This is a guest post by Jim Thorne. Read more about how you can guest post on Christian Web Trends here.
Bible study is both progressive and gradual. This is necessary because it is the way we think. Bible study is thinking about the Bible and addresses questions like what it says, why it speaks, so what?
It is exciting to think that you can do Bible Study online. The excitement comes because the online experience is so one on one, so available, focused, social, and disciplined.
Starting is all important. For this we must look to God for only He can grab a person’s heart and move him or her into Bible study. Since the task is unfamiliar, it will take some explanation to grasp each step.
- Motivation. Even if you’re interested, you still need motivation. You have to become convinced that you need to do some Bible study. Most of us know we need to learn more about the Bible. We are even tempted to get more involved in reading the Bible than we already are. But there are fears and frustrations in our way. We are afraid of failure and need something more than good reasons. MacArthur may help you get motivated with his sermon Who can study the Bible? Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you would persuade, you must appeal to interest and not to reason.” Exposure will generate interest.
- Exposure. Online Bible study makes exposure easy. You can listen to the Bible on your cell phone. One of the resources for listening is Biblica. When the books of the Bible were first written, most recipients experienced them with their ears. The apostle Paul’s letters, for example, were read aloud to the local church communities who received them. This step in Bible Study should begin with a simple commitment. Choose a book of the Bible – any book. For starters, it is wise to choose a small book. I selected 1 John. To get exposure listen as you listen to your favorite music – over and over again.
- Observation. To observe you must read. Your attention must focus on each word in the Bible. Your Online Bible study becomes exciting when you focus your eyes and your mind on the Scriptures. You will find a useful English translation in the English Standard Version. This step will call for you to copy and paste each verse or paragraph into a text editor. There you can highlight and makes notes to save for the next step.
- Interpretation. An interesting article in CARM gives a helpful definition of interpretation. There is a handy resource at Verse Study. You will find some comments on the meaning of each verse of the Bible. This resource is free, but since it is incomplete, you might want to look at Logos. There is hardly anything to match it for completeness for Bible study. One caution – interpretation does not come easily or quickly. It requires a good amount of thinking.
- Application. You cannot avoid application. Bible study is meant to change your life. It will change your life. The Word of God will do that to you. God’s Word is powerful. Your Pastor’s sermons are intended to apply God’s Word to your life. Take notes when he preaches. Think about what you study. Pray. The application will grab your attention.
Now you know how. The challenge is to do Bible study. Online Bible study gives you opportunity anytime, anywhere to engage the Scriptures. What stops you in your steps? I’m taking a survey…
Please tell me which is the greatest hindrance to Bible study you find – distractions, opposition, confusion, time, noise, neglect, language?