn.
    • Right now I am reading "Devotional Hours With The Bible" as well as reading the text. I love the lessons and I am very satisfied with the style of the writing. It has been the best aid I have found for the Bible.
    • I am thinking of buying a journaling Bible to start building my own study Bible in a sense. I wonder if this would be the best way to grow?
    • As well, I want to be able to teach people on a whim if needed. This is why I'm thinking about a good journaling Bible.
    I know this is all very vague, but I would really appreciate any advice and tips to help me make the most of my studies and application. Thank you in advance. Please don't hesitate to chime in. This is really important for me.
  2. E.R. CROSS

    E.R. CROSS Puritan Board Freshman

    I too am desirous of the responses proffered.
  3. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    This is what I recommend to new members coming into the church. Get a good study Bible (either the ESV Study Bible or the Reformation Study Bible for ESV); get a good Bible dictionary, a complete concordance, and a good commentary. For the Bible dictionary, I really like (for new members) the one volume New Bible Dictionary, 3rd edition, published by IVP in 1996. For the commentary, Matthew Henry, full version, makes excellent sense as a complete Bible commentary that is not too expensive, but is also substantive. Then I recommend the following:

    1. Read a chapter of Scripture, if Old Testament, and a portion of a chapter, if New Testament. Prayer should always accompany this step: before, during, and after. The prayer should be for understanding the text, believing the text, and doing the text. Make sure to include also a prayer for humility. NEVER read the Bible simply in order to confirm what you are already doing. If the Bible challenges you in a certain practice, make sure that the Bible wins. But also make sure you understand the passage in the scope of all Scripture first. Remember the old dictum: "I believe in order to understand."

    2. Look up any and all places names, concepts, or people in the Bible dictionary. When starting a new book of the Bible, read the article on that book to get a big picture. Make sure to ask questions. The journalism questions are good to start with, but also write down any questions to which you do not have an answer.

    3. Read the study Bible notes and Matthew Henry, and see if they answer your questions.

    4. If you still have remaining questions, ask your pastor. Most pastors absolutely love to be "bothered" with such questions.

    5. On Saturday, repeat steps 1-4 with the passage(s) that is (are) to be preached on the following day, either in addition to another passage, or replacing the one you were going to study.
  4. Von

    Von Puritan Board Freshman

    Start writing out the Bible, verse by verse. If it's good enough for kings (Deut 17:18), it is definitely good enough for me. And from personal experience it's been very beneficial. God's glory has been revealed to me in many verses that I previously would've glossed over.
  5. Ed Walsh

    Ed Walsh Puritan Board Junior

    I have a brand new [ESV] Reformation Study Bible (2015), albeit hardcover, that I would be happy to ship to you if you do not already have one. If you are interested, send me a private message with your address.
  6. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    Wow, what a kind heart you have! I actually have one but I appreciate the offer. Ed, how do you study the Bible?
  7. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    Ed, thanks so much for your kind offer. I do have one already. I'm sure that there is someone on the board who could benefit from it.
  8. Ed Walsh

    Ed Walsh Puritan Board Junior

    I wake up at 3:30 AM (4:00 AM latest). After brief prayer, I always read at least three chapters without helps through the whole Bible serially using the KJV. I used to read eight chapters, but since I am teaching on Luke my time is divided. I then sing a Psalm, the next one in order. Currently, I am studying II Samuel and get through one to two chapters per day. Sometimes less. I am in the habit of reading whichever commentary I have chosen from cover to cover. On alternate weeks I study Luke in preparation for teaching. (Oh, and I should mention that I always check several translations, not just the KJV.) Sometimes I only get through several verses. At 6:30 sharp I stop whatever I am doing and go to prayer, confession and worship till after 7:00-7: 30 AM. I love this time. God is so wonderful to me. But, whatever I do in praise I keep in mind that we only now see through a glass darkly and can never in this life offer the praise the Triune God deserves.

    Here's my praise theme verse (I others too)
    Nehemiah 9:5
    Stand up and bless the Lord your God for ever and ever: and blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.

    I am currently using Lenski on Luke. He is Lutheran but very sound in most areas. He is a Greek master.
    On II Samuel I am enjoying Dale Ralph Davis - Out of Every Adversity
    I have many other resources, but these two are what I am using now.

    I estimate that this study time gives me about a thousand hours a year of private devotions. I also keep a journal (very important). I have followed this daily pattern for years. Afterall, I am now 66 years old so I consider this studying for the finals. :)
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  9. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate

    Hopefully you won't get distracted since its online but is free! It offers all of those helps, though some are not too up to date.
  10. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable Staff Member

    Try StudyLight sometime, too:
  11. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Professor

    D. A. Carson disagrees: ". . .his grasp of Greek is mechanical, amateurish, and without respect for the fluidity of Greek in the Hellenistic period."

    (D. A. Carson, New Testament Commentary Survey; 7th edition [Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013], p. 24.)
  12. Ed Walsh

    Ed Walsh Puritan Board Junior

    Thanks for the heads up. This shows you how little I know about what a "Greek master" is
  13. beloved7

    beloved7 Puritan Board Freshman

    Are there any brothers in Christ in your life that would be willing to read a chapter a day with you? You can both read the same chapter, then text one another your thoughts/ takes/ what the Holy Spirit reveals to you. It's a good way to stay disciplined, learn the word through an additional perspective and enjoy fellowship.
  14. Harley

    Harley Puritan Board Sophomore

    I'll give some thoughts based on what I do, though do none of it perfectly (or well on some mornings).

    I would start with the fact that when you open your Bible, you are in the presence of God and He is speaking. That will make you attentive, and that to say the least will help your memory. Start by thinking about God, the Three Persons, their persons or work, whatever "cultivates" (forgive my lack of better word) the presence of God.

    Start with prayer and ask God to meet you and make your study productive.

    Put your boots on. Make your study a mental workout.

    Stick on a passage as long as you need to in order to understand and absorb what it's saying. If you want some way to routinely go through the Bible, try listening to a few chapters on audio each day as you go about your business. Far, far better that you spend a month on a single passage with profit than read large portions with no profit. And your meditation and study will prepare you for all the other portions of Scripture.

    Know the book in which the passage is contained. Be able to say who the author is, why he is writing, and where in redemptive history it fits. You might also look at outlines, graphs, maps, etc., so that you do not get lost in the narratives.

    Study each passage, and to cement it in your memory, make connections with things you already know. eg. you see in Genesis 1:3 the Spirit is hovering over the waters. You now see the Spirit is at work in holding together and bringing life in creation, so ask if there are other passages where the Spirit does the same thing. Find out what hovering means, where else that Spirit "hovers" or "flutters like an eagle" in Scripture. Ask why the Spirit is necessary in creation. Ask how the work of the Spirit mirrors conversion in Gn. 1.

    Here are three suggestions for levels of connections that you can make, thus helping you put the passage of study in context:
    - What the passage says about God
    - What the passage means in light of the book which contains it
    - What the passage means in light of the whole of Scripture
    - What the passage teaches you about your duty

    Take notes. I really like Logos for my ability to attach notes to verses. Whatever translation I have up, I can see what I had learned, because the note will always appear in reference to that verse; and I can use the Bible itself to organize them. I also user Evernote for when I need to take notes that aren't necessarily in reference to one single verse. But I do everything on my iPad.

    As for not forgetting, it's just discipline to be determined that you will remember what you read. Don't rush off from your time in the Word, but work to impress it hard on your memory. Your daily business will crowd out the Word as quickly as possible. Remind yourself throughout the day of your study, and keep asking, "Where in my situation can I apply what I've read?"

    End with prayer, and incorporate the content of study into your prayer.

    I hope you don't mind me bringing this up, do you sing the Psalms? Whatever your view on EP, that's a marvelous way to get Scripture into your heart and mind. That discipline will not fail to reward you.
  15. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Professor

    That's not to say that you can't learn from Lenski, just to be aware of his limitations.
  16. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    I use mainly 2 Esv Bibles for study when in that translation, as I first read through several times in a single book in my single column ESV text version, and write notes to myself as I read, just brief things that come to my attention in my notepad. Then I read it through in my Esv study Bible, and bear down more intently upon the things in the text God is bringing out to me now, and then start asking basic who written too, circumstances, purpose, the things in the introduction of the Esv sb goes over really well.
    Then compare using the cross references listed on those areas of interest to you.
    Main thing to me is to stay in the Bible/SB as much as possible before going to any external sources...
    IF I were starting out fresh on this, would really get a Thompson Chain and use those chain references to study in scriptures the doctrines of the Bible...
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