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Simple Personal Bible Study
As Christians there is an obligation to study the Bible. Many people don't realize it, but Bible study is vital to spiritual maturity. It is not enough just to go to Church on Sunday morning, go to Sunday school and maybe make it out to a weekly Bible study. These are a good start. In order to continue to grow into spiritual maturity one must have a healthy consistent personal Bible study time or some call it a quiet time. Every believer should have 30-60 minutes a day set aside to study the Bible and to spend time with God. This article is just a simple suggestion in technique on how to tackle personal Bible study.
Begin with Prayer
The first step in Bible Study is simply to pray. The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is our teacher and He will guide us into all truth. John 16:13a says, " However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth". So the first step is to ask His guidance as we begin to study the scripture.
Step 1: Observation
After you have prayed and invited the Holy Spirit into your study session and chosen a section of scripture that you want to study, the first thing you want to do is simply observe the text. Ask the question? What does the text say? At this point you will not get into what the text means, that will come in a later step. In this step you are just concerned with what the text is saying. Ask questions of the text. Who wrote the text? Why did the writer write the text? What is the text saying? Where was the writer when they wote the text? Where are the recipients of the text located? When was the text written? Take notes of names and locations and things that seem to stick out to you. Get a feel for the context of the writing. Read, Re-read and Re-read the text.
Step 2: Interpretation
After you have thoroughly observed the text you can move on to the next step which is interpretation. It is in this step that you discover exactly what the scripture is saying. Its important to remind you before you move forward to remember the Holy Spirit and allow Him to guide you. With interpretation you want to make sure that the Spirit is revealing what the scripture is saying to you, and you're not making anything up. In this step it will be helpful for you to use some Bible study tools such as an Concordance, a Study Bible and a Bible Dictionary. These tools will help you determine what the meaning of words are in the original language.
Step 3: Application
After you complete the interpretation of the text and find out what the text means, you can move on to application. Application is what the text means to you or how you fit into the text. It is in this step that we move into the practical application of the Scripture. As always in studying the Scripture you want to once again remember the Holy Spirit and allow Him to convict you and show you the area of your life in which you need to apply Scripture. The Christian's life should be an example of Scripture. If there is any area of a Christian's life that is not in line with the Scripture, then that Christian needs to repent of disobedience and align themselves in obedience to the Word.
This was just a brief suggestion on how to tackle studying the Bible for beginners. As you continue to get further and further into Bible study, you will discover that there are many more in depth methods that can be utilized. Every method that you use should at least cover Observation, Interpretation and Application. The point of Biblical study is not just for information, but its for transformation.