How to study the Bible

How to study the bible?

J.N. Manokaran

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;but his delight is in the lawof the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.  Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgement, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.  (Psalm 1:1-6)

This Psalm teaches that one who meditates the Scripture day and night will be a Blessed person.  Reading and hearing the Scripture is a blessing.  (Revelation 1:3) 

There are several religions in the world, but most of them bye pass the mind.  Many sacred texts are in the sacred languages and are not translated into common people’s language. So most people do not get to know God or read their scripture.  However, The Bible is translated in almost all major languages, implying that God wants to speak to us.  Meditating is to soak the mind with the Word of God.  This results in renewal of the mind and transformation of a person.  (Romans 12:2)

How to study the bible or meditate the Scripture day and night?  There are many methods of studying and meditating the bible.  Some methods are:  topical study, favorite verse study, biographical study, exegetical study, inductive study, deductive study…etc.  In this article we are going to see how we can study and meditate the Scripture by a simple method – devotional study by asking five questions.

Devotional Bible Study – Five Questions:

1.         What knowledge or wisdom do I learn?

2.         What Commandment does God wants me to obey?

3.         Is God Warning me against any danger or sin?

4.         Is there any Example I can follow?

5.         What Promises God wants me to inherit by faith?

These questions are posed and answers sought from a Bible chapter or portion.  There are some texts where we could get answers for all questions and in some we may not find answers for all five but at least three questions. 

Study of Psalm 1

Using this five questions method, we can learn to meditate Psalm 1.    

1. What knowledge or Wisdom do I learn?

The Word of God is the revelation of God.  This provides us the truth.  In each chapter in the Bible there is wisdom or truth or knowledge about God, the world and humans.  This helps us to have right perspective of life.  It helps us to understand the world from God’s perspective. 

In Psalms 1 we learn certain things about God.  First, God is the author of the Law.  It is not Mosaic  Law or Israel’s Law, but God’s Law.  The Law of God is eternal, cannot be altered or edited or adjusted to environment or culture or convenience.  There is an Assembly of God.  There are angels and saints who form the Great Assembly.  All the redeemed would become part of the Assembly.  Sinners, the wicked and scoffers cannot be part of that Assembly. God knows the paths of righteous people.  God knows the future.  He has foreknowledge about the destiny of humans.  The future is not a surprise or accident for the Lord.  God’s children can rest assured that their future is secure in God’s hands. 

The World is contaminated by sin.  The DNA of sin has penetrated all spheres of the society.  In the imperfect world there would be sinners, mockers and wicked. Their counsel is against God’s will; their way is not holy, but sinful and wicked; their assembly is filled with mocking, teasing and ungodly words.  This psalm also teaches that humans are accountable to God.  There is a Day of Judgement.  Each and every person should give account of himself to God.  (Romans 14:12)

2.         What Commandment does God wants me to obey?

Commandments ought to be obeyed.  They cannot be partially obeyed.  Spontaneous obedience is God’s expectation of human beings.  There would be some express or direct commands in any portion of the Scripture. Ten Commandments are a good example of direct commandments.   There could indirect commands that also should be obeyed.

In Psalm 1, God’s commands are three fold:    Do not stand in the counsel of wicked; Do not walk: in the way of sinners; and     Do not sit: with the scoffers.  There are three postures:  Walk, Stand and Sit.  A person who walks like to stand and take rest, and one who stands prefers to sit and relax. 

Taking counsel from ungodly people is dangerous.  Such counsel would lead a person astray from truth and holiness.  The result would be that person would join the assembly of wicked, who are arrogant, ruthless, violent and defy all authority. 

3.         Is God Warning me against any danger or sin?

It is essential to look for warnings or exhortation or counsel in the Scripture portion.  Listening to father or parents is exhortation.  (Proverb 1:8)  Proverbs warns against enticement of sinners:  “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent (Proverbs 1:10)  King Solomon counsels, the lazy person to go and learn from the ant.  (Proverbs 6:6)  Paul exhorts to: Rejoice with those who rejoice.  (Romans 12:15)

In Psalm 1, the warning is that the wicked would be judged and will get eternal punishment.  They would unstable like the chaff that is driven by the wind in all directions.  It also means that the wicked would be restless.  (Isaiah 48:22)

4.         Is there any Example I can follow?

There could be good examples of people of God that we could follow.  Daniel is a good example.  He prayed regularly, consistently and at appointed time every day.  (Daniel 6:10)  He did not alter his practice even when a decree was issued ordering every citizen to  pray only to the Emperor.  It may not be easy to pray three times a day, but it is a good example to follow.  When Peter was in prison for the gospel, the church prayed through out the night (Acts 12).  This is a good example to follow for a persecuted local church.  Philip explains the Ethiopian Eunuch  the meaning of the Scripture portion from Isaiah (Acts 8).  That is a good method to follow in doing ministry. 

Psalm 1 gives the example of the Blessed Man. His mind was occupied by the Word of God and not with the ideas of the world.  His meditation was 24/7.  Because of this practice, his mind was transformed and was a fruitful person.  He was like a tree besides fresh flowing stream and was giving fruit in season.  A blessed person gives the fruit of repentance, the fruit of Spirit (character transformation), fruit of lips (worship and thanksgiving) and fruit of winning people for Christ. 

5.         What Promises God wants me to inherit by faith?

There are numerous Promises of God for His children.  Paul states that God’s promises are Yes in Lord Jesus Christ (II Cor 1:20).  Peter writes that the promises of God are great and precious (II Peter 1:4). However, most promises are conditional.  For example, God’s promise of being with us until the end of the age (Matthew 28:20) is part of the Great Commission.  That Promise is for those who are involved in fulfilling the Great commission. 

God is faithful to fulfill the promises. God is resourceful that he would deliver all the promises.  He is creator and sovereign Lord of all earth.  God is not man to change or edit or forget his promises.  He does not deny his promises. 

In Psalm 1, the promise is: Whatever he does shall prosper.  The success is guaranteed for a person who meditates the Scripture and walks or lives according to it. 

Challenge

Meditating on the Scripture is a skill.  Practice makes a person perfect.  Investing time for knowing God, and His Will is an eternal investment.  It takes hard work. concentration and focus.  In all these, we know the Author of the Bible, the Spirit of God is beside us to teach, enlighten and instruct us.  May we meditate on God’s word and truly be Blessed.

 

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About J.N. Manokaran

Preacher, Teacher and Writer. Serving Lord Jesus Christ through Community Bible Study
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