10 Step Bible Study Challenge

In this week's sermon, we learned about a transformational moment in the life of an Ethiopian Eunuch who was earnestly seeking after God. While he was studying the book of Isaiah, he was met by Phillip, a missionary sent by God to Gaza. This encounter ultimately lead to Phillip sharing the good news of Jesus with the Eunuch, and the Eunuch making the decision to be baptized, changing his life forever.

One lesson we can learn from this story in Acts 8, is that as we seek to study and to know more about God, He will call us deeper into a relationship with Him. I want to challenge you to begin the habit of carefully studying the Bible as a relational pursuit of God Himself.  I believe it will be both life-changing and life-giving.  

How should you get started?
Carve out an hour this week and start a study on 1 John following this simple 10-step process.  This process works great if you're studying alone, with a friend, or incorporating it into your family's devotional time together, so do what works best for you!

Step 1: Get a great study Bible. 

There are tons of tools to help you grow deeper in the Word of God. You can explore scripture with a study bible or bible study site like e-sword.net . A good study Bible can help you understand the context and history of scripture as you read.

Here's a couple of recommendations if you're looking for a new study Bible:

Step 2: Pray for God's help!

Begin your study time with prayer, asking that God will reveal Hisself to you through His word. Proverbs 2:1-5 tells us that we can ask for insight and understanding as we seek a greater knowledge of God.

"My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God." Proverbs 2:1-5 ESV

Step 3: Read the introduction in your study Bible.

Reading the introduction to the book of 1 John will help you understand who the author is, where and when the book was written, and provide an overview of the key themes found throughout the book.  Developing a better knowledge of the purpose and background of the scripture before you dive in will help deepen your understanding as you read through it. 

Step 4: Watch this video for 1 John from the Bible Project. 

The Bible Project has developed some great videos that use an illustrated outline to help you understand the major themes presented in the book of 1 John. You can watch the introduction to John 1-3 HERE.

Step 5: Read, review, and repeat!

Grab a pen and a highlighter and dive in! Read through the entire book a few times and highlight anything that stands out to you.

As you read through the book of 1 John, keep a few things in mind:
1. Ask plenty of questions. You can use some of the same questions we use during our quiet time. Need a refresher on Quiet Time Questions? Download the resource for effective quiet time HERE.
 2. Context is King. Refer back to the introduction as needed to keep the context of the scripture fresh in your mind.
2. Observe the text and look for the big picture. Read through the book and take note of the key themes and greater purpose of the writing. Take special note of key takeaways when you read it as a whole, and be sure to write down any questions you have.
3. Consider the author's meaning to the original audience.
4. Spend time studying each chapter individually. Over the next few weeks make time to spend an hour or so with each chapter, and again, take note of any takeaways or questions you have as you dig deeper.

Step 6: Write down your questions.

When something is difficult, press in and don't be afraid to wrestle with harder themes. If the meaning or context of a word is in question, look up the word in the original language and compare translations. Share your questions with a trusted spiritual leader in your life, like your Sunday School teacher, small group leader, or pastor.

Step 7: Use cross references and additional commentary.

The cross references and commentary located throughout your study bible can be a huge research tool for you as you're studying scripture. As you read, review the references and use them to help you meditate on the true meaning of what you are reading. Consult the commentary to help you unpack the context and purpose of each passage. Highlight the notes that stand out the most and take time to research any additional verses as well.  

Step 8: Pray & Obey.

As you study, remember that you are studying as a relational pursuit of God Himself. Make it personal. Pray and ask God to show you how to obey what you’re reading. Take time to repent of sin and celebrate your forgiveness in Christ.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 ESV

How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. Psalm 119:9 ESV

Step 9: Respond in worship!

Leave time to let your heart respond in worship! God is worthy of all our praise and we were created to worship Him! Take time to honor Him for what He is revealing to you through the Holy Spirit in His Word. 

Step 10: Share what you've learned.

Try to explain what you’re learning to someone in your life. Not only can this help you grow in your own understanding, but it might also give you an opportunity to share the good news, just like Phillip, with someone you love.
I'm so excited that you are looking for new and better ways to study God's word. I understand that you might feel a bit burdened down by the prospect of studying like this, but I think what you’re going to find is that studying like this will be more life-giving, and life-transforming than you would expect.  

We learned last week, that studying the Bible with Ezra transformed Israel. Their time in the word filled them with joy and refocused their lives. And just like the Ethiopian Eunuch, making study a priority was a big part of what God used to change their lives and their circumstance.  

Creating a new study habit is going to change and equip you too. If you want to have the joy of pointing others to Jesus, study like the Ethiopian Eunich, so you can be equipped to help and guide others to Christ, just like Phillip.

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 complete, equipped for every good work.  — 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV)

No Comments