God wants us to pray to Him every day. But He also wants our communication to be a two-way street. “When you study the Bible, God is talking to you. When you pray, you are talking to Him,” Herbert W. Armstrong wrote. “You get to really know God in this manner, just as you become better acquainted with people by conversation” (The Incredible Human Potential).
Psalm 119:162 says, “I rejoice at Your word as one who finds great treasure” (New King James Version). God has given us a valuable chest filled with priceless treasure—the words of eternal life! (John 6:68). The deeper we delve into that treasure chest, the Bible, the richer we become and the happier we will be.
There are many exciting ways to study the Bible and let God talk with you. Let’s look at seven of them.
1. A book of the Bible. Focusing on a particular book of the Bible will give you a deeper insight and context for its message. You can research why it was written, its major theme or themes and its overall outline, then understand the scriptures within that context.
For example, the book of Matthew focuses on Christ the King. Matthew uses the word kingdom 56 times. He traces Jesus Christ’s genealogy to King David and refers to Him as “the Son of David” seven times. He refers to Jerusalem as “the city of the great King.” Matthew is a book about kingship. With that in mind, the sermon on the mount, for example, takes on a deeper perspective. It’s not just about Christian living today but also about the kind of character Christ is looking for in those He will need to rule with Him.
2. An individual in the Bible. Men and women in the Bible are noteworthy of study. Studying the life of Jesus Christ is the best example. How did He react to situations when He was challenged, when He was very tired, when His friends let Him down? How did He stay on track and endure? What was His motivation? Note the qualities He exhibited and ask yourself how you would act and how you should act, according to His example.
Other biographies worthy of study are noted in Hebrews 11, the faith chapter, in which Paul mentions about 20 personalities in the context of faith. As you study their lives—put yourself in their shoes. Do any of them have problems similar to yours? What mistakes did they make that you can avoid? What was God’s advice to them? How can you benefit from lessons learned?
3. Specific Bible subjects. For example, Paul lists nine qualities related to the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. Those same words are each used in many other places in the New Testament. By grouping all the scriptures together that use the same word, you can gain a deeper understanding of what each aspect of spiritual fruit entails and how specifically you need to change your life. Another example would be to study the words used to describe love in 1 Corinthians 13. When you look up all the scriptures where the same words are used, you will develop a richer appreciation of what love is all about.
Many Bibles have a concordance at the back. Look for topics that will help you overcome and develop character. There are hundreds of such subjects!
4. Bible doctrines. A doctrine is a teaching. Many churches have doctrines that come, not from the Bible, but from their own traditions—doctrines that, in fact, contradict the Bible! The doctrines in God’s true Church, however, all come from the Bible. As a result, God’s Church has many doctrines that differ from this world’s religions. Sample doctrines include the three resurrections, born again, the soul and salvation, repentance, baptism, laying on of hands, the Holy Spirit, the true gospel, the Kingdom of God, the Millennium, God’s government, what is a true Christian, and many others. Using a concordance, you can search out key words related to any one of these doctrines. You will be elated with what you discover!
5. Bible-based books and booklets. The Philadelphia Church of God, publisher of the Royal Vision, produces dozens of books and booklets. We make them available at theTrumpet.com/library. These are meant to be studied along with your Bible. Study the scriptures these booklets refer to as you read them, and you will come to understand the meaning of the Bible better.
6. Royal Vision articles. This Christian-living magazine guides you through the content and the meaning of the Bible, with a particular emphasis on subjects relevant and applicable to your life. Again, be sure to read it alongside your Bible and as a tool to get into the Bible.
7. Message notes. If you attend services in God’s true Church, you hear messages from ministers who have prepared what God knows we need to hear, based on the Bible—material that is currently relevant, appropriate and possibly urgent. That’s why it is important to review and study notes from services and Bible studies.
Put these study ideas into action, and Bible study will be exciting, fun and richly rewarding—something to eagerly look forward to! Practice studying the Bible, let God talk to you each day, and you will enrich your life now and forever!