Jesus Christ said, “It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer.”

How to Study the Bible

by Dwight Hill
As we grow in Christ, it’s important that we advance from manmade Bible studies to digging into the Word of God for ourselves. A common method is “inductive” Bible study. The words from the author of Hebrews are salient:

In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil (Heb. 5:12-14, NIV).
To begin, I would suggest that you select one of Paul’s smaller books-1 Thessalonians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 or 2 Timothy. Do a background study on the book: Who is the author; why was it written? Learn the historical background, dates, key players, and such. Some Bibles have summaries at the beginning of each book. A Bible dictionary can also be helpful.
Then take the first chapter and work through it verse by verse. After exhausting your analysis, consult a Bible commentary. Here is a sampling from 1 Timothy (adapted from Issue 90 of Discipleship Journal, page 20):
Verse

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope . . . ” (1 Tim. 1:1, NIV).
Personal Paraphrase

Paul, one sent forth as Christ’s representative, by the commandment of God, the One who saves us, and Christ Jesus our hope…
Questions and Answers

Q. What does the word “apostle” mean?
A. The Greek word apostolos comes from the verb apostello, “send forth.”
Cross References
Apostle:
2 Corinthians 1:1
God my Savior:
Luke 1:47; Titus 1:3
Christ our hope:
Colossians 1:27
Insights
The name Paul comes from the Latin name Paulus, which means “little.” The name Timothy means, “He who honors God.”
Personal Application
I must begin to see myself in the role of Christ’s ambassador who has been authorized and sent out with a divine message. The authority of my witness will only be as effective as my awareness of my mission.

After completing the verse-by-verse analysis of the chapter, assign it a title and a key verse or verses. Write a summary paragraph as to the thesis of the chapter. Repeat the process for subsequent chapters. When the book is completed, give it a title.
Sadly, mediocrity is a hallmark of the age. Let me challenge you to set some high goals for your personal spiritual growth.
For example, you might say that within the next 10 years you will have studied in this manner a certain number of the books of the Bible-giving, say, three hours a week to study (not to be confused with or substituted for your “quiet time”).
Wasn’t it Michael Jordan who once said, “Aim at nothing and you are sure to hit it”?
Dwight is with the Business and Professional (B&P) ministry of The Navigators. B&P exists to win and disciple business and professional men and women in the marketplace and to help them live kingdom values in their work environments. Visit B&P online and sign up to receive several of the ministry’s publications via e-mail, including Facts of the Matter, in which this article first appeared.