The more you expose yourself to the Bible, the more God will expose Himself to you!
This curriculum is designed to help you develop the essential basic Bible Study Skills necessary to grow deeper in the faith. This can be used for new Christians who are just leaning and starting out and for equipping pastors and church leaders to challenge them to further develop and exercise their skills so they can teach these precepts to others. The studying of God's Word is a precious an indispensable and fundamental endeavor we are all called to do. It is designed to draw you closer to Christ, who He is and what He has done. To learn of His precepts and apply then into all areas of our life.
Studying the Bible is both an art and a science. The science is because we need to follow essential rules to examine the Bible, the tools that God gives us. These tools make sure we only take from God's Word what we are meant to take and never read into it our wishes, whims or agendas. In this way we receive the proper instructions and not the opinions of others or myself. The tools are context, meaning and reasoning. The art part is what we bring to the reading of God's Word. This is our ability to take a precept and move beyond the science so it moves me personally and deeply and then apply it. The art is the ability to be creative in leaning and teaching while remaining true to the Word and its context.
Why are we learning this? Because the Bible contains the very Word's of our Lord and God! It is about learning His wondrous deeds, His perfect character, His magnificent glory, His unfathomable Holiness, His immeasurable wisdom, His incalculable love for you and the caring superb insightful precepts so we can grow in Him. It is about learning of His redemption and care for us, so we can in turn care for His Church and community. Reading the Bible is a privilege we all have as Christians, an opportunity we must never take for granted but take every day and make it moving, meaningful and fulfilling. We need to see the magnitude of God love for us, that we are created and saved and make secure in Him. We are to read and study the Bible because He asks us to learn more of Him. You can do it and you can do it well! He takes us on this journey of learning in a gentle and meaningful ways. He rarely forces Himself on us; rather leads by exposing us to Scripture, teaching, fellowship and mentoring. In His word contains His love and practical insights for us to know. Thus the more we learn, the more we grow, the more we expose ourselves to His Word the more He is exposing Himself to us. Then the more empowerment for ministry, more hope for daily living and the more faith we develop and model to others around us.
1. When you read the Bible are you charged up or are you feeling drained and disinterested?
2. Do you realize the incredible privilege you have to Have God's Word available to you? What are you going to do about it?
3. How would you rate the meaning and impact you receive from your Bible reading? Not so good, OK, good, great, Wow I am growing, or?
4. What do you do now to know His most precious Word?
5. What do you need to do to be better at it?
II. What Do I do?
Read the Bible! God's Word will lead to godly action when it is received by a person who is rooted in Christ, whose life has been transformed. If not, we are self deluded as James states in verses 23-27 and Ezekiel in Ezek 3:30-32. Thus, the Bible must be read, it must be adhered to, it must impact us. Then, a visible and viable result will occur as our faith development increases, and our purpose is set with a life that is worth living and that leads others to Him. Further action is taking our faith to the streets of life and actually helping others in a real, authentic way.
- God's Word is the powerhouse to the Christian life!
- How has this been so for you?
- How can it be more for you as you put into practice the precepts of our Lord?
God's Word sets us free; it does not bind us to traditions and meaningless rhetoric; it liberates us into joy and contentment; it brings out our best and gives us purpose and real, authentic meaning. The application of this is in how we control what we say and do, as we are called to do. Our words reflect what is in our heart as do our actions. Serving the needy is our character and maturity in action.
When we really hear God's Word without putting up any barriers, it will impact us existentially (change us internally) down to the depths of who we are in personality, thinking, and attitudes, then it will lead to godly actions. It will model and show a loving concern for others and His precepts in concert. We have to be willing to hear before we can practice it. If we do not practice it, it becomes useless. This does not mean doing something without the knowledge to do it right, or going off without purpose or direction.
Ask God Questions using His Word:
The Essential Inductive Questions
1. What does this passage say?
2. What does this passage mean?
3. What is God telling me?
4. How am I encouraged and strengthened?
5. Is there a sin in my life for which confession and repentance is needed?
6. How can I be changed so I can learn and grow?
7. What is in the way of these precepts affecting me? What is in the way of my listening to God?
8. How does this apply to me? What will I do about it?
9. What can I model and teach?
10. What does God want me to share with someone?
III. Where do I begin?
If you read the Bible every day or have never ventured into it, we all need to be sharpened and honed to be better. I have been doing this most of my life, since 1978, and I still learn on a daily bases, not only do I learn about the Bible, I also learn more on how to study the Bible. It is the arrogant person who thinks that they already know it all. I have been there as that arrogant person, and what I knew then is in no comparison to what I know now which is in no comparison to what He will teach me in the future. Christianity is a living organism that needs to be fed to live and grow, or it will wither, stagnate and even die. Learning the Bible is not a race we will ever finish or a destination we can arrive at. It is a continuous journey that will take all of our lives to do and each trip we take will be different, more exciting and venturous!
First get to know the Bible. Choose a good translation such as the New International Version or New King James Version. Then choose one that is quality made with a good binding, preferably leather so it will last. Look it over, check out the table of contents, the maps see what it has. Then go back to the Table of Contents and get to know the Books of the Bible. Maybe memorize them and thumb though the Bible to where they are to better familiarize their location. As the Bible is not one Book, but a collection of 66 books in two sections the Old Treatment and the New Testament:
The Old Testament (OT) is divided in five main sections. The first 5 books Genesis through Deuteronomy, is called the "Law" or "Torah" in Jewish Sects, it is the Story of creation, fall of humanity, God choosing His servants such as Abraham and Moses, His Holiness and redeeming patent love and Law.
The next section, Joshua through Esther, is called the "Writings" these are the Historical history of the nation Israel, its success, its failings and God's continual patent love weaving His redemption.
The next section, Job through Song of Solomon, is called the "Poetry" or "Wisdom." These are the Psalms, Proverbs, praise and laments (meaning pleas such as Lamentations). These are the honest truths of man seeking God who sought them first.
The last section, Isaiah through Malachi is called "Prophecy." These are the warnings and predictions of God's messengers who wrote on righteousness and God's judgment and warned of current events such as the fall of Jerusalem and the captivity and future events such as the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to redeem all.
The New Testament (NT) is divided up in four sections. The first section, Matthew through John, is called "Gospel," meaning the good news of God. They contain the life and redemption of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ, His teachings, sacrifice and resurrection.
The next section, Acts, is the History of the early Church, what Happened after the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus and His work in the loves of the Disciples to spread His Message and how and why the Church was put together.
Historical (Acts): The book of is a narrative of how the good news about Jesus spread to the world through the growing church.
The next section, Romans through Jude is called the "Epistles." These are mostly the letters of the Disciples and Paul who wrote to struggling Churches to encourage and equip them in the faith. These are about Doctrine and how to workout the faith in every day life.
The last section, Revelation, is "Prophecy." This is both an equipping challenge to struggling churches and a glimpse into things to come such as the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and the End Times.
Now that you have a general overview, make the determination to read it consistently.
Discussion Questions for Building Bible Study Skills
Open Q: Have you ever taken a risk? If so what was it, and what happened?
1. How do you now uncover the meaning and ideas from the Bible?
2. How well to you think you know the Bible?
3. What is your foundation?
4. What can you do to achieve more intimacy and function with our Lord?
5. Read Joshua 1:8; 24:14-15. Answer the following questions,
· What did these statements mean to Joshua?
· What risk could he have been taking?
· How can this statement, when applied to your life, make your life a difference?
· Why would studying God's Word be essential for our growth?
· What happens to Christians when they do not do as Joshua did?
6. Read Psalm 1, What are the benefits of studying God's Word?
(This does not mean problems will not come our way. But these verses do say that when we continue in His Word, we will be rich in fulfillment and meaning. Something that money, cars, popularity, cats, or anything can ever do! Just watch the VH-1 biographies of famous rock, TV and movie stars, and see how and what money fame and success did for them. 99% of the time they ended up dead from drugs, or totally frustrated and disillusioned with life. All that they had, which most of us can only dream about, could not bring them the deep fulfillment and happiness they desired!)
7. Q: Are you confident that you know the Bible? Why or why not?
8. So if you had everything you ever wanted, what difference would that make? Would you end up like a Jim Morrison, Jimmy Hendriks, or Janis Joplin (Most popular rock stars of the 60's who all died by choking on their vomit, and died totally disillusioned and hopelessly unhappy.) or a Curt Corbain, who committed suicide at the height of his popularity a few years ago? How would their lives be different with God's Word?
9. Why did God give us the Bible?
10. So what will God's Word mean to you?
11. Why is it a necessity to put the Word of God into your life? Have you considered how it affects how you feel, how you are, and how it transforms you in how you treat others?
12. Read Col. 3:15-17: How does God's Word give you a spiritual birth and reason in life? Consider the age old philosophical questions: Who am I? What am I here for? What is the meaning of life?
13. Read 2 Pet. 1: 3-11. God calls us to take His Word and allow Him to plant it in us just like a gardener would plant a tree, then allow our efforts in Him and the work of the Spirit to grow the tree of our faith in order to produce the Fruit in our lives to impact others around us. How can this transpire more effectively in you?
14. What will you do now that you know the importance of God's Word?
15. Do the three reasons make sense to you so that you can have more faith and trust in the Bible? If so, why is that important?
16. Do you fully believe when the Bible has impacted us, we will makea response to it? How have you done this? How can you do this better?
17. How can the implantation of God's Word in you be easily thwarted? What blocks you from adhering to God's truths? Why, at times, are we not willing and able to receive them? How does putting up barriers slow down or stop our growth in Christ? What are the barriers for you?
18. What can we do to achieve more intimacy and function with our Lord?
19. When we hear something from God, why is it important that we take seriously the responsibility to put it into action?
20. Why should we, who read His Word, which He taught, obey what He said?
21. What blocks secular people from recognizing Christ's authority?
22. What needs to happen in your life to keep your faith real, valuable, practical, and squarely on His solid Rock?
23. Read James 1: 21-27, what would your church look like if more people were "doers of the Word?"
24. What blocks you people from recognizing Christ's authority and applying His Word?
25. What needs to happen in your life to keep your faith real, valuable, practical, and squarely on His solid Rock?
There are many ways in which we can trust in the Bible. So during the following week, look for and then write down things that are happening to you, such as problems, frustrations, decisions, and opportunities, and how the Bible could make the difference. Keep in mind, stress, anxiety, busyness, social impact and personal impact."GOING DEEP"
Have student's lay on the floor with the lights off and eyes closed. And ask them to see themselves as Joshua, and read the passages 1:8; 24:1-15. Then slowly in a contemporary paraphrase, such as the New Living Translation, or CEV, remain silent for 2 to 3 minutes and read vs. 16-18, and remind them that this is their story, you are there!
Ask; how did it feel to be Joshua? Could you actually see yourself there, why or why not? What did you see, what did you hear, what did you smell? Could you have been bold as Joshua and said and did as he did?
When we hear something from God, why is it important that we take seriously the responsibility to put it into action?
"Knowing this first, which no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation (origin), for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." (II Peter 1:20-21)