The process of studying the Bible is the way we get from reading to interpreting to applying. It varies from person to person. In this series of writings, I will briefly cover my personal journey the moment I began my private study. This is not intended to provide steps for you to follow but to give you an insider’s look at my habits and my development. Many times it is helpful for us to see how others have done things before we can begin ourselves. Also, it can prevent us from getting frustrated and give us ideas to try out. I just ask that you not try to conform to my habits, but to develop your own. Still, gain as much insight as you can.
Before I begin, I’ll mention that my mother enforced a rather rigid schedule on me when I was still young for which I am grateful today. She held me accountable to a morning “private time” as she put it. I was not expected to study like a theologian, but to read the Bible. I think that it was her desire to get me familiar with it in hopes that I would love it. I believe she prayed for this just as much. I think it worked.
I hated to read. In fact, reading was my worst subject in school. When beginning college, I had to take 3 semesters of Reading Prerequisite because my scores were so low. Yea, that is one and half years of uncredited school. However, with regards to the good Book, I did well – even though I had troubles understanding what I was reading.
Like many things, my interest would come and go, and still does. I found myself during those times to getting frustrated with what I was reading because I couldn’t understand what it was saying. So, my study was less fruitful than it could have been and my frustrations fought me tooth and nail. It was not until I got older that I discovered how to study the Bible. I had the wrong idea all along. I read it like it was a different kind of book, like it wasn’t normal literature. It was something out of this world, not following the basic rules of grammar. I thought it superseded earthly logic and meaning. But I was wrong.
When I learned that the Bible was to be read like a normal book, poetry as poetry, narrative as narrative, instruction as instruction, I was able to draw out meaning and comprehend what it said. It started to shape my thinking and consume my meditations. It was like a adventure that needed to occur more and more often. This, is when my Bible study began. It was finally time to get serious and dig deep. I read some books on interpretation (like Knowing Scripture by R.C. Sproul and Scripture Twisting by James W. Sire) as well listened to some instructions by John MacArthur and others. I was getting equipped. I just needed to start practicing. The first thing to do was to choose a text to study.