So much could be said about studying the Bible. But here are a few pointers that will go a long way in helping a person study the Bible:
1. Study God’s Word humbly. Approaching the Word with reverence and awe and humility will grant you favor in understanding the text. Isaiah 66:2b (ESV):
But this is the one to whom I will look:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit
and trembles at my word.”
2. Study God’s Word contextually. Always read the Bible with the immediate and larger context in mind. Immediate context refers to what is close by the text you are reading. In other words, when studying a book like Colossians, keep reminding yourself of what is before the verses you are reading and what is right after the verses you are reading. Larger context refers to the basic overall theme of the Bible, which is that God through Christ saves His people from their sins for His glory.
3. Study God’s Word inductively. Perhaps no other organization has done more to promote personal inductive Bible study than Precept Ministries. But their method is not new. Inductive Bible study means starting with what the text says (observation), moving next to what it means (interpretation), and then, finally, seeking to discover how to apply it to your life (application). Getting these three out of order usually leads to bad doctrine, bad thinking, and ultimately, bad behavior.
4. Study God’s Word dependently. Depend on God’s Spirit to give you wisdom. Also, and this is very important, depend on good teachers to help you. God’s Spirit has given saints through the centuries much wisdom in studying God’s Word. Avail yourself of resources from others to help you: Bible dictionaries, Study Bibles, commentaries, sermons, etc. But a word of caution is warranted: be careful not to place these resources as more important than spending quality time at the source itself, God’s Word.