Why should believers be studying the Bible?
One may wonder why studying the Bible is essential to one’s faith and spirituality. Some may even take studying it for granted and think it is a waste of time. But, in actuality, there are many reasons why one should study the Bible.
1. Cultural literacy can be one reason to study the Bible, as it allows the reader to understand the culture and traditions of that specific era. A wide variety of cultural references originate from the Bible. It is not only limited to religion, but it can also be found in music, literature, art, philosophy, law, and so much more. It can be argued that knowing the contents of the Bible is an integral part of a person’s knowledge base.
A good example of this is found in figures of speech and popular sayings. These include “do unto others as you would have them done unto you”, “Good Samaritan”, “going the extra mile”, “the folly of letting the blind lead the blind”, and “manna from heaven”. This makes the Bible a good source of knowledge about culture.
2. Another reason to study the Bible is to find out what it has to say directly. History has proved that the Bible cannot be ignored regardless if one is a critic or supporter of it. It is considered worthy of studying as is it important to three main world religions, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.
Whilst studying the Bible, an individual has an opportunity to gain understanding of the Christian God and discover the words that have touched millions of hearts today. Many believers today treat the Bible respectfully as they acknowledge it as the word of God and a way of deepening their faith.
3. To put it simply, God has chosen to reveal Himself not only by way of creation and conscience. He has also chosen to reveal Himself by His Word and by Jesus. As it it mentions in John 1:1, God is the word, and through understanding the written scriptures, believers are able to grow closer to God and deeper in faith.
4. Over the years, skepticism of the Bible and its contents have grown as various doctrines have led to conflict between denominations regarding who has the “true” understanding. This gives individuals today all the more reason to study the Bible to see what it says rather than relying upon various commentaries. Gaining knowledge of the scriptures can help an individual better understand the context of historical events, while gaining insight to human nature, ethics, salvation, and the existence of God
5. The Bible is not only read to understand history and God’s Word, but it is also read for personal enlightenment. This is the more personal reason for studying the Bible for those who believe in God. Remarkably, it also offers enlightenment for those people who do not believe. The Bible is filled with accounts of people encountering life challenges, moral choices, and other situations that are applicable to man today. It is readily available for one to learn on intellectual, emotional, and personal levels.
6. While many believers may read the Bible for comfort in difficult times, it also mentions in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, NIV that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work”. Ultimately, God’s word is not only for inspiring joy and perseverance, but also instructions for a believer to follow and carry out in their own life. By doing good unto others, believers are able to demonstrate the heart of God to strangers in any given situation.
7. Additionally, the Bible also helps one avoid theological errors. It tells us to “Watch your life and doctrine closely” (1 Timothy 4:16 NIV). It also adds that everyone to “must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1 NIV). If one considers the Bible as an authority in faith and life, then its inspirational words and messages will help one to avoid error.
8. While the world today is filled with a diverse amount of cultures and religions, ultimately studying the Bible will enable an individual to learn the basics of morality. As believers live in a world consumed by materialistic needs and desires, the Bible provides a believer with hope and instructions on how to stand firm in their faith in trialing times against temptations. Through obtaining a solid understanding of God’s word, a believer can also defend their faith and give an answer for the hope they believe in too.
9. The Bible also gives details about Jesus’ ministry and the promise he left for believers to know today. The Four Gospels of the New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, testifies to Jesus’ teachings as he was with the 12 disciples. Even 2,000 years after Jesus’ ascension, many of his teachings remain relevant for everyday life. As believers today identify themselves as Christians, they dedicate their lives to following the teachings of Christ. Even after he left, Jesus’ disciples continued spreading his teachings all across the globe, and despite fierce persecution and opposition to their efforts, they serve as role models today for being martyred for their faith. To understand how they were able to overcome all hardships, it is highly encouraged believers study and observe the Bible to learn how they can develop a similar faith.
10. The last reason is to know God better. Since the Bible is God’s Word, reading and understanding it is a good means to get to know Him better. Through His words one can come to know not only the nature and qualities of God, but also come to understand His plan for each and every one of us. In a greater viewpoint, all of us also come to know God’s plan in history, His providence, His sovereignty, His love and much more. There is only so much one can learn about God apart from the Bible. But with it one can know God better.As it it mentions in John 1:1, God is the word, and through understanding the written scriptures, believers are able to grow closer to God and deeper in faith.
When you begin to read the Bible, you might firstly be confused at the different abbreviations and numbers that are there. But no worries, the citations of the Bible are easy to understand once you recognize that the Bible is structured into sections.
To study the Bible, you have to firstly understand its organization.
The Bible is composed of 66 books, 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament.
Each book is divided into chapters.
Each chapter has verses within it.
So if the citation reads John 1:1, that means the book is the Book of John, the chapter is Chapter 1, and the verse is Verse 1.
Simple! And now you are well on your way to reading and studying the Bible.
There are different ways in citing the Bible. Studying the Bible can be done by listing the book, chapter, and the verses included like John 3:16-17 (New International Version). This would mean that it was taken from the Bible’s New International Version of the Gospel of John, in the 3rd chapter, and in verses 16 to 17. Additionally, it can also be cited in different academic papers such as APA, and MLA formats.
For APA citations, the version used should be identified: “Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. (Psalm 36:6 New Revised Standard Version)” in the first mention. It could also be cited like this: “In John 3:16 (New Jerusalem Bible), it is mentioned that…”. For the second mention onwards, there is no need to mention the version unless one switches versions during a discussion. It also does not need to be listed on the reference pages since it is a well-known book.
For MLA, versions of the Bible or individual books are not italicized, underlined, or placed in quotation marks. However, individual published editions of the Bible should be italicized or underlined. Books in the Bible are abbreviated. Periods separate chapters and verses instead of colons (For example, Phil. 3.8). When referring to specific version, it could be cited this way: (New Jerusalem Bible, Ezek. 2.6-8). Only the scripture reference is needed for other mentions unless one needs to switch versions.
Bible Journaling is an engaging way to be more involved with Scripture.
It can change the way one reads, understands, and interprets the Word. It even be considered as a form of prayer as this practice is meditative way to respond to God’s Word. There are several forms of Bible journaling.
People from older generations would have a well-loved Bible. The kind that is dog-eared from reading, has little handwritten notes, highlights, or underlines, and has prayer requests. There has been a shift to more artistic ways of interpreting the Word of God. This is shown in people who read Scripture and respond by meaningful and colorful images drawn into the margins of their Bibles. Though artistic Bible journaling may seem new, it’s actually a resurgence of movements.
In the past, Bibles were hand copied and they were always full of beautiful typography and illustrations. A beautiful example of this is the Gutenberg Bible which was filled with rubrics that had hand-drawn and colored text and illumined with hand-drawn embellishments. This movement brings us back to a time when creative expressions were considered a worshipful manner of responding to the Word of God.
To start Bible journaling, one must first obtain a wide-margin Bible. Though it’s not really necessary. While writing responses in a notebook is also fine, there are more benefits to it.
Journaling in a Bible will give instant context later on. When written responses are separated from the Bible, it can get confusing when going back to it. Writing responses in the Bible means that those responses will always be on it every time one chooses to get into the Word.
In line with this, the Bible becomes a map of one’s spiritual journey with the Word. When one continues to write on the same Bible, they document their own spiritual growth. Every time one looks back on their Bible, they’ll be reminded of the verses that were important to them and how they responded to them.
By doing Bible journaling, one also creates a legacy. It’s a nice thought to entrust one’s personal Bible to someone else or have someone inherit it. It would give that person a glimpse into the previous owner’s thoughts, ideals, and aspirations and perhaps inspire them to get into the Word as well.
After obtaining the appropriate Bible, one has to gather writing mediums and other materials for a smooth time while Bible journaling. While a plain ball pen would suffice, others would like to be more expressive. Different pens and pencils like Staedtler the Pigment liners, and the Faber-Castell Grip 2001 Pencil HB would be good choices since those don’t bleed through pages.
To color, it would be good to consider other mediums like colored pencils, watercolors, or brush pens including the Tombow Dual Brush Pens, Color It Premium 23 Colored Pencil Set, and Artists Loft Fundamental Watercolors. Other recommended materials are rulers, highlighter, and washi tape.
There are steps to be taken when doing Bible studying and journaling. The first step is to pray. The second step is to read and reflect. The third step is to conceptualize the passage. The fourth, fifth, and sixth steps involve sketching out the design, coloring it in, and adding finishing details.
Firstly, any time one opens the Bible, one should start with a prayer. God reveals Himself in Scripture. If one wants to have a meaningful time in the Word, it needs to start with one asking Him to meet. One should pray for wisdom and discernment, then pray for conviction and a will to live out what will be learned from studying the bible. Additionally, one should also pray to God for insights that will be helpful for people around them as well.
What’s nice about Bible journaling is that it’s more focused on savoring the Word than trying to read through a specific number of chapters. One should take their time to read and reflect. If something really speaks, it’s time to pause. One should think about how this passage is making an impression.
Next would be to conceptualize the design. One could typographically show the verse in a way that conveys its major points. Instead of an illustration of the verse itself, one could also illustrate the commitment one wants to make because of the passage. Bible journaling isn’t solely about drawing images, one could respond with a prayer or some notes.
For the next step, one might not be too confident on their skills. It would be better to sketch out the idea out in a notebook first. Additionally, one can always do a rough sketch using a pencil on the Bible before going over it with a pen.
After the pencil outline, one can go over it again in ink. Then, one can color in the illustration or design with pens, colored pencils, or watercolors. It’s also good to do some research on different mediums work together. One may discover that watercolors make some specific inks run. One could also consider painting the watercolor first then outline with a pen when the paint is dry.
After coloring, one can still add more elements like borders, stickers, and washi tape. It’s good to let the Bible to become one’s canvas. It’s a good way to document one’s relationship with God’s living Word.