Thursday, June 5, 2014

How Do I Study?

     The other day I posted about how we should study our Bibles often. So often do I hear this, but rarely is it that I hear people teaching about how to study. I mean, we aren't born with the knowledge of how to study things. You can't just hand someone a book, say, "Study this" and then expect them to know what do. And honestly, I know you're probably thinking, "UGH! MORE STUDYING!" But as a person who hates studying with a fiery passion of a thousand burning suns, studying the Bible has to be one of the most fun and interesting things I have ever done. There are so many connections that you would have never thought of before you started studying. There's no passage that you can't get a bucket-load of information out of. So today I am going to be talking about 3 of the many different ways to study your Bible.

     The first way to study the scripture is to do a scripture study. This is where you choose a scripture that speaks out to you, or one that you just picked out randomly and read it, and the surrounding verses. Once you're done reading that verse, analyze it. Analyze the words, the context, the statement, who's writing it, everything. Pick apart the verse and find out what it really means (it's VERY IMPORTANT to not only have an accurate translation when studying, but also to have a correct understanding of the context when studying) and then find another verse that's related to it (most Bibles will have a small list of related verses on the side, although again you have to be careful with this because of context context) and continue to do it that way. Pretty soon you will have several verses, ideas, etc. that all match up in ways you never thought they would.

     The second way to study is by doing a word study. A word study is where you choose a word and find all the places in the Bible where that word is listed (sometimes this takes longer than others) and find the connections. One of my favorites of these is the word "love". This one is interesting because there is so much about love that it's connected everywhere. Anyway, word studies are probably one of the most fun kinds of studying. It's always interesting, and even if there is no connection, you're still studying and that's what's important.

     The third way of studying is by books. Now this one if very tricky because a lot of books teach false doctrine in them, so it's very important to get your books from a trusted source. Apologetic Press is a company that I highly recommend, they sell tons of great books, DVD's, etc. Of course, books are great tools but it's also to do some studying on your own.

    A couple other tricks are to write in the margins of your Bibles. That's okay. It's actually really good to do! You can get these amazing pens called "micron pens" by Pigma. They leave a really small, fine line so you can write in margins, and they don't bleed through like regular pens. Another thing is to color-code. In the front of my Bible, in one of those blank pages I have a log of what each color means, and instead of using highlighters that will bleed through, I use colored pencils, and they're much softer looking and less bright and painful than highlighters. They also won't smudge, and they're so much cheaper than highlighters. One last thing is use the blank pages in the back of your Bible! In the back of mine I have a key of several different subjects and verses under them, and as time goes on I fill them out, add more subjects, etc. You could also do several other things, but that's something that has really helped me a lot in my studies.

     I know this is a rather long article and it's not really about the Bible, but I do believe that studying on your own is better than reading articles that someone else wrote. I'd like to encourage you all to study often, and to use some of these studying tactics. The Bible is one of the two most important thing that we were ever given, and it was written so that anyone can understand it. I'd like to encourage you all to mark in your Bibles, make notes, add colors, do whatever makes study better. You never know what will help.