Thursday, September 17, 2015

How to Read the Bible ~ Part 4

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. God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT
Bible issued to my father by US Military during WWII

Discernment of God's Voice requires a believer in Christ to seek and to study, to pray and to listen for His holy revelations. For the past three weeks the posts on How to Study the Bible have offered a general overview of how to approach a Scripture passage and various ways to read the Bible (and not intended to be an exhaustive lesson). Being in the word of God and walking with the Word of God is fertile ground for discernment. So what other resources or tools are available?

There are many translations and paraphrased versions of the Bible, as well as multiple Study Bible versions of these. A Study Bible provides cross-references of Scripture and a concordance (references to words or phrases used within the Bible), along with introductions to each Book of the Bible, commentary by Bible scholars, and other insights. Another helpful tool is a Bible dictionary which provides much information on words, names, places, and culture. Other references fall into the category of Bible encyclopedias which may provide more in depth biographies and historical contexts. (click here for a sample list of Bible Translations and Study Bibles)  

Readings of the classics and theologians of times past provide the learner with new insights and can provoke new questions. Researching writings and commentaries of Bible scholars, then and now, offers a deeper and wider perspective to Christianity. There are many authors, past and present, worthy of reading. Devotionals also help guide Bible Study. Today there are many good online sources that have tools to enhance studying God's word. (click here for some online sources: Biblegateway.com, YourVersion.com, StudyLight.org, Bible Study Tools, Google: How to study the BibleOswald Chambers, Priscilla Shirer) Whatever methods, most importantly the believer must seek to know God, study God's Holy Scriptures, call on the Holy Spirit for understanding, and apply the lessons. Study the Bible to embrace the promises of God, to encounter Christ, to experience the Holy Spirit. Christianity is not just knowing about God, but applying the truths to life. Christianity is living like Christ. ~dho