What follows are about five basic ways to approach bible study, i hope you and i will learn and keenly apply what is good.
- Reading: Just going through the bible, getting familiar with its message, histories, personalities etc, noting things that stands out for you. Things that you would want to come back to for further understanding and clarification. This reminds me of set books in high school, the way i would just take the novel and read, underling here and there, writing notes on the book margin. At times i do this with my bible, though it have been quite random without systematic plan, but i intend to do it now more deliberately and regularly.
- Interpreting: Getting to know what the bible means by what it says. Going back to the set book example, we used to seek to comprehend what the characters meant, or intended. It is like when you read a poem, you tend to draw a message out of the words and the phrases. I tend to think it is the same with the bible, when we read, it says something to us, a message, getting to know what the writers, or the voice in the text meant consist interpreting. There are various resources available for helping us interpret the bible.
- Evaluating: When we have an interpretation, it does not necessarily means it is the correct one, hence we need to evaluate our interpretation / understanding of the Word to ensure it is consistent with the entire truth. Many have started cults based on erroneous interpretation of the word. Just the way we used to use study guides, teachers and fellow students to clarify and enhance our understanding of the set books, we need to discuss with fellow Christians, church leaders and cross referencing through the bible to make sure our understanding of the Word is the correct one.
- Applying: Put into use all that we have learnt from the word, there is an article from which i go all this from, and will just quote what it says about this: If there is a command to be obeyed, obey it. If there is a promise to be embraced, claim it. If there is a warning to be followed, heed it. This is the ultimate step: submit to Scripture and let it transform your life.
- Correlating: Add together all the bits of knowledge we have gathered to form a clear understanding of the truth and a basis of the doctrine that drives and defines our faith.
NB: There is an article that covers this in much more depth, i actually borrowed a lot from the article.