C. Five Characteristics of a Good Bible Study
I sometimes wonder if most Christians have any idea of what a Bible study is. Many equate it to a Sunday school lesson based on a Quarterly. There admittedly seems little enthusiasm or interest in Bible study, not even personal Bible study. I think this is because neither pastors nor lay people have ever experienced or engaged in Real Bible Study.
So, what would a good Bible study look like?
A good Bible study is:
1. Original. It does not come out of a commercially prepared Bible study booklet or even book.
Real Bible study starts with the Bible itself. I recommend that you start with a plain text Bible. Study your chosen verse, chapter, book, or subject as far as you can on your own first.
Real Bible study is original. Reference books should be consulted after prayerful diligence and meditation fail to bring light to a passage.
I have discussed in the preceding parts of this series on Methods of Bible Study the steps that should be taken in a good Bible study.
The main step is to actually read the Bible for yourself. When you encounter a subject of concern or special interest, dig deeper. If you find a verse that is striking, memorize it. As you learn a verse “by heart,” be sure to memorize its “address,” the book, chapter, and verse number too. As you memorize, think about the verse. For example, ask what does this verse say about my responsibility? What does this verse say about God’s responsibility? These two questions will help emphasize and apply the truth of a great many verses in the Bible.
At the last high school where I taught in Detroit, there was a very instructive sign in large letters posted on the Security Office door:
“If it is not written, it did not happen.”
The same is true for personal Bible study. I have shared many of the results of my written personal Bible studies in this series on Methods of Bible Study. You can use my examples as patterns for your own use. You can also devise your own ideas or techniques to record what you have studied and what you have learned.
When you have really done the business of personal Bible study so it becomes a part of you, you will be excited and able to share what you have learned with someone else. Sharing the results of your study will help you retain the results of your study, or what you have learned.
People in the world get very excited and enthusiastic about a host of subjects, and share their excitement and pleasure with others most freely. We who study God’s Word are surely enjoying the most important Book in the world, a Book that contains the most important Message in the world. We ought to be more willing to share our excitement with a willing listener. As it stands, there seems to be little communication about the Bible even at church. People are in such a hurry to leave the morning service that they do not take the time to talk about the Lord and His Word. Thus, churches are not structured for fellowship, but they ought to be.
It is personal because it is your own. It is not a “canned” Bible study gotten second-hand from someone else. Personal Bible study supplies you with the daily spiritual food you must have if you are to grow and thrive spiritually. If you are not personally feeding on God’s Word daily, you may be experiencing spiritual starvation. Now you have here a recipe to prepare your own spiritual meals, with more to follow.