How to Approach Bible Study
Bible Study Network

    The best way to understand Scripture is to pray to God for
understanding. (Colossians 1:9.)  We can ask God for His Holy Spirit to
guide us. (Luke 11:13.) For as Jesus promised His disciples, the Spirit of
Truth “will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:13.)

    We should pray that God will open our hearts to accept the things
that He wants us to learn and to apply them to our lives.  Jesus said,
“When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand
it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his
heart.  This is he who received seed by the wayside.” (Matthew 13:19.)
“But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard
the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with
patience.” (Luke 8:15.)

We are all called to be students of the Bible, and to consider all of its
various parts as we study. “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful
to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our
lives.  It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is
right.  God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good
work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT.)

    We are called to read and retain God’s word as guidance. As the
psalmist said, “Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not
sin against You.” (Psalm 119:11 NASB.)

    The Bible also calls us to exercise discernment, meaning, while we
should not condemn others, we should pursue what is good and shun
evil. “Folly is joy to him who is destitute of discernment, but a man of
understanding walks uprightly.” (Proverbs 15:21.) “Then you shall again
discern between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves
God and one who does not serve Him.” (Malachi 3:18.)

    In order to exercise righteous discernment, the Bible provides
guidance directly from God. “For the word of God is living and
powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the
division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of
the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12.)  Certainly, we
can pray for discernment—how to better understand our situation and
how to approach it in a way which is pleasing to God. (Colossians 1:9;
Luke 11:13; John 16:13.)

    However, this discernment comes not from “words which man’s
wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual
things with spiritual.  But the natural man does not receive the things of
the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them,
because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:13-14.)

    This appeared to be the problem with the scribes and Pharisees of
Jesus’ day. They knew God’s word.  In fact, they had memorized vast
amounts of it.  Yet, they did not understand what they were reading.  
They appeared to be leaning on their own understanding instead of
trusting in the Lord. (Proverbs 3:5.)

    “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge
of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10.)  Jesus said that we
must be born again to “see” the Kingdom of God. (John 3:3.)  Paul
reminds us to pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17.)

    Sometimes we try to reason things out without seeking counsel from
God. However, potentially difficult situations seem to go much more
smoothly when we ask Him for help—even if it is a simple prayer like
“God help me.” He is always there.  His mercy, grace, and love endure

    God, please help us today to eagerly seek Your words of truth and to
apply them to our lives through the power of Your Holy Spirit.  Amen.

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