Bible Study Tip #8 – Study in Community

There are very few, if any insights from scripture that I have gained in isolation from other people. Most of what I have learned from scripture I have learned in community. This community is first and foremost my immediate and personal community of family and friends. This community is, secondarily, also the community of scholarly saints who have gone on before us and dedicated their lives to understanding the Bible and who have passed their insights on to us. Some of these people are accessible to us today and others have long since past. But they still comprise the community of faith that enhances our understanding of the scriptures.

There is often an incongruity between the way we prepare a message in study and the way we present it. We study in isolation and present in community. It doesn’t have to be this way. The more time we spend in community with others, with the text before us in open conversation, the deeper and richer our insights on the text will be. One of my biggest regrets in ministry has been not going back and adjusting my class notes after having taught a particular class. So many rich and profound insights were shared that could have and should have been taken note of in my notes. And yet I was still enriched in the sharing.

One of the signs of a good reader is the ability to ask good questions. What goes along with this is not just asking good questions of the text but asking good questions of the text together and listening to other people’s questions of the text. When you study through sharing like this the depth of your insight will increase and the richness of your study will rise exponentially. We don’t communicate without community and so we also shouldn’t prepare and study without community. It will just take some adjusting of how we use our time.

Who are some people who have benefited your study over the years? What was it about them that enriched your understanding of scripture?

Bible Study Tip #7 Rely on the Spirit

The Bible is the word of God inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Tim 3:16). The Spirit helped write the words that we have and the Spirit has full comprehension of the meaning of what the Spirit has communicated to us through the Bible. So the Spirit helps on the “speaking” end of the conversation.Continue Reading

Bible Study Tip #6 Not Every Word in the Bible is Something to Live By

Did you know that not every word in the Bible is something we should live by? You have to pay attention to who is speaking. You have probably heard someone say in your lifetime “God doesn’t hear a sinner’s prayer” and point you to John 10:31. That is what the text says. But you haveContinue Reading

Bible Study Tip #5 – Getting to Know the Bigger Story

The Bible doesn’t read like a typical continuous or chronological story. It just isn’t organized that way and that can be very confusing when you start studying the Bible. Think of the Old Testament in three sections: The story (Genesis-Esther), wisdom and poetry (Job-Song of Songs) and the prophets (Isaiah-Malachi). If you read Genesis –Continue Reading

Bible Study Tip #4 Which “Gesis” Do You Need?

No, not Jesus…Gesis. I am talking about exegesis and eisegesis. I know this doesn’t sound like beginner material but let me assure you that you need to have a handle on these terms if you are going to be a student of the scripture. The reason I believe understanding the ideas behind these two termsContinue Reading

Bible Study Tip #3 The Gist of Bible Translations

Since most people will not be reading the Bible in its original languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek) we typically rely heavily on English translations. In the previous post I said the best translation is the one you will read consistently just make sure it is a fairly modern translation (so the language is current) doneContinue Reading

Bible Study Tip #2 Which Bible Translation Should I Use?

There are many English translations one can choose from. There are so many that Craig Blomberg remarked a few years ago in his book “Can We Still Believe the Bible” that publishers need to stop making new English translations until we have put more translations in other languages. I appreciate that position a great deal.Continue Reading

Bible Study Tip #1 Consistency

If you want to know God’s Word you have to study regularly. Consistency is the key even if what you are reading or studying is a very small amount. It isn’t about getting through the Bible in a year. It isn’t about always doing an in depth study. Knowing the Bible takes consistency. Be inContinue Reading

Does Unity Require Uniformity?

The short answer is no and yes. The answer is no if you mean complete agreement in all things. The answer is yes if you mean the core doctrines of the Christian faith. When we say we have to have “unity without uniformity” we are talking about the first. We are saying that the BibleContinue Reading

What is the “Perfect” in 1 Corinthians 13? It Has Nothing to do with the Completion of the Bible

“For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.” 1 Corinthians 13:9-10 (KJV) For as far back as I can remember the popular interpretation of this verse was that the perfect was the completed New Testament.Continue Reading

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