The goal of Bible study is to meet God daily through the study of his Word. First I pray that the Lord will illuminate the Word of God to my mind and my heart and then I pray for understanding.

There are many ways to study the Bible and here are some suggestions.

1. Read through the entire Bible. This is highly recommended. At a discernment conference I attended we were told to read through the Bible and when we were done, start over again.

2. Read an entire book. Look through the book first noting the subjects. Take notes and write down any applications you may find that apply in your life. Commentaries are great. You may want to read this AFTER your initial reading. God may want to show to something and when we read commentaries first this may obscure what the Lord wants to show us personally.

3. Concentrate on a passage. This is great for understanding of scripture but you should see how this passage fits in with the rest of the book or chapter you are reading. Many poor interpretations come from taking a single verse and using it out of context diminishing its proper meaning.

What is the content and facts of this passage? Who? When? Where? Why? What is the truth that is being conveyed in this passage? Is it a warning, or are we being commanded to do something? Does God give a promise or an encouragement in this passage? What are the parallel passages?

The parallel passages are important because scripture interprets scripture.

What are the specifics in this passage that we can pray about?

4. The Attributes of God. Go through a part of the Bible and look for attributes that describes the nature of God. Here is a sampling:

Light

Shepherd

Reconciler

Voice

Holy

Wise

Judge

Eternal

Truth

Love

Joy

Creator

Comforter

Forgiver

It is through these attributes that we begin to understand the character of God.

Lets look at Psalms 119: 114-117. I was looking at verse 114 specifically but noticed the many attributes in this passage.

“You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word. Away from me you evildoers, that I may keep the commands of my God! Sustain me according to your promise, and I will live.”

Refuge

Shield

Hope

Word

Sustainer

Law

Promise

Life

Just look at the fountain of information is this single passage. There is a wealth of attributes about God that you can consider and thank Him for.

5. Word Study. Perhaps you want to study faith, perseverance, hope or fear. Whatever it is you want to concentrate on, you might start by looking up the word in a Bible dictionary. Look in your concordance or invest in a topical Bible. There are great websites that allow you to pull up every verse that has the word “holy” in it. Compare all of the verses asking: Who? What? Where? When? How? What can I apply what I have learned to my own life?

The applications of Bible study to our life is where the meat is. What is it that you learned that you can apply to your daily life? What specific action can you take? If you decide you want to spend more time in study, you may want to be specific by setting aside a certain time each day from 7:00 – 7:30 to pray and read God’s Word. Taking specific action is helpful to accomplish this goal.

You may want to apply something you learned to your work, (honesty on a time card), co-workers, ( being kind to someone who dislikes you), or maybe in your personal life, ( waiting on God’s time not your own.) Well, you get the picture. We need to apply the truths we find God’s Word to our everyday lives.

I often sit on my sofa, pillow on lap, with my Bible resting on it. I have 3 translations all handy. KJV, NIV, and a NRSV. Of course there is the computer for on-line versions of the Bible, commentaries and Greek/Hebrew concordances. I use http://www.blueletterbible.org but there are many others.

Many times I am filled with awe and love that God’s precious word is right before me. I am sitting at the foot of my Lord clinging to His feet and worshiping Him and His Word. Last week before writing this I felt like Mary who sat at the feet of the Lord when Martha was busying herself with chores. This is what I sense with Bible in hand. Communion with the Lord. I run my hand over the onion-skin paper and enjoy the crinkle of the pages. Such a sweet sound.

It is here that I find God. It is here Jesus Christ, God’s son lives for me. It is here the Holy Spirit illuminates the words that convict, instruct and compel me to live only for Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.

If a follow someone’s dream…I may be following another. If I hear another voice….I may be led to the wrong conclusion. If I follow another persons vision….I follow illusion which quickly turns into disillusion. That is why God’s voice is the written word.

We must use the Word of God as a measuring rod against all of man’s wisdom, thought, and actions. If it doesn’t line up with scripture it must be discarded. The Bible is the great discerner. It is the Truth, and so it is rejected by most of the unbelieving world.

But to those who love the truth it contains joy, salvation and guidance for living for the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Homiletics.

What is homiletics?

Homiletics is a study system often used by pastors to extract key information from a passage. This is done by analyzing the passage for key phrases and condensing it to determine its basic content. Once you have the key words or phrases try to summarize the entire passage into a single composed sentence.

Next write down lessons or truths that can be learned from the passage. It is amazing how many truths can be lifted from a single passage when you really begin to study and contemplate it. Pray before you start that God will open your heart and mind to receive his Word.

Once the key truths are realized then you can start to expand the passage back out with applications that you can use in your life. Think of situations where you can actually apply the truth. How can your behavior be changed to glorify God?

 

Here is an example using homiletics from Matthew.

 

First read Matthew 17: 1-13 —-The Transfiguration

Where is it? High on the mountain.

Who is it? God – Jesus – Peter – James – John – Moses – Elijah

Key words in each verse.

1. Jesus 3 disciples mountain

2. Jesus transfigured bright light

3. Moses Elijah Jesus talking

4. Peter build shelters?

5. Voice Son Love Pleased Listen

6. Disciples Terrified

7. Do not be afraid

8. Saw only Jesus

9. Don’t tell raised

10. Why Elijah first?

11. Elijah will restore

12. Elijah & Son suffer

13. Elijah/John the Baptist

The Sentence summarizing the passage.

Matthew records that Jesus is transformed showing the disciples His true glory.

The Lessons

1. Jesus is the light

2. Jesus will reveal himself to you.

3. Jesus knew the OT prophets.

4. Jesus is truly God.

5. God the Father made it clear his Son is Jesus.

6. We are to listen what Jesus says.

7. Even though we love God we are to also fear him.

8. Do not be afraid of what God reveals to you.

9. Do not be afraid to tell others about Jesus Christ.

10. Jesus would be rejected like John the Baptist.

Possible Applications – I Will’s

I will get to know Jesus by reading His Word, listening to sermons, or fellowship with others. I know that Jesus will reveal Himself to me as I follow Him.

I will be confident explaining to others that Jesus is truly the Son of God, since these word came from the Father Himself.

I will listen to what Jesus tells me.

I will boldly tell others about Jesus because I was told not to be afraid.

I will expect that the very presence of God would cause fear and trembling.

I will go into the valleys to serve as I descend from the spiritual highpoints.

I will ask God what truth He wants me to know so that I can share with others.

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I want to tell you that this was one of the homiletic lessons that I prepared last year for my students. Some see other truths that I did not see so I wanted you to know that this is only an example. The students are to do the above procedure on their own worksheet. At the end of the year there were students who could pick out the content words on their worksheet, write a sentence, find at least one lesson and application and more during discussion, in the 30 minutes we were allowed for this part of the evening. The age group I taught last year were 10-11 year olds. To watch what God has done in these children who seek the Lord is nothing short of amazing. It is totally a blessing and filling of the Holy Spirit.

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My personal summary of Matthew 17:1-13

The transfiguration revealed to the disciples the Glory of God and of Jesus Christ. It looked to the past and it looked to the future. Jesus left the glory of heaven to come to earth as man and then to return after His work on the cross to His resurrected glory. He now abides at the right hand of the Father till He returns and someday we will witness Jesus in all His glory just as the disciples saw Him that night.

The transfiguration gave the disciples a witness account of what he actually and truly looks like. What a gift this was for the disciples who at Pentecost would remember His glory so they would profess to the world as eyewitnesses, the significance of His majesty.

Peter had earlier proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah and he did so without seeing anything like the splendor that had been later revealed to him, and John and James. But once they believed by faith they were given a spectacular view of His glory. He revealed Himself to His servants, and they saw His radiant face and garments, Moses and Elijah and heard the voice of God.

A cloud enveloped them and the voice said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

What a wonderful confirmation of who Jesus truly is. God Himself assured the disciples and us, that Jesus is truly the Son of God.

The disciples fell face down into the ground in terror. (What does this tell us today about those who say they communicate directly with God?) However, Jesus told them not to be afraid, and when they looked up Jesus was alone. How could they ever look at Jesus the same way again? What awe this must have created. And to see Moses and Elijah. What an unspeakable honor to see the Old Testament prophets. Oh, to hear what they spoke of. We are told very little in Luke about their conversation.

They asked Jesus, “Why do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first? Jesus explained that Elijah did come as John the Baptist to prepare the way for Him, but he was killed just as Jesus would also be killed.

They then went down from the mountain and back into the world. After this spiritual high point they were to move on and were immediately met by a needy person. What a lesson in itself right here, that after a glorious experience, one is expected to help another.

How many people are continually seeking spiritual mountaintops? Meeting after meeting, conferences, seminars, always seeking signs and wonders, desiring only the high points, never serving.

There are times when all I want to do is sit in my little room and think about God’s glory. But I know that this is not what I have been trained to do. I can only serve God by coming down off the mountaintop and into the valleys to serve. But one of things I take away from this passage is the commandment to listen and to obey Jesus. His commandments are laid out in the Word of God. When I have a spiritual highpoint in my life now I take it as an encouragement to go forth and serve God. It is not something to bask in like we see so much of today. We are not to be afraid to do what He asks of us. He showed His glory to the disciples so that they would go out and preach the Gospel.

We can apply what we have learned here by listening to God’s voice in the Bible. We can boldly go forth and tell others because God has revealed himself to us through his Word. Doing so will please God.

Luke adds that Jesus was praying after ascending the mountain. Jesus prayed at all the important steps in His life and this time was no exception. This is a reminder that when we are facing an important decision or step in our life, we need to go the Father in prayer.

Peter later wrote:

“We were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain”

2 Peter 1:16-18

What an affirmation for the disciples who actually heard the voice of God and saw the Shekinah glory. What a confirmation to them that Jesus not only knew Moses and Elijah, but that He was fulfilling their teachings. What a glorious vision to recall as they went out after Pentecost knowing what Jesus truly looked like in all his glory as He sits at the right hand of the Father.

Bible study is your personal time spent with God. Pray first for understanding from the Holy Spirit and let the Spirit guide you into the Truth.