15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
Let’s say you’re a brand new Christian, newly saved. And you’re wondering… “What now?”
Let’s start by buying a Bible. Go to a bookstore, and grab yourself a King James Bible. It has tools in it no other bible has, and often people’s very objections why they don’t like it are the very things that make it so valuable.
I use a King James Study Bible. Indeed, it’s called “The King James Study Bible”, produced by Liberty Press.
You’ll need some liquid paper, some colored Bible markers, some pens, and a notebook for notes.
What’s the liquid paper for? It has some footnotes that question the Bible, like at 1 John 5:7. Any footnote that questions the Bible, or says things like “This verse is not in the oldest and best manuscripts”… use the liquid paper on those footnotes. Remember to let it dry, because it does have many footnotes that ARE good.
A new thing I’ve seen is the habit of marking down what dates you read that passage in the Bible. It’ll be a good way to lessen the amount of backsliding you’ll do. And you’ll be able to track how often that happens.
It’s okay to underline things in your Bible. I do it all the time. I often take notes on sermons as I hear them preached, so I’m constantly jotting down the three points of the sermon. Put those in the margins. Your pastor is specifically teaching these things to help you. It’s terrible to just let him speak, and the words fall aside unneeded and unheeded. The very things you write down can have a great impact on your Christian growth.
First read through of the Bible – read it. You’re trying to be familiar with it. I encourage people to start with the book of John, then go back to Matthew and read the other Gospels. Next, follow the New Testament all the way through. Once you reach the last word of Revelation, go to Genesis and read through the Bible again, this time all the way through, from Genesis to the maps.
By the way, those maps are there for a purpose. When you see Beersheba in the Bible, STOP. Do you know where that is? Have you ever been there? No? Look it up in the Bible maps. Ever been to Lebanon? No? Look it up in the maps when you come to it in the Bible. Do that for every city. You wont’ find them all. “Hey!!! Where’s Ai????” um.. keep reading. You’ll see why there’s no city named Ai on the map. It was obliterated. We think we know where it is now, but… it was obliterated. the remains of the city walls removed and destroyed. Houses razed, burned, and the rubble strewn around until Ai ceased to be.
This phase – well, I can’t tell you how long to take. I know it takes 72 hours to read through the Bible out loud. But some people read slower than others. And it’s necessary to retain what you’re reading, so SLOW DOWN.
Second read through of the Bible – Prophecies of Christ. Find them. There are hundreds of them. You’ll find types and symbols of Christ everywhere you look, once you get familiar with how to look for them. Don’t cheat, and use the center column to find them! As you read through the Bible, highlight any verse you see that appears to be a prophecy of Jesus Christ. Hint – it’s important to pay attention to anytime blood is mentioned in the Bible!
Third read through – Start underlining important things! If you haven’t, then this is the time to start going through the Bible and circling important words in important verses. Underline important parts of verses. Highlight them using the colored Bible pens. I use the CBD Bible Highlighters, which come in pink, green, yellow and blue. My system is that Green is the enemies of God, and Pink the most important verses. I then break that up by highlighting verses around them in yellow and blue. It breaks up the page, and your eyes are drawn to the verses better.
Things to look for – Therefore wherefore. Those are important words, and it means, “WHat you just read is connected to this thought.” There are several chapters in Romans that are connected like links in a chain, all through wherefore-therefore. You will be safe from ALL kinds of heresy and apostasy if you take note of this!
“Thee and thine”. A lot of Bible critics whine about the uses of these words. T words – thee, thine, thou – are singular. Y words – you, ye, yours – are plural or multiples.
7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. John 3:7 (KJV)
I said unto Thee – “You, Nicodemus” – “Ye” – everyone – “Must be born again.”
Important – read verses and chapters in context. The verse and chapter numbers came later. the Bible was written in thoughts. You’ll see where one thought continues, and another picks up. I see people all the time citing arguments from say, Corinthians – and it was taken out of context. And the context itself revealed that it means the EXACT OPPOSITE of what the people say it means!
For instance,e recently I saw a blog where someone had written articles for pastors, and rebellious people tried to refute the article by citing “everyone had a word, a prophecy, a vision, a psalm! So the church is not supposed to have one person over it!!!”
In reality the verse says this:
26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. 1 Corinthians 14:26 (KJV)
Huh! Sure sounds like what they say, right? Nope – look at the first words. “How is it then brethren?” Paul is asking, how is this possible?
Look at the next verse…
27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. 28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. 1 Corinthians 14:27-28 (KJV)
Oh! now, that’s different! Paul starts by demanding order in the church, and suddenly lays down rules of how to limit the expressing of gifts! No more than three people may speak at a single meeting. That’s a rule. Okay, then if that’s Pauls’ rule (in reality. God’s divine order…) then the Corinth church was in error if all of them (not three) had a psalm, a revelation, a tongue, a doctrine!
Read it in context! Don’t be afraid to ask “Why?” when the wording seems odd. Sometimes it’s a clue you misunderstood what the verse was saying. Pausing to re-read it again and try to understand it is often a prompting from the Holy Ghost that you’re making an error, and go look at it again.
Character study. The next read through should be preempted by character study. What does the Bible say about Elijah, Noah, Moses, Abraham, Joseph? Ask yourself WHY Genesis begins with the patriarchs, then suddenly switches to Abraham, then dodges by Isaac to Jacob/Israel, then suddenly is spending all its time on Joseph?
These are important questions. The answers are worth the study.
At this point, you should invest in a concordance. I recommend Strong’s. You can’t go wrong with it. Nave’s topical dictionary is very well recommended, but it’s obvious Mr. Nave disliked the doctrine of Hell intensely, and his entries on it reflect his bias. So you might want to also get Torrey’s Topical as well.
Commentaries. The older I get, the more mature I am as a christian, the less I turn to commentaries. Adam Clarke is good – but he has biases. Matthew Henry was good – but he did not live long enough to complete his work, and some of his students were simply not his equivalent. Matthew Henry was also Calvinist, so in some entries his bias shows. B. H. Carroll was Baptist, but I can’t stand his polished pessimism.
Bible programs. I recommend Wordsearch 10. Wordsearch Basic is free, but there are a lot of powerful things you can do with Wordsearch 10 that you cannot with Basic. Get into the habit of using it as much as your regular Bible, and making notes in it constantly.
I’ll have more coming up later on about how to study your Bible!
- What is Doctrine? (biblebelievernet.com)
- Why Should I Read My Bible? (biblebelievernet.com)
- What Jesus Says About Not Knowing The Bible (thevinevigil.wordpress.com)