The Bible can be an intimidating book to read and understand. One reason why is because Christians aren’t always taught how to study the Bible. There are tons of great study techniques, commentaries, and devotionals to help out – all of which can be extremely beneficial in understanding God’s Word. Below are four questions I ask every time I read a passage of Scripture. By asking these questions you might be able to have more success in your Bible study times.
What Does This Passage Say About God?
God created us so that we could know and love him. He gave us his Word so that we would better understand our great and glorious God. The Bible is full of mystery and might not tell us everything that we want to know (Romans 11:33-36), but it gives us all that we need to know. Pay close attention to what the passage tells us about who God is, what his attributes are, his purposes and his way. In Knowing God, J.I. Packer writes “if you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his Father.” God is our Father and like a good father, he wants his children to know who he is. Look for how the passage is revealing who God is.
What Does This Passage Say About Man?
It is important that this is not the first question that is asked because the Bible is not about us. The Bible is not a self-help book (though it helps us). It is not a feel-good book (though it gives us joy). Humans are special because they are image bearers of God. However, because of sin, we are fallen. It is in this context that we need to read the Bible. How does the passage point to the fallen condition of humanity?
How Does This Passage Point To Jesus?
Jesus is the silver thread that weaves the whole Bible into one seamless story. He is there at the beginning, even before creation, and we will be pursuing him for all eternity in heaven. Jesus is the great hero of the Bible. You can find Jesus in every book in the Bible, he is there. Our Bible study should always be Christocentric. Jesus brings together fallen humans to Almighty God. In every passage we read we need to see how Jesus restores us to our original purpose in every aspect of our lives.
What Needs To Change About My Life?
I once heard a speaker say that we don’t read the Bible to finish but we read it to change. Too many times we read the Bible to check off our reading plan or to say we have done our devotion. The Bible though is living and active (Hebrews 4:12). It causes us to look at our lives and see how it lines up with God’s Word. God doesn’t change so if our lives don’t line up to his Word we need to. When we read the Bible and don’t put it to practice, we are merely deceiving ourselves (James 1:22).
When you are done with a passage, hold it up as a mirror to your own life. Is there sin that you need to repent of? Does Scripture point to something you are doing that you need to stop? Is there something that you aren’t doing that you need to start? Does your thought life need to change? Do you need to change your mind on your opinions of God? We all have a long way to go in the sanctification process, and the Bible is what God has given us to help us along the way. If you are not changing, chances are you are not allowing the Holy Spirit to mold and shape you through the Word.