How do you read the Bible? How do you dive deep and embrace all that it has to offer?
Amy teaches Hoboken Grace’s Genesis Story Study on Sunday mornings, and whether you’ve taken her class or not, she has some great tips for exploring God’s Word.
She recently talked to the Writing Team about how to find time in a busy schedule, how to get started, and how studying the Bible can change your life.
Q. What type of study questions should one be asking while studying the Bible?
A. I use a document, which has three different ways to study the Bible, with people who take the Sunday Story class that I lead. Whichever you use, always begin with reading through the text several times.
The Bible study method Amy walks her class through focuses on observations (looking at the recorded text without adding to it in the process), interpretation (examining what the original author was trying to say to the original audience) and application (applying what you have studied to your own life). She also walks her class through how to meditate on God’s Word, as well as several questions that can be helpful for digging deeper. (Who wrote this portion of scripture? What are the main points? What did you find most surprising about it?)
Q. Do you have a specific process? And do you take a different approach to studying the Old Testament from the New?
A. I like to use the observations, interpretation and application method. You can use the same process for studying the Old and New Testament. However, it is important to know that the whole need and promise for a Savior is established in the Old Testament. The New Testament addresses the fulfillment of that need and promise in Jesus. Understanding the Old Testament traditions and law brings tremendous meaning and context to the arguments of the New Testament.
Q. For those who have never read the Bible, what would you say is the difference between hearing a verse explained during church and taking the time to study a Biblical verse at home?
A. It is so important to learn to read and study the Bible for yourself. Being alone with God, in His Word, will be when God is able to teach and show you who He is in your life. Studying the Bible is about getting to know God more, to draw closer to Him. As you encounter Him through His Word, He will begin to show you what you believe, and how to replace any lies with His truth. It’s then when we can really start walking in His ways and His truth. His Word is life changing. Another reason to study the Bible is to be able to discern whether or not what people are teaching is the truth. If you only rely on what others say about God, you may be misled and you will definitely miss out on the personal, specific things He has just for you!
Q. How have you personally experienced spiritual growth while studying the Bible?
A. While I grew up going to church, it wasn’t until my early 30s that I really began my personal relationship with Jesus. I figured if I was going to follow Him, I needed to know who He was and who He says I am. So, I grabbed the Bible that I owned and actually opened it. As I started reading it, my desire to learn more about Him and more of His ways grew. I had heard Bible Stories as a kid in Sunday school, but really I just always thought of the Bible as a rulebook of what to do and not do. As I started studying and reading the Bible, I learned more about how amazing He is and how much He loves me. I began to discover that the Bible wasn’t just a book of old, unrelatable stories or rules, but it was filled with stories of His love. Once I began spending time in His Word, I wanted more time with Him, not less. I also found out how fun God’s Word can be! The things He will show you as you draw to Him, through His Word, really are exciting!
Q. What would you recommend is the best way to incorporate Bible studies in a busy daily schedule? And what is a good amount of time to dedicate when you’re just starting out?
A. Each person has to determine when in their day is the best time to spend with God. It has to be planned and prioritized. It won’t “just happen.” Once you determine the time, pick a book of the Bible you want to study. One thing that I enjoy is doing a study with other people. It’s great for accountability. When doing a group study, make sure that the discussion as a group always comes after you have spent time doing the study alone. Don’t settle for just getting to hear what other people have learned, but spend time in God’s Word with Him first. I find 20 to 30 minutes is a good starting point.
Q. Are there any advantages to using online Bible study sites, and are there any websites that you would recommend?
A. I would recommend getting a study Bible. Study Bibles are great because they contain many tools to help you study.
This is a good resource book:
“Rick Warren’s Bible Study Methods.” Twelve different methods are explained in simple, step-by-step instruction.
This is a good resource book if anyone is interested in learning more about the inductive study method: “How to Study Your Bible.”