Summary: Bible Research is a condensed Bible College Course in how to study the Bible. This third session deals with the first step of Bible study: Observation
SESSION #5 – 10 STRATEGIES OF OBSERVATION
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:8)
STRATEGY #1 – READ THOUGHTFULLY:
“Much apparent Bible reading is not Bible reading at all. The verses pass under the eye, and the sentences glide over the mind, but there is no true reading.” (Charles Spurgeon, How to Read the Bible)
This step of observation requires you to assume the role of a biblical detective.
Howard Hendricks says, “Thoughtful reading involves study. Not boredom. Far from it. When you come to the Bible, put your thinking cap on. Don’t throw your mind into neutral.”
Josh MdDowell says, in a title to a book of his: “Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door!”
STRATEGY #2 – READ REPEATEDLY:
1. READ ENTIRE BOOKS IN ONE SITTING.
This helps you to appreciate the unity of each book.
If you’ve never done this before, start with a short book like 1 John or Jonah.
2. START AT THE BEGINNING OF THE BOOK.
If you walk in to the middle of a movie or play, you won’t know what’s going on!
3. READ THE BIBLE IN DIFFERENT TRANSLATIONS.
Helps you to see the Scripture from different perspectives
4. LISTEN TO CD’S OR TAPES OF SCRIPTURE.
Great for when you’re driving, jogging, or when you laying in bed at night.
5. READ THE BIBLE OUT LOUD.
Helps keep your mind focused on the Scripture.
6. SET UP A SCHEDULE FOR BIBLE READING.
“Line upon line, precept upon precept…” - nothing wrong with organization!
STRATEGY #3 – READ PATIENTLY:
Quote: “The fruit of the Word takes time to ripen.” There is no drive-thru Christianity!
1. WORK WITH ONE BOOK FOR ONE MONTH.
To really get any where, you must spend about five weeks with a book.
2. ZOOM IN AND ZOOM OUT.
(a) Read through the whole book (ie. Mark)
(b) Focus in on specific events / stories / characters in that book.
3. TWO PRINCIPLES OF PATIENCE.
Be patient with yourself and with the text.
Dive into the word, relax, & enjoy!!
STRATEGY #4 – READ SELECTIVELY:
1. WHO? - Who are the people in this Bible story?
- What is said about the person?
- What does the person say?
2. WHAT? - What is happening in this text?
- What are the events? What happens to the characters?
- What is the writer trying to communicate?
3. WHEN? - When did the events take place?
- When was the writer writing?
4. WHERE? - Where is the story taking place? (the location)
- Where are the people coming from, or going?
5. WHY? - Why is this story or verse included in the Bible?
- Why is a question that digs for meaning.
STRATEGY #5 – READ PRAYERFULLY:
Charles Spurgeon, Howard Hendricks, and John MacArthur all agree:
“Effective Bible study is Bible study that involves PRAYER!”
You need to pray before, during and after your Bible study.
KEYS TO EFFECTIVE PRAYER:
1. Don’t try to imitate other Christians.
“Pray as you can, don’t pray as you can’t.”
2. Pray the Word of God!
God loves to be reminded of His promises. (Psalm 103)
3. Don’t spend all your time talking when you pray.
“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
4. Pray in faith (Mark 11:22-24)
5. Be persistent (Luke 18:1-8)
6. Be humble (Luke 18:9-14)
7. Rely on the Holy Spirit to help you pray (Romans 8:26)
8. Pray in the name of Jesus (John 14:13)
STRATEGY #6 – READ IMAGINATIVELY:
“Your attitude determines your altitude.” If you approach the Bible as a dry, boring exercise, you will have a dry, boring experience. If you approach the Bible imaginatively, the sky’s not even a limit for what you can experience!
Hendrick’s prayer: “Lord, clothe the facts with fascination. Help me crawl into the skin of these people – to see through their eyes, to feel with their fingers, to understand with their hearts, and to know with their minds.”
1. USE DIFFERENT TRANSLATIONS AND PARAPHRASES: (1 Cor. 13:4)
(a) “Charity suffereth long and is kind.” - King James
(b) “Love meekly and patiently bears ill treatment from others.” - Wuest Expanded
(c) “Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self.” - Message
(d) “Love is patient and kind.” - New Living
(I) Study it in an accurate translation like the KJV or NKJV
(II) Read it in a paraphrase like the New Living Translation or the Message.
2. REWRITE THE TEXT IN YOUR OWN PARAPHRASE
3. READ SCRIPTURE IN A DIFFERENT LANGUAGE