Bible studies written by someone else can be great guides to help us study God’s Word. But they should be supplemental to our own personal study of the Bible. They shouldn’t be the only – or even primary – way we study. There is no substitute for going straight to the Source!
Want to study the Bible on your own, but you aren’t sure how to get started? Maybe you’re afraid you might “do it wrong.” Remember, as believers, we have direct access to THE Teacher. The Holy Spirit, who indwells every Christian, is our Counselor and Guide. He is the One who gives us understanding of spiritual truths.
However, there are right ways and wrong ways to approach God’s Word. For instance, we always need to consider the context and the book’s literary genre. But with just a little help, you can easily study the Bible for yourself. Once you are equipped with the right tools, you will enjoy a lifetime of digging into the depths of God’s truth!
Although there are numerous great resources available, I want to share five with you today. I have read all but one of them and it came highly recommended from a trusted source.
- How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart – I first read this book during seminary. The author’s primary purpose is to help readers understand the differences between the various literary genres of the Bible – like poetry, narrative, prophecy – and how that affects the way we understand and apply it.
2. Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin – This book is a great place to start. Wilkin identifies common ways we incorrectly approach the Bible and gently gets us back on the right track. She gives an easy to follow and correct approach to personal Bible study.
3. How to Study Your Bible by Kay Arthur – Arthur did not invent the inductive approach to Bible study, but she did make it popular through her Precepts Bible studies. This book will show you how to study any passage through “observation,” “interpretation,” and “application.”
4. Living by the Book by Howard Hendricks and William Hendricks – This book is the only one of the five I haven’t read, but it’s next on my list. Like Arthur’s book, this one also teaches the inductive method, but it goes into more depth, adding valuable information and tools.
5. Rick Warren’s Bible Study Methods: Twelve Ways You Can Unlock God’s Word – Warren shows readers how to do 12 different kinds of approaches to Bible study like a chapter analysis, word study, verse-by-verse, or character study. The book includes examples of each method as well as helpful forms you can reproduce for your own use.
If this is all new to you, a good place to start is with Women of the Word. It’s easy to read and gives great overall direction. Again, the idea is to let God speak directly to you through His Word instead of using another go-between. Use those Bible study guides as a supplement to what you’re doing on your own!
What have you been studying recently? I’d love to hear. Also, if you have another resource to equip us for studying on our own, share it with us!