Tips for Studying the Bible
by J Warner Wallace
As Christians, we have a lot of questions that we don’t always know how to investigate on our own, and we’re grateful when somebody will come in and give us the quick answer. But if you’ve raised kids, you know that when your kids have a question and ask you to sort something out for them, they come away with one kind of knowledge. When you allow your kids to work through, and find, and research the answer for themselves, they come away with a completely different kind of understanding. I can remember when I first came to Christianity out of atheism, I really needed to examine the issues for myself. And let’s face it, there are lots of times when it’s not so much an understanding of the truth; it’s not so much that the truth is out there and I just can’t grasp it; it’s that I hold some type of prerequisite, presupposition, that prevents me from seeing the truth clearly.
That’s why for me, as a new Christian, apologetics websites were just as important as the skeptic sites I had been visiting. I wanted to get some balance and some clear thinking on the issues we know are inherent to the Christian worldview. I found myself applying the same skepticism I had as a detective, and an atheist, to my own examination of Scripture. Here is my approach to answering some of my own questions about Christian doctrine, and Christian evidence. These are principles and tools that may help you sort out the truth for yourself. To help you remember, each of them start with the letter “D”. First, some qualities I think are important as a student of the Bible:
First, be Devoted.
This is a matter of passion and interest. The truth is that most of us are just not interested in getting the answers until we hit a crisis point. If we were to measure where we spend our free time, our finances, and our gifts, we would find that we spend a lot of time examining other things. People
who are passionate and have a strong desire to learn can do amazing things because they are devoted to begin with. And that’s what I would encourage all of us to cultivate. The questions I ask myself are, Am I truly passionate? Am I truly interested? Am I teachable? Am I eager? And does my allocation of time, resources, and energy, reveal that I am truly a God-worshiper? Am I devoted enough to not wait till a crisis and ask somebody else for the answer? Am I devoted enough to spend my time living a faith that always seeks the answer?
Second, be Deliberate.
I ask myself, do I have a purpose, an intention about the way that I study Scripture? Do I have a goal in mind? Am I purposeful about my approach to my faith? Am I intentional about being a good ambassador? I want to be a good Christian case-maker, and so every time I open Scripture, I mine it and look deeply into it because I want to be able to have a certain grasp of the doctrine, creeds, and essentials that Scripture teaches so that I can defend it to others.
Third, be Disciplined.
I ask myself, am I as disciplined about things related to my faith as I am about other hobbies or daily fitness? I’m disciplined about running and going to the gym a certain number of times a week. Am I that disciplined about the pursuit of my own faith? One thing I discovered is that discipline like this is the difference between those of us who excel at anything, and those of us who don’t…
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