Saturday, February 18, 2012
I've already shared that I'm reading through the Old Testament this year. I told you in my last blog post that I'm trying to read three chapters a day. That's still my goal, but it's not always feasible. Sometimes I get so caught up in a chapter that it takes me forever to get through just that one chapter. On days like that, I just read whatever I have time for. Then, on other days, when the chapters are shorter or I have more time, I'll read more than three chapters.
I was planning on just focusing on how I study the New Testament in this post, but it makes sense to go ahead and give a brief overview of how I'm studying the Old Testament as well. It's somewhat the same as how I study the New Testament, but it's a bit different in some areas.
Let me start by sharing with you my Bible study tools. First, of course, is my Bible. I have a beautiful John MacArthur Study Bible that a friend gave me for Christmas. It's such a wonderful asset to my Bible study! I love it! The notes shed so much light on Scripture, and it has maps and a concordance as well. I also always have a notebook and a pen. I like to jot down notes and thoughts in it about the passage that I'm reading. It helps me remember what I read, and I can look back on it later to see my notes on that passage.
In addition to these, I have a couple of tools that I don't use all the time, but do use occasionally. The first one is Vine's Expository Dictionary (another gift; I received it from the pastor of my church when I graduated from college). This comes in handy when I run across words that I'm not sure about, or that I want to know more about. Lastly, I have my Bible software, E-Sword. It's available for free from http://www.e-sword.net/. The thing that I love most about it is that you can download several commentaries and Bible versions for it, as well as other study helps, and the majority of them are free. It's a very useful tool.
Now, onto how I actually study the Bible, starting with the Old Testament. As I said earlier, I try to read three chapters a day in the Old Testament when I can. I usually read it in the afternoons before work, so it depends what time I get up and what else I have to do as to how long I can read. While I'm reading, I keep my pen and notebook by my side. If I come across something that catches my attention I use those to jot down my thoughts and any application that I gain from that passage. The pen also comes in handy for underlining verses in my Bible that stick out to me and that I want to come back to later. If there's something that I don't understand in the passage, or that I want to know more about, I first reference the notes in my Bible. If I have more questions after that, I use the commentaries that I have on E-Sword.
That's basically my method for studying the Old Testament. Pretty basic & simple, and likely pretty similar to the way the rest of you study the Bible. Now, onto how I study the New Testament.
In studying the New Testament, I concentrate on one book a month. If it's a short book (like James, Philippians, Philemon, etc.) I read through the whole book every day for the whole month. If it's a longer book (like Matthew, Roman, Revelation, etc.) I break the book into sections and read that section for a month. I use the same method of jotting down notes in a notebook as I do with the Old Testament.
This isn't an original method from me, actually. I got it from the notes on how to study the Bible that are in the front of my Bible. However, I have tweaked it a bit to work more for me. The reasoning behind it is to become thoroughly acquainted with all of the New Testament books and their content. Be advised, with 28 books in the New Testament, it's gonna take some time to get through the whole New Testament. However, I believe it will be worth it in the end.
I'd like to hear from you all. How do you read and study your Bible? What methods have you found to be most useful for you? Any tools or helps that you'd recommend?