As we approach the end of January I wanted to let you in on an upcoming opportunity. We are running a test run of online Bible studies for you and your friends. Basically, we will jump into a video chat, read some scripture, talk about it, and pray together. But to do that I need to know who is interested and what times work for you.
So, in the post for this check-in, you will find a link to a quick sign up sheet. Fill it out and join us. Sign up with friends and we can start taking our faith to the next level together.
With that, today’s episode is all about the how of studying your Bible and we are getting real practical. As promised, here is my quick guide to studying your bible.
- Observation – Look closely at the passage for details.
- Interpretation – Ask meaningful questions of the passage.
- Application – Take what you learned and do something about it.
Together these three steps really give you a broad sense of what all studying of the bible is really about.
Let’s look closer.
This first step is all about getting a grasp of the details of what is happening or what the author is talking about. You can go about it in many ways, writing down your observations or marking the passage for common trends. Here’s what you are going to do:
- Read the passage a few times.
- Look for mentions of key characters (God, the author, or characters in the story)
- Look for keywords (if a word is repeated many times it is probably important)
- Find key phrases (Do any sentences say things about key characters or words?)
Observation is all about seeing what is really happening in the passage you are reading. Characters, keywords, and key phrases are the best way of sorting through a passage (especially if its a really confusing passage).
With some initial observations, you can now switch gears to explore what exactly you think is going on. In this step, we will use some basic questions to help guide our interpretation. Here we go:
- Read the passage again and look over your observations.
- Ask yourself important questions:
- What does the passage tell me about God?
- What does this passage tell me about the story of the Bible?
- What does this passage tell me about myself?
- Write down your answers to remember them later.
Interpretation is all about questioning your understanding of the passage. Not every passage will answer every question suggested above but you should be exploring these questions so you don’t miss something critical. As you get more into studying, you will likely want to add some of your own questions and that’s great. These questions are a good starting point but you can always go further.
With a clearer picture about what the passage is saying we move on to the big questions: why does this matter to me? How is this going to impact my life? Application is all about what you are going to do differently because of this passage. Here’s what you do:
- Read the passage again and look at your interpretations.
- Ask yourself: What is one important thing I learned from this passage?
- Plan to do something about what you have learned by deciding what you will do differently because of it.
- Try to do what you planned.
Application takes many forms. You may come up with a practical step, or you may identify a key truth. In application, you want to make sure that you understand what this passage means for your life. Do you live differently? Think differently? Or have to make changes? Application is sometimes easier to find than it is to live but you can do it.
And that’s really it. You observed the details of the passage, you interpreted what it meant, and finally, you made a plan to apply it to your life. In the end, that’s all that studying your Bible is really about.
Three quick tips:
- Everyone is learning how to study the Bible. It is a lifetime journey full of excitement, amazing knowledge, and great things. It isn’t always easy, but it is rewarding.
- Sometimes it seems boring. It happens. That is ok. If you find yourself in a slump, I encourage you to not give up on the Bible but push on! Read on where you are to see if you get to a more interesting part or find a new place to start reading.
- Studying the Bible is more fun when done with a friend.
- You can find a handy PDF of these steps for you to print out in the transcript for this check-in.
Next week we are going to look at one final piece of studying your Bible: I’m going to give you some quick resources that you can use to help you as you study and to answer the questions you can’t answer on your own.
In the meantime, we are excited to see you grow as you take studying your Bible to the next level. We are big fans of you and all the wonderful things that God is doing in your life and through you.
Remember, summer is on its way so apply today to serve this summer.
Also, if you are interested in doing a Bible Study online with some of your camp friends sign up here.
You are important to us and we are here to connect with you. You can reach Jesse by email at email@example.com.
Five minutes a day of studying your Bible can take you far on your journey of faith. Let’s work together to be in God’s word. While you do, keep being awesome. Take care.
This post is part of our Leap of Faith Audio Check-ins. We want to encourage you to leap into your faith and continue to grow at home, at school, and in your church. These audio check-ins are meant to encourage you as live out your faith every day.
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There are more episode of Leap of Faith and other resources for you to grow in your leadership and faith here.