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Category: Bible Study Tips (page 1 of 2)

Prejudice we need in Bible Study

How you approach a book often times determines how you will understand and apply a book. You read different books in different ways. When I read the latest book on theology or the latest commentary I do so understanding they were written by men and although I might trust the author who wrote the book, there is a possibility that the person can err.  I do not view it as authoritative.  When I read the comics I’m reading for enjoyment and I have a certain set of pre-understandings before I begin to read.

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Famine in the Land Part 2–Your Responsibility

In the last post I dealt with Famine in the Land laying the burden upon preachers (you can read it here). This was intentional.  When we read Scripture this is often where God places the burden. That being said, in our modern world, where we have access to Scripture, and high literacy rates, there is no excuse for individuals to go without a Word from the Lord.

Below are practical steps to ensure there is never a lack of God’s Word.

Five Practical Steps to Avoid the Famine

  1. Read the Scriptures: The word of God was meant to be read.  God did not inspire and preserve His Word for us to add decoration to our houses and cars.  By read, I do not mean a quick obligatory reading to make sure we get through the Bible in a certain time frame.  Instead, we should read to understand.  This requires slow careful reading, paying attention to context and flow of thought.  Famine is not alleviated by cursory reading, but by truly feeding on God’s word.
  2. Memorize: Memorization can be done in two ways.  You can memorize Scripture itself.  There is great value in memorizing the Words of God.  Second,  you can memorize the basic theme or principle that the text you read taught. Either way you are putting the word of God into your heart.
  3. Meditate: Once Scripture is read and the text itself, and/or the major principle is memorized, then you can begin to meditate. Meditation is focusing on the teaching of your reading with the goal toward application. It means thinking through the implication of the teaching.  This include what it meant for the original audience, and how it can be applied to you today.
  4. Obey: This is the ultimate goal of Scripture.  Scripture is meant to transform us.  This means that once we have read carefully, committed to memory the certain Scriptures and/or their teaching, and thought through how to apply it, we must then begin to obey it.  It is through obedience that Scripture transforms us. God wants us to walk in His statutes and commandments.
  5. Teach: Once we have understood and applied the Scripture to ourselves, we then should teach it to others.  If God’s people would learn and teach others the Scripture, then the word of the Lord would fill the land.  There would be no famine, but rather an overflow of God’s message.


Famine of the Word of God is a serious problem.  Many churches and communities are faced with this very truth.  Preachers will be judged for this.  The burden of heralding the Word of the Lord falls upon their shoulders.  God has given them that specific responsibility.  However, it is not upon their shoulders alone.  The principle of “to whom much is given, much is required” applies today.  With the availability of Scripture, and the high literacy rate, even if preachers fail to do their jobs, all Christians have the ability to keep our land from this devastating famine.

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What about the Message version?

One of the most common questions I hear is one regarding which version of the Biblical text is best to use and study. Perhaps the most common translation I am questioned about would be the controversial version written by Eugene Peterson called, “The Message”.

So the question presents itself: is The Message a viable translation of the Biblical text, and if not, what is the fuss about?

“The Message was paraphrased over a period of ten years, straight from the Bible’s original languages (Greek and Hebrew). The idea of The Message isn’t to water down the bible, making it easier to digest. The idea is to make it readable- to put those ancient words that their users spoke and wrote everyday into words that you speak and write every day.”

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Bible Study-Section By Section

As we continue our Bible Study Series feel free to look at Old Posts here.

I have already emphasized the need of learning to read the books of the Bible as a whole.  There is no substitute to reading the text over-and-over again.  I also emphasized that as you read look for repetition and find some way to mark it.

Now once you have read through the book, I think it is important to begin to look section-by-section through the book. This is where genre comes into play.  For narrative you are looking for a change of scene to mark off sections. For epistles you are looking for a new paragraph setting, usually began by some repeated introductory phrase.  For prophecy it is important to figure out when new oracles begin. Once again we have help because of the repeated introductions.  Poetry admittedly is more difficult and will receive its own post later.

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Bible Study–Genre Matters

You can read the earlier posts in this series here.

The Bible is more than a single book.  Instead it is a collection of books.  Not only is a collection of books, but it is also a collection of books written in different genres.  Each of these types of writings are interpreted differently.

We should know this intuitively.  You read and interpret a letter from your wife differently then you do a legal ruling.  This should be true in how we view Scripture.  We do not interpret a narrative section (like Matthew, Mark, Genesis etc…), the same way that we would interpret a letter from Paul.  This becomes even more important when we start looking into books that are written in genres completely foreign to us (think the book of Revelation).

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