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Hazelwood - Oct 2018

Study and Grow

Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will


set you free" and what better way to hold to His teaching than to study His word.

There is an old Sunday School song that says, "Read your Bible, pray every day and you’ll grow, grow, grow." While it

is very important to pray and read your Bible on a daily basis, reading is not the same as studying. The timeline of

the Bible is very long and deals with different cultures and societal norms. The objective of Bible study is to

understand the message in the correct context and then be able to apply it to our own lives.


I don’t know where you are in your own Christian walk, but I suspect at some point, the question of how to study the

Bible has come up. I don’t have all the answers but, in the hopes of helping someone, let me tell you how I came to a

particular approach and what it is.


As a young man, I was a "random spot" reader. That is to say, I would read a verse or two that happened to be on the

page when I opened the Bible. There was no structure or discipline, no attempt to understand the message and no

prayerful thought at all. I knew many of the "top" verses but it was all superficial knowledge with no depth whatsoever.


When Jesus came into my life, everything changed. I became hungry to understand what the Bible meant for me and keen

to share what I had learned with anyone I could. Sadly, since I had absolutely no understanding, I couldn’t share very

well and needed some guidance. I joined a study group for new Christians and began, what continues to be, a life

changing learning experience.


If you are wondering how to start, how much to study in a session, or how to put it into practice, then perhaps this

article is for you.


In my first study group, it was suggested we start by reading John as it is a relatively easy read and introduces the

key stories, topics and characters we would encounter in the other three Gospels. After this, we moved on to Acts and

then Paul’s letters. In this particular group we did not delve into Revelation and I would suggest if you’re just

getting started that you do the same.


Once I had worked my way through the New Testament a couple of times, I began to study the Old Testament. Even though

the New Testament compliments the Old, and vice versa, I found that studying the Old Testament was easier after I had

a basic grounding in the New Testament. Before the new Christian’s class, I tried to read the Bible beginning with

Genesis and failed miserably.


I quickly learned that it is really important to set aside a regular time and place that fits within my daily rhythm

and where I was unlikely to be disturbed. It’s the same as going to the gym, if it’s at odds with your rhythm, it will

be difficult to develop and maintain the habit.


I learned that I needed a good study Bible and that ideally it should have been translated from the original Greek

and Aramaic texts. The NIV and NRSV are both such translations. In addition to my Bible, I gathered some study tools

such as a Bible dictionary, a Concordance and a good commentary. I use Matthew Henry’s Commentary – it can be a heavy

read at times, but it sure helps with context.


I learned to pray before I started and to take time to pray and reflect as I read. When I pray, I ask God to direct

my study and to help me understand His meaning. I read slowly, deliberately and make notes: not only of what I have

studied, but also of what I gleaned from the passages. As much as I was tempted, I found that this was not the time

for speed reading! As I study, I ask and take note of the answers to the basic questions of who, what, when, where,

why and how?


Bible study can be a real adventure. Try it and I am sure you will discover both simple and profound insights for

living – insights that will help you share your love of Jesus with others. One important thing that I discovered was

that I didn’t have to learn it all before I shared something. New discoveries are exciting and excitement is



The Bible is an extraordinary book. It has the power to change lives and it has the power to change the world.

"For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul

and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)


Study your Bible, pray every day and you’ll grow, grow, grow!


God Bless,