“Study the Word!” is the oft-heard cry on the lips of elders, teachers, pastors and seminarians. The brows furrowed, the finger precariously raised while the glare of the projector turns said teachers horned-rimmed glasses into fiendish horns. In the quest towards anti-intellectualism, proper theology and practically applied Christianity, these pillars in our lives seek to motivate us with these serious admonishments yet they don’t often tell us how.
Admittedly, if you go to a Bible School you’ll get taught how. They will drill it into you until you can do several different types of studies at one time while simultaneously tapping into the historical background of each method and doing crunches.
Yet, we don’t all make it to a Bible School (and if you do, praise God: take advantage of the time and use it wisely). Often we may even find these stern words to be a poignant reminder of how much we don’t know and thus slack accordingly in study (and in crunches).
Yes the teachers, elders, pastors, preachers teach on Sundays and during the Bible Study hour and they are extremely effective but our Christian walk is not to be based on the effectiveness of fellow men. We’re to also arm ourselves with the Word of God and in so doing become an active participant in the battle.
But how? They never really outright say. We hear “Read the Word in the morning” as a practical encouragement and then subsequently confuse studying with reading. We get study bibles which aren’t used to their full potential or we rely so heavily on the notes in the margins that we may not bother going deeply. Sometimes we’re tapped on the shoulder to preach for 45 minutes and aren’t told how we’re to prepare for it—completely relying on God’s grace, blind luck and latent performance skills to get us by.
Of course I don’t mean you personally. You know how to study the Bible and what books to look into and all that—I’m talking to the rest of us who don’t know. Those of us who look at Kay Arthur’s stuff with wide-eyed awed and a bit of trepidation. Those of us who think Bible Study consists of a Bible, Strong’s Concordance and maybe a devotional book. Those of us who have tripped along, often stumbling and rarely getting by.
So I start this in the hope of giving a simple Bible Study method that a person can easily jump into, find something to learn, actively working at a goal and (God willing) applying to their lives. This STOP method will be very simple and straightforward; hopefully it will be beneficial to one or two of you out there. It’s one of the methods I use and one that I have found fruitful. It may not work well for some of you who are way advanced in Bible Study, but that’s okay. Stay tuned next week.