Saturday, January 28, 2012

Rubbish at Bible Study 4: Word Study outline

Word Study:

This is the first approach we’ll use, as not everyone will have the book yet, and it gives an opportunity to try to put the online tools into use so you can see how you use them.

a) Ask The Holy Spirit to bring life and insight as you explore the Bible.

b) Choose a Biblical word/theme you would like to know more about:
e.g. Righteousness; Heaven; Redemption; Eternal Life; Lovingkindness; Gospel, etc

Define why you are studying it:
To appreciate God’s character more, to deepen worship, to apply etc.

c) Biblical useage:
Search for verses and passages that focus on your selected theme, using your knowledge and memory, a concordance, or

There's nothing unholy about using tools to look things up or find out more.

Rubbish at Bible Study 3: Resources 2 - online

At the start of Rick Warren's book, he recommends buying various books, commentaries, study bibles, bible handbooks, concordances, notes, etc ...

... but his book was first written in 1981, and although all of these are good suggestions, a lot is now freely available online. It is now possible to dig into resources without spending a small fortune on books and shelves!

Here are a few suggestions to start with.
I will focus on using a few of these in the Word Study that we will do in the first week, so that you can see which of these appeal to you.

Click on the links below, or copy the address into your browser:
Different versions, commentaries, verse and keyword searches, possibly the most useful website ever invented!?

Loads of resources all in one place

Rubbish at Bible Study 2: Initial reflection questions

Before launching into new effort in Bible Study, it's important to do 2 things:

Firstly, Pray! You obviously don't want this just to be an exercise in learning more information, so ask for the Holy Spirit to make this an experience of deepening friendship with God.

Secondly, reflect honestly on your current experience, and make realistic choices that you can achieve from now on. There's no point aiming to devote hours to Bible Study, only to leave yourself frustrated and demoralised by not achieving your own unrealistic goals.

Here are some questions to consider:

1: Initial questions and reflection:
a) Why Bible Study?
e.g. 2 Timothy 3:16; Romans 12:1-2; Phil 4:8; John 8:32; Mark 12:30; Jer 31:31-34:
• List as many reasons as you can think of.
• Which reasons are the most important?

b) Try to define ‘Bible Study’ in one short sentence

Rubbish at Bible Study 1: Resources 1 - the book

I will try to make this guide as easy as possible for everyone, without making it an expensive, complicated, 'booky' process.

The only book I would recommend you to try to get is this one:

Rick Warren: "Bible Study Methods."

I think you'll find it useful on this Track, but also something helpful to come back to from time to time.

He lists 12 methods, starting simple and getting more in depth as you go through the book.

Each of the 12 methods are firstly explained clearly, then demonstrated and finally set up in the form of a template for you to use.

The methods are:
i. Devotional
ii. Chapter Summary
iii. Character Quality
iv. Thematic
v. Biographical
vi. Topical
vii. Word Study
viii. Book Background
ix. Book Survey
x. Chapter Analysis
xi. Book Synthesis
xii. Verse-by-verse

Warren recommends his Devotional method first, but I’ll cover that in the next session. This gives time to get the book if you want to.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Rubbish at Bible Study - Introduction

Here's the secret:

Most Christians who think they should study the Bible regularly are RUBBISH at it.

Go on, admit it - it's the first step towards change!

This even applies to Leaders, who often study for problem solving reasons or in preparation of teaching material, but don't do very much of what we all know we should do - simply spend time enjoying God and getting His values into our minds.

The rest of us can sometimes have a burst of enthusiasm or willpower - "I'm going to read the Bible in a year", or "I'm going to study for an hour at 6AM every day" - and then get daunted by falling way behind the plan, or give up as a way of being in denial about feelings of guilt or failure.

Or others find it difficult to carve out the time in a busy life, or sometimes try to Bible Study, but just don't know how, or where to start.

So, that's why this Blog, connected to a Training Track at Blaze Church Newquay, is starting.

In this group we all start as failures, knowing that we will probably by nature always be Rubbish at Bible Study, but with a little effort we can learn how to get less Rubbish!

We'll start by making sure we set ourselves realistic goals that aren't likely to leave us demoralised.

This Blog will help us to keep up to date with the content of our group evenings, to find helpful resources for study, and allow for mutual input, support, encouragement and ideas.

I'm opening this up as wide as possible for 2 reasons:
1: This is a big issue, and this content might help more than just people in Newquay.
2: You might have helpful ideas to add to everyone else's comments.

So join in as we help each other to get slightly less Rubbish at Bible Study.

Next time: Resources part 1.


P.S. If you dig back into this Blog you'll find content on other Spiritual Disciplines, such as Fasting, Giving, Meditation, etc. From now on it will focus on Bible Study, but you may find some of the older content interesting.

From time to time I may put up other Bible Study guides on specific topics, such as 'How to think through predestination without going mad' so look out for those as well!