I’m writing this one as a combination of both series at once, trying to save on repetitious reading, because probably the non-ministry types (both of you – I say this tongue in cheek because every Christian is called to ministry in some way – but I’m referring to preaching ministry when I say “Ministry”) are reading these too.
Okay, we’re going to detail how to do the Bible study. I’ve done this several times in the past, but now i’d like firm commitments between you and God that you’re going to do this. Just leave a comment saying, “I started!”
First, you need to set up a Bible reading plan in your software, or on your calendar. This year, we’re doing the one I wrote about of Old Testament in the year, and New Testament Twice. It’s not too late to join in, you just need a week of massive reading to get caught up. At the time I’m writing this, I’m at Jacob’s life story in Genesis. You’ll just have to read 30 chapters or so of Genesis and about 8 chapters of Matthew to get caught up.
If you’re doing the manual study with Bible and notebook, you’ll need certain tools. A Bible atlas, a concordance, a book of cross references, and a Bible Dictionary. I’d prefer you have a topical Bible too. It seems like whenever I’m reading these articles by other people, how FEW of them tell you to have a Topical Bible! Well, let’s say you’re in Genesis, and you want to look up wells. You can look them up in Strong’s – but let’s not forget, the Bible uses terms that would have made sense to people living in Israel. Some wells are mentioned by name, and not just by “The well”. So, a concordance would’nt llist Beersheba – even though that’s a town built around seven wells. References to Beersheba can be to the town, the people there, or the wells themselves. Topical Bibles will contain that information.
- King James Study Bible
- Strong’s Concordance
- Nave’s topical Bible
- Torrey’s Topical Bible
- Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge
- Webster’s 1828
- King James Interlinear
- A notebook
- Bible marking pens
- A good pen for writing in your notebook – I’m a huge fan of Tul pens, pronounced Tool (Tul owners often call themselves Tul users!)
- A good Dispensational Commentary. One of the best is Bible Knowledge Commentary by John Walvoord.
I’ve listed severeal Bible programs if you prefer to do it that way – the ONLY condition is, you MUST be able to do Bible study without distraction. If using a computer distracts you into checking your email, local news, the scores of the New York Whatevers… then close the computer, get all the books I listed off of the bookshelf, sit down in a room with the door closed, and open your Bible.
If, on the other hand, you can use some discipline to study on your computer (David Cloud says he can’t – I can. Different for every person), then get whatever Bible software you prefer for free. My wife actually got rid of Wordsearch recently, as it seems to be in terminal crash mode. She now uses Bible Gateway, which is a good method of study. And free.
I’ll repeat this – if you are in some kind of apologetic or preaching/Teaching ministry, whether live or blogging – you MUST get one of the more serious Bible programs – Bibleworks, Accordance or Logos. I don’t personally recommend Bibleworks, as it’s lacking in many of the library books you need – but if you’re willing to use two programs or a Bible program and lots of hardcover books (that’s what they recommend), you may like it. I personally like to have all my materials in one program.
You need a study notefile. Every Bible software has a way to do this. Just Title it “Bible Study 2017” or whatever you personally call it. It’s called Notes in Logos. Just create a new Notes fiel from the Documents menu.
- Make sure you make at least ONE note a day on your reading from the Old Testament, and one from the New.
- If you read the Bible with the intensity of wanting to highlight something every day, and making a note on something every day, you’re studying right.
- You MUST open a Bible atlas once a day. How far from Gezer to Beersheba? What’s the southernmost town in Israel? Where is Sardis? Is Jericho UP or DOWN from Jerusalem? Make notes on it. Not important? It really highlights why Isaac was so self righteous over the well incident. Count how many miles Abimelech’s men pushed Isaac.
- You must look up at least two words a day. Don’t assume you know what the words mean. You can look them up in the original languages (DO NOT DO STRONG’S WORD STUDIES IN GREEK OR HEBREW UNLESS YOU KNOW THOSE LANGUAGES! DANGER DANGER DANGER!!!!!), or in Webster’s 1828. Logos does not have Webster’s, unless you build it as a personal book – if you do, complete with headwords, then I want a copy please! If you are using a program that doesn’t have the Websters 1828, then you will probably need to open a program that does have it (such as Swordsearcher, KIng James Pure Bible Search, or Bible Analyzer).
- You must highlight one verse per chapter.
- If you’re doing the so-called “Inductive Bible Study” in either Logos or Accordance or your hardcover Bible, that’s great… make extensive notes on what symbols you are using, so you don’t get confused. You can download a PDF of suggested symbols from Precept Ministries. If you’re doing the hardcover method instead of software, print out the PDF from Precept and keep it in your Bible.
- What is the point or theme of this passage?
- Is there divisions in this passage? Write the outline.
- What other passages in the Bible speak on this topic? (hint – TSK or Topical Bible)
- Is there any helpful insight commentators have given? (I’ve found some good in commentaries, and I’ve found utter rot in commentaries. Buyer beware.)
This is really enough for one year. If you do this briefly every day, you’ll make huge inroads. If you do a little bit here and a little bit there, you’ll gain Bible knowledge a little here and a little there. Better not to study at all, if that’s the case. Every Christian owes it to themselves to do this kind of study.
Tim LaHeye says that 15 minutes a day of study is MINIMUM, in addition to devotional reading.
Let’s get started!