The only way for a believer to walk in the will of God in this sin-cursed world is to know what God has to say. The Bible is God's inspired Word to us and there is no other book on earth where the Christian can turn to find the thoughts of God. There is only one way to extract truth from the Bible and that is to diligently study it.
Why Should I Study It?
1. So I do not sin against God - Psalm 119:9
2. So I may be equipped to do God's work - 2 Timothy 3:16-17
3. So I may be rooted in sound doctrine - Ephesians 4:14
4. So I may know the truth of Christ - John 8:32
5. So I may be an approved workman - 2 Timothy 2:15
6. So I may know what the will of God is for my life - Romans 12:2
Where Should I Study?
Find a quiet, out of the way place, where the television or telephone will not bother you. You may also study while you are driving your car by listening to good, quality Christian radio or you may purchase CDs of sermons and the King James Bible.
What Method should I use?
1. Topical - Anger, Joy, Hell, etc.
2. Book by book - To gain insight into the historical as well as the spiritual meaning.
3. Doctrinal studies - Doctrine of God, Doctrine of Christ, Doctrine of Satan, etc.
4. Word studies - Temptation, Sin, Will, etc.
5. Personality studies - Picking out a biblical character, like Moses, and studying their life and traits. This method will show you how much like us they really were.
How do I approach the Bible?
1. Expectation - Expecting God to reveal truth to me
2. Desire - Desire to know God's Word
3. Investigative attitude - Sometimes a Biblical answer may take hours or even days to find because the truth must be pieced together.
What Bible helps are available to me?
1. Concordance - Contains all the words in the Old and New Testament along with their original language meaning. I recommend Strong's Exhaustive Concordance.
2. Bible Dictionary - To help understand people, places, and customs of the Bible. A good Bible dictionary helps to decipher some of the Eastern customs which seem mysterious. I recommend Unger's Bible Dictionary.
3. Topical Bible - Has verses listed according to topics. I recommend the Naves Topical Bible.
4. Bible Atlas
- A Bible atlas is invaluable to Bible study because you will want to find the locations of the places named in the Bible. There are quite a number of them available.
5. Manners and Customs book - There are many things in the Scriptures which seem strange to us who live in the west. I would suggest "The New Manners and Customs of the Bible" by James Freeman.
6. Bible Almanac - A Bible Almanac will help you on many subjects such as archaeology, geography, people groups such as the Romans, languages of the Bible, Bible outlines, etc. It is a very valuable book to aid in your studies.
7. Study Bible - They contain reference verses, maps, historical knowledge, small concordances, etc. My four recommendations are in the preface.
8. Correspondence Courses - There are many colleges which offer off campus study programs for both credit and non-credit. Before you accept any courses, be sure to get a copy of their doctrinal statement. Many colleges doubt parts of the Bible.
The Golden Rule of Biblical Interpretation
The Bible is its own interpreter. This is how God meant it to be. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (1 Corinthians 2:13, KJV) Do not pick up all kinds of theology books, especially prophecy books with all their fantasy, until you are sufficiently grounded in the Scriptures. Actually, when you learn the Bible by comparing Scripture with Scripture, you will want nothing to do with all these prophecy books. Everyone and their brother are writing prophecy books today and 99% of them are based on fanciful speculation.