I heard the story of a man who had taught the Bible to college and seminary students for many years. He had a string of PhD’s to his credit, having studied the New Testament all of his life. At a banquet where he was being honored, one person asked him, "What is the greatest theological truth that you have learned from the Bible?" Pausing only briefly, the gentleman replied, "Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so."
Isn’t it amazing? A lifetime of intense study of the Scriptures, and the greatest truth was one taught in preschool Sunday School class.
In the last couple of weeks in this column, I have written about the importance of studying and understanding the Scriptures. I believe that it is possible for anyone to comprehend what God is saying to us in the Bible. I am certainly aware that there are things that can confuse us. But there is so much we can learn and apply to our lives.
Today I want to give you a few practical pointers in basic Bible study. I think there are a few things that you can do to become more familiar with the Bible, and to take its teachings to heart. The first two are simple and obvious, but they must not be neglected. Find a good Bible believing church, and attend worship on a regular basis. And then get into a good Bible study class connected to that church. It may be in a traditional Sunday School class, or it could be in a small group that meets in a home. The simple fact is that worship and small group Bible study are the first steps in learning what the Bible says.
But you must realize that there is more to it than that. You need to read and study the Bible on your own, too. And I would like to offer a couple of pointers to help you with that. Many people find it helpful to read a portion from both the Old and New Testament each day. This will help you not become bogged down in lists of names and places in some Old Testament books. You will always have a New Testament passage to look forward to reading on the same day. The One Year Bible divides the Scripture in small portions like this, and includes a reading from Psalms and Proverbs each day, too.
The key to it all is simple. You must make the commitment to say, "I’m going to read the Bible and learn what it teaches." That first step will start you on an adventure that can be life changing. The Bible has so much to teach us. Will you open it and read?