Only 14% of adults in the US read their Bible daily.American Bible Society, March 2018
In a recent study performed by the American Bible Society, it was reported that only 14% of adults in the US read their Bible daily (March 2018).
As a Christian I find this number to be quite alarming. It is apparent that many of us are not reading the word of God as we should, let alone studying it.
Can I be real with you for a moment?
Reading the Bible, let alone studying it, can feel a bit intimidating, especially if you are a new believer or you don’t know how to study.
After all the bible is made of 66 books divided into two sections the Old and New Testament.
The Old Testament consists of books of history, poetry, and prophecy, while the New Testament consists of the Gospels, Letters, and 1 book of prophecy.
Where does one even start? Do you just open the bible and just start reading whatever page you land on? (If you’re a new Christian I recommend starting in the book of John.)
Then you have to decide what version/translation of the bible you want to read: NIV, KJV, ESV, NLT, HSBC…It can all be a bit much.
Once again if you’re a new Christian I would recommend an NIV, NLT, or ESV Bible.
Luckily for us, there are a whole host of Bible apps that you can use for free that will let you read different versions of the bible.
So that part shouldn’t be too hard to figure out.
But wait… isn’t it the Pastors job to teach us what’s in the bible on Sunday mornings?
So why do I need to even read or study the bible outside of Sunday morning service?
I’m glad you asked!
3 Reasons Why You Should Study Your Bible
1. God Commands Us Too
Yes, it is the pastor’s job to share the word of God with the congregation, but it is also the job of the congregation to study the word of God on their own.
In Deuteronomy 11:18-20, ”You shall, therefore, lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates…”
Note that it doesn’t say the Pastor is to do these things it specifically says, ”you”.
So as you can see we are commanded by God to study his word so that it becomes a part of our hearts and gets ingrained in our souls. That way we can share it with all that we come into contact with.
2. The Word Shows Us How We Should Live
When I was younger our pastors often referred to the Bible as our Basic, Instruction, Before, Leaving, Earth (BIBLE).
The bible has everything that a Christian need to live a life holy and acceptable to God.
2 Timothy 2:16-17 says” All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”
The Bible contains information on how we are to handle our finances, our relationships with our children, spouses, and neighbors, what to do when others treat us poorly, etc.
Whatever you need can be found in the word of God.
3. It Will Change Your Life
In my opinion, this is the most important part of why you should study your bible. If you are struggling with sin, bitterness, unforgiveness, reading and studying the word of God will slowly begin to erode all of that stuff away.
Romans 12:2 says,” Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
The key part of this verse is the renewing of your mind. If we want to see real change in our lives we have to change the way we do things.
You can’t keep doing the same things over and over again and expect different results.
When you constantly study the word of God and are in a relationship with Christ it will slowly (and sometimes quickly) change the way you think about and see the world around you.
How can the word of God change you? Simply put the Word of God is not just a book that you read.
It’s not just words on a page that don’t apply to your life and everyday situation.
Hebrew 4:12 states,” For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
Another interesting finding from the study done by the American Bible Society (March 2018) showed that people who studied their bible regularly:
- Showed more loving behavior towards others,
- Were more generous with their time, energy or financial resources,
- And were more willing to engage in their faith
Reading the Word of God regularly is an important part of our Christian walk with God.
Now that we know why it’s important for us to read and study our bible let’s look at a few helpful acronyms that will help you study.
5 Easy Acronyms That Will Help You Effectively Study The Bible
In general studying, the Bible falls into 3 main categories: topical (word) study, chapter study, and character study.
Topical studies focus on a specific topic or concepts such as love, marriage, parenting, tithing, etc. When doing topical studies it is important for you to study these terms in context.
During a chapter study, you pick a specific chapter in the bible to study. Some popular chapters are Psalm 23, 1 Corinthians 13, Daniel 3, and Hebrews 11. These chapters can be studied in one setting, but are best studied in small sections or multiple study sessions.
Character studies are some of my favorite studies because I get to learn more about some of my favorite Bible characters like Samson, David, Paul, Esther, Ruth and of course Jesus.
Bible Journaling is an effective way to study the bible no matter what type of study you are doing. You don’t need anything fancy to use as your bible journal.
A simple spiral or composition notebook will work just fine.
Even though all of these methods are slightly different they all have the same basic backbone: choosing a scripture, chapter, topic etc, writing down your observations and some form of personal interpretation.
All 5 of these acronyms have already been covered in great detail by other bloggers.
Instead of rehashing what’s already been done I have provided a brief overview of each acronym and provided the link to the original blog post if you would like more information.
Without further ado here are the 5 easy acronyms that you can use to study the Bible.
SOAP stands for S-scripture, O-observe, A-application, P- prayer.
I believe the SOAP method is currently the most popular acronym. Whenever I am on pinterest I always see pins for this study method.
WORD stands for W-write, O-observation, R-relevant, D-declare.
The WORD method does not simply end with prayer, but as part of the prayer you declare the applicable parts of the scripture over your life, which I thought was pretty neat.
APPLE stands for A-attributes of God, P-promises of God, P-principles for life, L- lesson learned, E- example to follow.
The APPLE method is excellent for studying the Psalms. Unlike, the other methods this one has you look for the attributes of God and his promises.
This kind of study can be useful for learning scriptures on healing, finances, God’s provision, or doing a study on the Character of God.
REST stands for R-read, E-engage, S-savor, T-Take charge.
The REST method is best for topical bible studies. For example if you wanted to learn about forgiveness, tithing, baptism, love, etc.
This one doesn’t have an observation section, but instead directs you to meditate(S-savor) on the scripture or passage that you’ve read. Once you’ve meditated you write down what you believe God is speaking to you through the scripture (T-Take Charge).
SALT(Y) stands for S-supplication, A-absorb, L-learn, T- Thanksgiving, Y-you.
This study method begins with prayer (S) and ends with giving God thanks(T). I like that you can add the Y, which causes you to examine how the verse applies to your life.
If you’re crunched for time this bible study would work well, but I wouldn’t recommend it for a more in depth bible study.
Taking time out of your busy day to read your Bible is an important part of any Christians day. Spending time in the word of God is essential to our growth as Christians and can radically change our lives if we let it.
While studying the Bible can seem intimidating it doesn’t have to be. Using any one of the 5 acronyms above can greatly enhance our time spent studying the bible.
Have you tried any of the acronyms above to study the bible? Maybe I’ve missed one or you know of another method. Please feel free to share it in the comments section.
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Until Next Time,