Study the Bible at home? Maybe you’re like me and this feels like a tall order. After all, we have so many things pulling at us in different directions and demanding our attention. Reading the Bible at some point during the day is an accomplishment let alone studying it. Yet, diving deep into the Scriptures takes you right into the Father’s heart. We get to debate with him, think out loud, question, and be blown away by what he shows us.
As good as it is to listen to our pastors, read awesome teaching books, and play our favorite podcasts, we need to live off our own revelations. These keep us going when things get tough. Second-hand revelations don’t give us much of a strong foundation. We need to encounter and experience God for ourselves.
The Word of God is Alive
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrew 4:12 (NIV)
This is one of my favorite descriptions of the nature and character of the Bible. It’s alive and active. It’s not just a book or a collection of stories. Often our Bible reading times become dull or boring when we forget the sharpness and movement of the Scriptures. They are supposed to get us thinking, meditating, praying, moved, and repenting.
Next time, you read your Bible, try this:
Read it slowly and allow what you are reading to spring to life before your eyes. After I visited Israel and Egypt, a lot of the passages of Scripture came to life for me. Now, I can recall those places I’ve been and what I saw. This helps me to visualize what I am reading thus adding a deeper context to it.
If you aren’t a visual person, ask the Lord to let the Scriptures jump at you. Maybe God will take you on a “word search” or a treasure hunt where each word that jumps out at you forms a larger revelation or message.
God loves to talk our language and he will do so while you study the Bible at home, in the car, or wherever. Ask him to speak to you in the way that you will understand and receive.
Understanding the various ways on how to study the Bible at home will help you experience a more creative and rich time with God. The purpose of reading our Bible is to encounter God. If we read for the routine or purpose of reading, we have fallen into religion. So, here are a few fun ways to spend your time in God’s Word:
1 Go on a treasure hunt
One of the ways you can study the Bible at home is by going on a treasure hunt with God. By this, I mean, choose a topic that you want to know more about. It could be prayer, faith, love, joy, peace, grace, etc. Look up all the scriptures that pertain to your topic and go through them. The treasure is the revelation that God will give you on the way. Similar to an Easter egg hunt.
2 Pick a book in the Bible
Another type of study you can do is choose a book in the Bible (John, Psalms, Proverbs, Ephesians, etc) that you want to do a study on. Read some background on the book of your choice. For this, I’d also suggest reading a commentary and a study Bible which will give you a deeper grasp on context and the main message the writer is trying to convey.
3 Historical study
This involves looking at the history, culture and societal norms of the Scriptures you are reading. This is a more “advanced” type of study but proves rewarding and insightful. Here you’ll have a deeper understanding of what the Jews culture was like or how the Babylonians behaved. Maps, commentaries and a bit of history research will help you in this type of study.
4 A person’s life
This is one of my favorite types of studies. Choose a person’s life that you want to study further (Ruth, Esther, Sarah, Abraham, Joseph, Apostle Paul, etc). Read all the relevant passages of Scripture pertaining to this person’s life. What lessons does their life hold? How can you relate to them? You can always incorporate a smaller historical study into this study as well.
Now that we have a few ideas of the types of studies we can do, let’s get started:
Set aside time. This is the disciplined part of Bible study. Think of it like exercise. If you don’t commit to a specific time for your exercise, you won’t get the fitness benefits. Studying God’s Word exercises our spirits and faith muscles. Find a time that works for you; it doesn’t have to be only in the morning or evening. Start with a few minutes and grow that time as you get into a routine of daily studying the Bible.
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. Romans 10:17 (NIV)
Go to your special place. Studying the Bible requires concentration and minimal interruptions. Find that place in your home where you can be comfortable and alone. It may be in your garden, your bedroom, or the guest room.
Be prepared. Have your Bible, journal, pens or pencils, apps and commentaries on hand. As you explore the Bible with God, he is going to show you awesome revelations and ah ha moments which you will need to write down. You can also use a blank piece of paper to jot down those stray thoughts that come into your mind – what to make for dinner, or phoning so and so, or that payment you forgot to make. Writing them down gets them out the way and helps you re-focus onto your study. Of course, don’t forget that much-needed cup of coffee or tea.
Pray and meditate. Before you start reading, commit your time to the Lord. Open you heart before him and ask him to presence himself with you. As you begin your study, meditate on what God is revealing to you. It’s ok if you only get through one word or a single sentence. The point is to digest what God is speaking to you. Think about it, memorize the verse, think about it some more, pray, do some more research via Google, Bible apps, commentaries, YouTube videos, etc.. The more you work with what God is showing you, the more you are incorporating it into your heart, mind and spirit.
Finally, if you are looking for a great tool to assist you in your Bible study at home, I highly recommend:
BibleHub which has its own series of commentaries, Bible translations and parallels. It also has a Strong’s Concordance. You can look up the original Greek or Hebrew words and make use of the Lexicon section.
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