Why Do I Need To Study the Bible?
I find that it is important to have a goal for new endeavors. I find it helpful to understand the “why”. The goal for studying the Bible is to develop a close relationship with Jesus. To learn about God, His character, His will for our lives and His ways. We want to hear from God and understand how He made us, what His plan for our life is and what He wants us to know. We need to understand God’s heart so we can respond from our heart.
The Bible is the story of God with us. It is 66 books by 40 authors and focuses on God’s plan to reconcile us, in our brokenness, back to Himself through Jesus. The Old Testament points toward the coming of Jesus. The Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) provide us with accounts of Jesus’s life from 4 unique perspectives. Acts shows us how the Christian church began. The Epistles (letters written to the new churches) are instructions containing necessary insights to living a life that honors God, following Jesus and potential pitfalls to watch out for.
Where Do I Start?
I definitely recommend starting in the gospels (the first 4 books of the New Testament). If we want to develop a close relationship with Jesus and model our life after His, we need to know what His life looked like. We should know what was important to Him, who He spent time with, how He responded to the world and people around Him and what He taught. The Gospels all tell the story of Jesus’s life. Just like you and I, the authors were different and experienced interactions with Jesus with different perspectives. Some stories are recounted by all of them, some stories were only told by 1 or 2 of them. Reading them all, gives you a bigger, broader picture of Jesus’s life.
Next, I would read the Epistles. These are letters written by apostles and siblings of Jesus to the churches that were forming all over. They are filled with truth and encouragement for the churches in areas that were living and loving well. There was also valuable personal testimony of what God was doing in various places and how the message of Jesus was expanding. The letters gave advice for avoiding painful consequences and discipline when necessary for redirection, growth and living a life that glorified God. These letters are so applicable to life today!
A great tool for studying the Bible is the YouVersion Bible App. You can download it free to your smart device and have the Bible with you wherever you go.
What Do I Do With What I Read?
As we begin to study the Bible, we want to understand what we are reading so we can apply it to our life, exactly where we are today.
For the word of God (the Bible) is alive and active. – Hebrews 4:12
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. – 2 Timothy 3:16-17
We don’t want to just know what the Bible says, we want to live it!
Grab a journal and as you read, answer these questions (taken from the Rooted study) about the scripture you are reading,
- What does it say? (Paraphrase it, using your own words)
- What does it mean? (How does this impact you today?)
- What am I going to do? (What specific application will you make today?)
This is a super simple but highly effective method to making the most out of your Bible study time! Again, a close relationship with Jesus is the goal, and worth the time investment. Life Change occurs when we encounter Jesus in a meaningful way and live our lives for Him.