Hopefully and prayerfully, the following suggestions will help make your Bible study more meaningful and enjoyable.
Take all of your preconceived ideas and religious traditions and put them to the test (1 John 4:1; 1 Thess. 5:21). Be honest and investigate what you believe (Luke 8:15). Study with faithful knowledgeable Christians. Since God is true (Rom 3:4), and His word is truth (John 17:17), you have nothing to lose but error.
The Bereans of Acts 17:10-11 had a hunger for God’s word (Matt. 5:6), but were nobody’s mindless puppets. When it came to Bible teaching, they did not blindly follow anyone, not even the apostle Paul. They studied for themselves to determine whether those things that Paul taught were so (John 5:39; Eph. 3:4; 5:17).
Bible study at times requires more than a causal search. There are things in the Bible that we simply must know. This should motivate and propel us to diligent study (2 Pet. 1:10). Therefore, study as if your eternal soul depends on it, and keep it mind, it most certainly does (John 12:48; Jas. 1:21; 2 Tim. 3:15).
Jesus pointed out that our primary responsibility was to get ourselves right, but secondly, we have a spiritual duty to help others (Matt. 7:3-5; Gal. 6:1; 1 John 3:17-18). An important way to help others is to study issues and problems that others are struggling with that we might offer them a sound spiritual solution and assistance.
Before beginning Bible study or any spiritual endeavor, start with prayer. Ask your heavenly Father through the authority Jesus to give you wisdom (Jas. 1:5; Ps. 90:12), knowledge (Ps. 119:66), and understanding (Ps. 119:34), as you daily seek and search the infinite wisdom and knowledge of His word (Rom. 11:33). He will if we are in a right relationship with Him (Matt. 7:7-11; 1 Pet. 3:12; 1 John 5:14).
A central thrust of the Bible is God’s desire for all to know His will (Jer. 22:29). Due to procreation (Gen. 1:28), there will always be a need for evangelism. It is our obligation and assignment to take the gospel to all people (Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-47; Acts 1:8; 8:4). Yet, we must study daily to have something to share (1 Pet. 3:15; Acts 17:23).
Bible study within the pious mind creates a deeper sense of reverence, “…but my heart standeth in awe of thy word” (Ps. 119:161b; 19:7-9). God spoke and His word lives! That old, old, story, taught throughout human history will have just as much relevance and impact on sincere souls in the year 2,432,015 A.D. (if the Lord delays his coming) as it does today and have in the past (Matt. 24:35; 1 Pet. 1:25).
Bible study is not a labor, but a privilege. Better still, a joy! Through Bible study our Lord talks to us, teaches us, encourages us, helps us, warns us, strengthens us, and even embraces us—all through His word. Our Great God has assured us of His enormous love and eternal plans for us through His word. This gives us constant joy (1 Pet. 1:3-4, 8; Phil. 3:1; 4:4; 1 Thess. 5:16).
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God” (2 Timothy 2:15).
May God continue to bless us all!
Richard Stevens, III
Minister of the Beckley Heights church of Christ