Do you want my biggest secret? I work at it. Yes, I will be happy to share my methods, most of which would make a true scholar laugh himself silly. So please understand that these are not for preachers or academics. They are for us ordinary people, who never studied hermeneutics or Greek grammar or any of those theological arguments fit only for quiet, dusty rooms instead of life.
However, you must realize that there is no magic formula. It’s like losing weight. You still have to be hungry and you still have to exercise and you still have to give up a few things, no matter what the diet scammers tell you. With Bible study, you still have to work—that means reading till your eyes cross and making notes till your hands cramp and then thinking about it for days, or maybe years, before it all gels and comes together. There is no shortcut.
And speaking of “thinking” about it—most people have an erroneous idea of what meditation is all about. You don’t cross your legs in the floor and hum with your eyes closed. You don’t repeat a verse over and over like a mantra. Instead, you think of the ramifications of a Biblical idea you have been studying, then put two and two together as you begin to collect more verses in your notes, and ultimately in your memory, and more concepts in your understanding. Suddenly, you will be thinking about things one day in the middle of washing a sink full of dishes and the light bulb will come on--you think of something you had never thought of before. The joy in that moment is worth all the hours you spend over a table piled with Bibles, concordances, and papers. What does the Bible say about the righteous man? “His delight is in the law of the Lord,” Psalm 1:2. If you don’t already love the Word of God, I really can’t fix that.
So for the next few Mondays, I will give you both my methods and my thoughts on Bible study. I will approach this as if teaching a class, giving you assignments for the week. I promise that if you do these things, you will become better at doing your own Bible study, and will probably develop a few methods that suit you better.
This will not happen overnight. I am much better at this than I was 30 years ago because I have become familiar with the tools and how to use them, and because, yes indeed, I did find a few shortcuts, though they probably only save a few minutes instead of a few hours. You will become adept too, but only if you continue to do them past these few weeks, over and over and over. Practice is the key.
Feel free to write me if you have questions (left sidebar: contact Dene). I hope you will find this helpful, and will enjoy the discoveries it brings you, both in the next few weeks and in the future.
Remember—Bible study methods for us ordinary folks, for the next 5 Mondays.
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 law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. Psalms 1:1-2.