What Does it Mean to Study the Bible?

Bible Gateway Blog

Ask any pastor or minister what you should do to grow spiritually, and one thing will invariably make the list: Bible study.

Why study the Bible? 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults, and giving instruction for right living, so that the person who serves God may be fully qualified and equipped to do every kind of good deed.

I can attest to the importance of Bible study to spiritual growth. When I’ve dedicated time each day to Bible study, my faith has felt vibrant and challenging. But Bible study is difficult—to do it well means doing more than just poking your nose in the Good Book every now and then. It’s a practice that pays off the more you do it, and it requires a sort of plodding lifelong dedication in order to really see the fruit of it.

So what does it really mean to study the Bible?

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I think Bible study has to start with basic familiarity with the Bible. It’s not enough to just have heard some Bible stories here and there growing up; you really need to read the Bible through with a willingness to learn and remember. When you start reading the Bible, you don’t need to start out by plumbing each passage for deep meaning; on your first few passes through a Bible passage, it’s enough to simply familiarize yourself with the author’s writing style, the main characters of the story (if applicable), and the general message of the passage. Depending on the passage, you might try asking yourself as you read: who is here in the story? Where are they? What are they doing, why are they doing it, and how are they doing it?


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