How to Study the Bible Session 4

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Due to technical difficulty there was no audio recording.
However, the notes for this session have been posted. 
How To Study Your Bible III

If you want to become a better Bible student, you must first and foremost become more efficient at observation. To become a better Bible observer, one must become a better reader of the Bible. Last week we talked about reading the Bible as you would a “love letter,” and making it personal. We also talked about becoming a Bible detective and reading thoughtfully.

Tonight, we are going to look at reading our Bibles repeatedly and patiently.

Read Repeatedly

The genius of the Word of God is that it has staying power, it can stand up to repeated exposure. It is unlike any other book. Read it over and over again and you will still see things that you have never seen before. Here are several suggestions.
1) Read entire books at one sitting – The bulk of the books in the Bible are no longer than two or three columns in a newspaper. Every book was written as a unit and that book that you are reading is a unit of thought. Why dive into the 3d or 4th chapter and miss the main point of the author? Remember Acts 1:8. “But” forced us to go back to the beginning. That is always a good place to start.
2) Read the Bible in different translations. After awhile reading a passage of Scripture repeatedly breeds familiarity. Reading different translations keeps the experience alive and fresh and helps in observing new things.
3) Read the Bible out loud. Reading out loud gets you more involved in what you are reading and forces you to pay attention to the words you are reading. Deuteronomy 6:7 gives biblical precedent for doing this. When was the last time your kids heard you read the Bible to them? Listening to audio tapes of the Bible is also very helpful. The books of the Old and New Testaments were read publicly in times of worship. The Psalms were mostly sung not read. Hearing words is as important as reading them.
4) Set up a schedule to read your Bible. Many of your bibles have a schedule in them for reading through it in a year’s time. If you will stick to a program like that you will read through the Bible again and again!

Read the Bible Patiently

We live and instant society and we want everything right now. It is no surprise that many of us open our Bibles and expect results instantly and effortlessly. The “fruit” of the Word takes time to ripen. If you are the least bit impatient you are liable to bail out early and miss a big “harvest!” We are not in a sprint, we are in a marathon. We are cross-country runners. Preparing for the long haul in Bible study involves reading the Bible patiently.

1) Work with one book a month. Four to five weeks is normally enough time to make some significant headway. In five weeks, you can read through a book several times. You can identify the author, the structure, key terms, significant people and places, and key relationships in the book. At the end of five weeks you will have ownership of that book. Just think in a year’s time, you could have done this with 12 books. In 5 % years, you would have studied all 66 books! You are less than six years away from having a good grasp of the Bible. After our study course some good suggestions to get started are Nehemiah, Jonah, the gospel of Mark, Philippians, or James.
2) Get the big picture first. Read the book through in its entirety.
3) Focus on major events and ideas. For instance, in Genesis the first 11 chapters focus on creation, the fall, the flood, and the confusion at Babel. The next 39 chapters cover the lives of four men: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. That is the big picture of Genesis. Some events worth focusing on would be the flood, the fall, the sacrifice of Isaac. You can even focus in on a smaller event. For instance, during the creation event you may want to look at the institution of marriage in 2:18-25. Don’t forget, the individual events fit into the whole unit or the overall message of the book.
4) Be patient with the text, and be patient with yourself.

Assignment – Exodus 20:1-21

Day 1 – Before reading see how many of the 10 commandments you can quote,
then read to see how well you did. Spend time thinking about what you already
know about this passage. Make comments.
Day 2 & 3 – Read the book of Exodus from the beginning until you get to chapter
20. What is the significance of the 10 commandments in light of the events
preceding them?
Day 4 – Read Exodus 20: 1-21 in a different translation. Put yourself in the shoes of
an Israelite standing at the foot of Mt. Sinai after being led out of slavery in Egypt.
How would you feel after hearing these commandments for the first time?
Day 5 – Read Exodus 20:1-21 out loud. Remember that is the way the Israclites
heard the word for the first time. Do you prefer a verbal or written presentation of
the Scriptures? Why?
Day 6 – Read Exodus 20: 1-21. Try to determine if the order of the commandments
is significant. Are they prioritized? Can you determine any groupings. If you mixed
them up would they be as effective?
Day 7 – Read Exodus 20:1-21. Look for three things you have not discovered.