To help in your study, we recommend the following:
1. Young’s Analytical Concordance – a great help in finding verses that pertain to specific situations or needs. It contains Hebrew and Greek translations.
2. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance – a dictionary of Hebrew, Chaldee and Greek words.
3. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words – a dictionary for scriptural words and meanings.
Although Pastor Spence uses the Parallel Bible: King James Version and Amplified Version of the Holy Bible, you may also utilize a variety of translations of the Holy Bible to enrich your study time. These study aids and various versions of the Bible may be found in almost any local Christian bookstore.
You may also choose to use books and tapes to enhance your studies: however, do not allow them to replace your personal study time. Take notes on the information provided, and allow the Holy Spirit to add to it. After verifying that the teachings are in accordance with the Word of God, examine your behavior and assess ways you might apply the principles in your life.
Here are some steps to follow in studying the Word:
1. Apply the Word to yourself personally.
2. Allow the Holy Spirit to make the Word a reality in your heart.
3. Carefully ponder how the Word applies to your daily life and routine.
4. Dwell on how to the Word changes your situation.
5. See yourself as God sees you.
6. Realize the integrity of God’s Word.
Here is a prayer to pray with confidence as you sit down to study and meditate on His Word:
Father, in the Name of Jesus, I come before You today. I take authority over Satan and bind his operation in my life. I pray that the eyes of my understanding are enlightened that I may know how rich is Your inheritance in the saints. I further pray that I may be filled with the knowledge of Your will with all wisdom and spiritual understanding, and with the ability to walk in a way that is fully pleasing to You as I increase in my knowledge of You.
Father, I pray that I will be rooted and built-up in Jesus, established in the faith. I am confident that He which began a good work in me will continue until the day of Jesus Christ.
I know You have heard my prayer, so I know that I have the petitions for which I ask. Thank You in Jesus’ Name.
Ephesians 1:16-18; Colossians 1:9-12, 2:6-10; Philippians 1:6; I John 5:14-15
As believers, most of us have repeatedly heard how important it is that we study the Word of God. However, it happens too often that we do not really understand why it is so important. Consequently, we have a difficult time really getting started. So before we get into the "how-to" of the Bible study, let’s look at why studying the Word is so vital to our Christian growth and maturity.
WHY STUDY THE BIBLE
What the majority of Christians do not realize is that the Word of God is alive! His Word still transforms lives in this day and age. The Word can truly affect and have a life-changing impact on the daily lives of Christians and everyone who receives it.
God reveals Himself through His Word.
As He reveals Himself to you, you can expect your life to change; as you are not just learning about Him, you are getting to "know" God and establishing a personal relationship with Him. The reason we study the Bible is that we may know God, know His ways and walk in them. Then we can truly live a successful Christian life.
The Bible is a personal message from Almighty God Himself – straight from heaven – to you. The main theme of this message is Jesus – even in the Old Testament. Jesus is the living Word, the message of God to all mankind.
Ever since the fall of Adam in the Garden of Eden, God was unwilling to leave us in our sin; He was unwilling to exist without us. So He had a plan – the plan of redemption – wherein He gave His Son to pay the price for our sins on the Cross; and thereby, He brought us back into fellowship with Him. Glory to God! So, look for Jesus in every book of the Bible. All scriptures either speaks of His coming, pointing toward His act of love on the cross, or refer back to Jesus and the cross.
Settle in your mind that while the Bible is God’s inspired Word, it is also meant to be simple and completely applicable, "down – to – earth." Do not just give it a place of honor on a bookshelf, but treat the Word as your personal hands-on reference book for life, a how-to book for daily living.
God’s Word is not just a set of rules, but it is our very source of liberty. God sent His Word to set us free. So read the Word with a positive attitude, approaching it as an open door to freedom.
Knowing why studying the Bible is important will make it easier for you to make that quality decision to get started. For some people, getting started is the most difficult part, but all it takes is a decision followed by pure and simple, "grit–your–teeth" determination. We suggest treating this period of study as an appointment that you are required to attend. Then everyday, we encourage you to follow through by building your schedule around this appointment – and not the other way around.
Soon you will develop a desire to attend your appointed time for bible study, and it will become easier and easier for you to do. And if you occasionally miss an appointment due to unforeseen circumstances, do not worry, but quickly get back in the flow, returning to your routine of studying.
As you begin your studies, feel free to write in your Bible when making quick references or notes. Start underlining scriptures that have a significant or special meaning to you. This will help personalize the Word for you. Your marking these scriptures will also help you find them more readily when you need them.
One of the best ways to "dig-in" to the Word during your bible study appointment is to find a subject or certain set of scriptures that you need to understand better. Pray for understanding and discernment of the Scriptures. Allow the Holy Spirit, Who inspired the text, to reveal it to you. Read and think about each word in each Scripture. You can check meanings, too, by using a concordance to study the Greek or Hebrew root words and their meanings.
An important part of your study of the Word is meditating. To meditate means to think deeply and continuously, pondering or reflecting; and even to converse with oneself. This takes some time. Read the scriptures over and over again as you pray in the Spirit. Meditation brings your spirit and your mind together and builds a capacity for your faith to be released (Romans 10:17). Ask the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of your understanding so you can comprehend the Person and will of God. Then expect the Lord to meet you on the level of your need as He reveals His Word to you.
When beginning your studies, spend the majority of your time in the New Testament, primarily in the letters the Apostle Paul, wrote to the early churches. In addition, we suggest that you seek and underline phrases such as “in Him,” “in Whom” and “in Christ.” These phrases are found 134 times in The New Testament; and according to Ephesians 2:6, every Word following these phrases offers something personally to you. You are in Christ!
Make God's Word the authority in your life. This means you should not only believe what God says, but also act on it. Moving on God's Word produces results (Matthew 7: 24-27). Part of acting on the Word includes speaking it. You will find that what you really believe in your heart is what you speak all the time – and what you speak determines what happens in your life (Mark 11:23). So, make His Word your authority and speak only success for you.
Like a sponge, absorb as much Word as possible. Then, when you are faced with a situation that requires the wisdom of God, the life of God will flow from you – through your words – to meet any man’s need on any level. And this is the best way to study the Word – with the intent of helping and loving others as well as yourself.