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How to Study the Word

How do we learn to study God’s Word?

We’d like to share with you a simple approach to studying the Bible that you can practice for yourselves, with your families, and for training your men.

The first step is very basic. To get into the Word, you have to set time aside to do it. It’s not just going to happen; you have to plan it. Set aside time to read the Bible―every day.

To get into the Word, you have to set time aside to do it. Click To Tweet

Second, talk to the Bible’s author―pray! Psalm 119:18 reads: “Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law” (NASB). Ask God for guidance and understanding, and then apply these steps as you read:

  1. Observe who wrote the book and who it is written to. If your Bible has an introduction to the book, read it to understand the context. Observe what was going on and what issues or problems the book was trying to address. Observe when this happened (the historical setting) and where this happened. Note the cultural and political background. Ask why the book was written and what the purpose of the passage is. Look for any repeated words, phrases, and themes.
  2. Compare other sections or verses of Scripture that are similar. If your Bible has them, look up cross-references to other Scriptures. Scripture will never contradict itself. A key to understanding a verse is to find another verse that helps to explain it better, so if you have trouble understanding a verse, look for other verses in either the same book or other books that bring clarity to the section.

    For instance, Psalm 90:17 reads, “Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!” (ESV). The cross-reference in Isaiah 26:12 states, “LORD, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us” (NIV).
  3. Interpret what the passage means. Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance and clarification. You might simply say, “Lord, what is this all about? Please help me to understand here.”

    In the example above, we understand from both verses that everything we achieve is God’s work, we can never take credit for our accomplishments, and the evidence of His favor is peace. Isaiah 26:12 helps us understand or interpret the meaning of Psalm 90:17. If you are studying with other men, watch how the Holy Spirit will use the gift that each man has to view and understand a particular passage.
  4. Apply what you have learned to your life. Remember 2 Timothy 3:16-17? The Word of God is for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness. Use that outline to apply what you are reading to your life.
    • Teaching: What does this tell me about God? How does this fit in with other Scripture I know? Is there a principle to personalize?
    • Rebuking: Is this passage telling me that there is sin in my life that I need to confess and forsake?
    • Correcting: Am I being convicted about something? Should I be convicted? If not, why not?
    • Training in righteousness: In light of this passage, how will I live? Is there a command here to obey? Is there a different direction I should go?

You cannot hope to be an effective man of valor if you are not in the Word. You cannot hope to get through the storms of life without the Bible to guide you. You cannot hope to know the power of God without knowing what He has revealed about Himself and about the path He calls you to.

Bible study takes time. Observing, comparing, interpreting, and applying can’t happen if you pick up your Bible and read it for two minutes and then do something else. Plan the time. Allow the time. Encourage men to take the time, and show them how valuable this is.

A man of valor reads and studies God’s Word on a regular basis. Click To Tweet

A man of valor reads and studies God’s Word on a regular basis, and he lives his life day by day using the principles found in God’s Word. Strive above all else to be a man of the Bible, and watch as God transforms you into his likeness – into the man of valor He created you to be.

Mark Seager
Mark Seager is a senior advisor to Men of Valor and is a member of our MOV teaching team. He is pastor of CityView Church in Ashburn, Va.
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