There’s a difference between reading and studying your Bible. Reading is done by, well, reading. You can slow yourself down tremendously by marking your Bible, which is good. If you’re racing, all you accomplish is spending less time reading.
But reading is not studying.
You should have a second section of Bible study, specifically for study. “I can’t learn anything from Matthew 1:1-17!” Sure about that? I’ve written a sermon on that. I’ve read it every day for 5 days, and I even numbered in my highlights the 14 steps. I’ve looked into why there’s 14 generations listed, and why three kings are left out!
If you decide you want to do this by hardcover, be prepared to spend money. I’ve got about half the materials I need to do it by hardcover reading, sitting at the dining room table. Ready for the list?
- King James Bible
- Bible dictionary
- Way of Life Encyclopedia
- Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge
- a Bible Harmony or two
- a topical Bible (nave’s or Torrey’s)
- colored pencils or markers
- A commentary or two
- Vine’s Greek
- A Greek grammar, for further study of Vine’s and Strong’s
- A Hebrew grammar
- Bible Interlinear.
That’ll get you started. That’s some dollars, pounds, euros, deutschmarks, thalers, rubles, shekelim, etc. Half of my library was given to me by a United Methodist minister when he retired.
The rest my wife bought for me, and I ended up working a part time job just to get the rest. This is another reason I use Bible software, because if I were to try to accumulate the library I’ve got between all my Bible programs, it would be $30,000 I’m guessing (I have 800 books in Quickverse, 400 in Wordsearch, about 270 in Logos, 5 in Accordance, etc.) There’s of course some overlap in books, but seriously, take 800 books, figure an average price of $35, and… Some Bible study materials are incredibly pricey!
To study, we must begin by asking questions. This is real inductive study, not some “Marking every mention of brethren with an Icthys symbol”. Although I tried that recently, and everyone’s read how incredibly life changing it was for me! You should all remember this from English Composition class. An article or a monograph answers what questions?
Who What When where how why?
1Hear this word, ye kine of Bashan, that are in the mountain of Samaria, which oppress the poor, which crush the needy, which say to their masters, Bring, and let us drink.
2The Lord GOD hath sworn by his holiness, that, lo, the days shall come upon you, that he will take you away with hooks, and your posterity with fishhooks.
3And ye shall go out at the breaches, every cow at that which is before her; and ye shall cast them into the palace, saith the LORD.
Ready? Let’s try it. Who are the cows of Bashan? Ten seconds… go!
The northern kingdom of Israel. How do I know that? “THe mountains of Samaria.” Samaria was the capital of the Northern Kingdom. If you didn’t know that, your first recourse was to look up Samaria in a Bible dictionary or Encyclopedia (Logos command, open Library, and type:encyclopedia )
What is God speaking about? He is rebuking Israel, the northern kingdom.
When? THe judgment of Israel is coming (the days shall come upon you…)
Where? Answered above.
How? The Babylonians. It’s obvious, and everyone hearing it would know who Amos was talking about. Babylonians used fishhooks, strung together in lines, hooked through the nose or cheek of their prisoners. You kept up in the march to Babylon, or you were painfully disfigured.
Why? Idolatry? Was God angry that people were more intent on following the Queen of Heaven than on God? No. THe verse explains it. They oppressed the poor and crushed the needy.
That took me longer to type out than to study. What should you look up? If you don’t know that “kine” is the plural of “cows”, then you might want to look that up. If you have the King James dictionary, that’s your first or second stop. If not, the Way of Life Encyclopedia.
MAKE SURE YOU ARE WRITING ALL YOUR NOTES DOWN. IF IT ISN’T WRITTEN DOWN, YOU WILL FORGET IT.
Anything to look up here in a harmony? Not yet. Have you gone to the TSK yet? You’re about to have some Harmony stuff to look up.
Here’s the TSK…
ye kine: By the “kine of Bashan,” some understand the proud, luxurious matrons of Israel; but it is probable the prophet speaks catachrestically, and means the wealthy, effeminate, and profligate rulers and nobles of Samaria. Deut. 32:14, 15; Psa. 22:12; Jer. 50:11, 27; Ezek. 39:18
the mountain: Amos 6:1; 1 Kings 16:24
which oppress: Amos 2:6, 7, 3:9, 10, 5:11, 8:4-6; Exod. 22:21-25; Deut. 15:9-11; Psa. 12:5, 140:12; Prov. 22:22, 23, 23:10,11; Eccl. 4:1, 5:8; Isa. 1:17-24, 5:8, 58:6; Jer. 5:26-29, 6:6, 7:6; Ezek. 22:7, 12, 27, 29; Micah 2:1-3, 3:1-3; Zech. 7:10,11; Mal. 3:5; James 5:1-6
crush: Deut. 28:33; Job 20:19 *marg. Jer. 51:34
Bring: Amos 2:8; Joel 3:3, Amos 4:2 Psa. 89:35
hath sworn: Amos 6:8
he will: Isa. 37:29; Jer. 16:16; Ezek. 39:4, 5; Hab. 1:15, 16, Amos 4:3
ye shall go: 2 Kings 25:4; Ezek. 12:5, 12
them into the palace: or, away the things of the palace, 2 Kings 7:7, 8, 15; Isa. 2:20, 31:7; Zeph. 1:18; Matt. 16:26
I think you can see that these are three verses, and if you’re doing this hardcover, it’s going to take you three days to study this. In computer software, it’s a lot faster.
Have we looked up any Greek words? Of course not. This is Olt Testament, and therefore Hebrew. So, if you were unsure of any of the wording, you would do best to look up this in a Hebrew dictionary or Grammar. Look up Amos 4:1-3 in your Interlinear. Find any word you have questions on. Check it against a Hebrew grammar or interlinear. If you want to do this in software, you just eliminated most of the software out there. You’re down now to Bibleworks (which I don’t recommend, as it has zero dictionaries and commentaries), Accordance, and Logos. Logos here comes out the clear champion, as it has a LOT more interlinears, reverse interlinears, grammars and lexicons.
If you don’t know any Greek or Hebrew, you learn a lot this way.
Harmonies: When you say Harmonies, most people think of the Gospels. But there’s also harmonies of Paul’s epistles, and of the history books of the Old Testament. So, a harmony would answer, where in Samuel, Kings, Chronicles does this take place? Is this pre or post exilic? (answered that one – pre exile)
Researching history and the Bible is often very rewarding. I’ve been amazed at how God would raise up kings that were to interact with Israel, and once their purpose was done, they within a couple of years lost their kingdom or died. Amazing.
Topical Bible – I’m always surprised how I am the lone voice in the wilderness for these things! If you want to read what the Bible says about the exile to Babylon, this will list it. Some of these are named “what the Bible says about…”
Commentaries: A good commentary can be helpful. A bad one is not. Commentaries must be used with caution. I know for example that all the commentaries I own except for one are non-Dispensational. So, in prophetic verses, I consult none of them. Their results are going to be bewhildering at best, and enough to make me irritable at worst. Knowing the background of some commentators is helpful to knowing, “What do I disregard on what he writes?” For example, I have used Adam Clarke a lot, but I was surprised on how David Cloud said bluntly, “I don’t care what he has to say. I’m not even interested.” I understand his reasonings.
I’ll alk about commentaries tomorrow.
Anyway, I think I’ve explained how to do Bible study. Remember, reading is not study!