5 Ways to Get Started in Personal Bible Study Time
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For a lot of people, Bible study is like high school geometry. We know it might eventually help us but, right now, we really don’t see the relevance. It can seem confusing, not to mention intimidating! Besides, there are dozens of other activities competing for our time. And, we may as well admit it, reading the Bible sounds boring!
It’s especially easy to put off personal Bible study if you’re already engaged in other faith-building activities like reading inspirational books, listening to Christian music, or watching Bible-based preaching on television.
What do you think about personal Bible study? It’s optional for a Christian, right? We live under grace, not under the Law. Well, yes. But, how do you know that? Are you sure?
Why Bible Study Is a “Got To”
It may be that the most important reason to read the Bible is that God wants you to do it. In fact, it’s a direct command. In the book of Joshua, we’re told to meditate on God’s word day and night. In the book of John, Jesus tells us that if we are really His disciples, we will “abide in His word.”
The word of God is powerful. Living. Active. It shows us Who God is and who we are. It shows us our need for forgiveness and shows us the “Word made flesh”—our Redeemer, Jesus.
Other Christ-centered activities, like listening to Christian radio and television, and reading inspirational books can be uplifting and can help strengthen your faith. But how do you know everything you hear or read is true? The Bible is the true word of God. It assures you that “Yes! Jesus loves me!” The Bible tells you so!
Only with the firm foundation of the Word can you know God’s truth about the world we live in and about the eternal plan God has for you. Spending time with God in His word keeps you grounded in your faith. It keeps you from becoming discouraged or being led down paths of false teaching. God’s word is a “lamp to your feet and a light to your path.” (Psalm 119:105)
Why Bible Study Is a “Get To”
Long hours spent in Bible study will not earn you salvation. Memorizing passages of Scripture will not make you righteous. God is pleased with you just as you are. You are fully and freely forgiven because Jesus died to pay the penalty for your sins.
God smiles when He thinks of you because you are His precious child. He wants to spend time with you and share His thoughts and plans with you. He wants you to learn more about Him. That’s why He has given you His Word.
God does not love you any less when you don’t spend time with Him. You remain His forgiven child. He has promised never to change. To your old age, He will be the same. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about you—you will change and so will the circumstances of your life.
You need a firm foundation—one that doesn’t change—a personal relationship with Jesus, your Savior, centered on His love for you. God gives you faith and deepens your relationship with His Son through His Holy Spirit and through His Word:
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17[i]
Steps To Get Started
If you are new to reading the Bible or are starting over, here are five steps to help get you started.
- Plan: Just like a date with a friend, time for Bible study needs to be scheduled, or it won’t happen. Do you have 5 or 10 minutes of your day to you set aside for Bible study?
- Pray: Before you start, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as you study God’s word.
- Pick: If you are new to the Bible, maybe you will want to start in the Gospel of Mark. The Psalms are another suggestion. Avoid choosing passages of Scripture at random. Most parts of the Bible are meant to be understood in context.
- Point: To discover the point of what you’ve read, try finding out the “who, what, where, when, and why” of the passage. What is the reference to Jesus in what you have read? What application can you make to your life?
- Post: You might want to write your thoughts or questions in a journal as you’re reading your Bible. Another idea is to copy down a favorite verse every day or weeks on a sticky note and post it where you will see it often (on a kitchen cabinet or a bathroom mirror).
God deeply loves you—so much that he sent His only Son to die for you! He wants to have a personal relationship with you. He wants to talk to you through His Word.
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. ~Isaiah 40:8[ii]