Hints on Bible Study

Are you a "butterfly" or a "bee" Bible student? Butterflies fly from flower to flower as do bees, but butterflies gather no "honey." It is better not to read the Bible rapidly, nor read too much at a time, but rather concentrate on getting a little "honey" or "nourishing thoughts." Studying goes deeper than mere reading. There are "surface nuggets" to be gathered, but the best of the "gold" is underneath – “golden, inspirational thoughts." It takes time and labor to secure these golden thoughts. Skimming over large areas of truth is not as profitable as the careful turning of every passage. However, be sure you ask the Lord to help you understand His word, and look up other texts that deal with the same subject; none contradict the other, but rather bring out a more balanced and complete picture of the subject in question.


Have some definite object in view. If a friend should see me searching about a room and should ask, "What are you looking for - have you lost something?" and I should reply, "No, I haven't lost anything; I'm not looking for anything in particular," he would think me very foolish. Numbers of people read the Bible without any definite desire to learn anything from it. We should hunt it thoroughly for its great truths, and not read at random. We should read the Bible like we go to the table - to receive spiritual food and inspiration.


A good time to read the Bible is immediately after prayer, as perhaps the Lord has brought some verse or subject or character to our mind during prayer, and God is trying to teach us some lesson from that verse, subject, or character.


Learn to feed your own soul. A good many Christians don't know how to do this. They have to be fed with sort of a "ministerial spoon" - otherwise they become starved and lean spiritually. There are many methods of studying the Bible; if one method does not help you or interest you, try another. And, we repeat, let the Holy Spirit lead you into all truth.


One method of studying the Bible could be called the “telescopic method." This is in "taking a long-range look,” or “bird’s-eye view” of a book, or chapter, or a character, and trying to find out the main outlines or the main characteristics. Another way is the very opposite of this - the "microscopic method." This is in taking a verse or paragraph and analyzing it. Another method is to study subjects or topics; for instance, baptism, or the "New Testament Ministry," or the "New Testament Worship Service;" other fertile subjects are the meanings of proper names, prayer, heaven, the attributes of God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, faith, love, hope, example, conscience, forgiveness, etc.


Try the study of words and expressions. Take a word, or an expression, and follow it through the whole Bible, or through some particular book or chapter - with the help of a concordance, or with the help of "sharp eyes.” Another profitable subject would be Bible characters; take one scriptural character and follow him or her from the cradle to the grave. Do not expect to ever exhaust the full meaning of the scriptures. A supernatural God must have a supernatural book. Finite minds cannot grasp in a full measure the infinite. That is one of the many reasons those who know the Bible best, find it ever new. The smallest dew drop on the meadow at night has a star sleeping in its bosom, so the most insignificant passage of scripture has in it a shining truth. The flowers of God's garden bloom, not only double, but seven-fold! They are continually pouring forth fresh fragrance.

We can thank God that in the Bible there is a height we have never been able to reach, a depth we have never been able to fathom, a length and a breadth we know nothing about. This makes it “The Book" - that is all the more fascinating, and proves its divinity. The Babe of Bethlehem is wrapped up in the swathing bands of both testaments. The whole book is filled with Him. He is the keystone of the arch; the heart of all scriptures - He is the Sun of Righteousness amongst the "planets" that shine in the Psalms, the prophets, the gospels, and the epistles. We begin the proper use of Scripture when we begin from the standpoint of Jesus Christ, and of how we can become more like Him. See:  II Timothy 2:15; 3:15-17; Revelation 1:3; Joshua 1:8.

Are you a "butterfly" or a "bee" Bible student?