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How do I begin a Bible study program?

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How should you begin? Several time-tested Bible study methods have proven to be helpful. One is to simply read through the Scriptures book by book, fixing the context of verses clearly in mind.

Another is to do word studies to find out what various expressions mean. A word study is an examination of many or all of the verses that contain a specific word or phrase from the original Hebrew or Greek. (However, keep in mind that many times the same English expression has been used to translate different Hebrew or Greek expressions, which can be confusing.)

Helpful tools for Hebrew and Greek word studies would be concordances such as Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible , expository dictionaries such as Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words and Bible computer software.

You should also read the Bible for inspiration and encouragement. The book of Psalms and chapters 5-7 of Matthew—known as Jesus' Sermon on the Mount—are inspiring sections of Scripture.

Perhaps the best way to fully grasp biblical truths, though, is to study specific topics. Many people assume or reason an entire belief or doctrine from a single scripture. But that is generally not the way to understand God's Word. Biblical teachings are best understood in the light of all the scriptures on the subject.

Unlike most books, the message of the Bible is, in some ways, like a jigsaw puzzle. Only when all the pieces are arranged properly can a clear picture emerge. Consider the example of Jesus Christ, who quoted dozens of relevant scriptures from all parts of the Old Testament to make His points. The first chapter of Hebrews draws pertinent passages from Psalms, 2 Samuel, Deuteronomy and Isaiah—an example of what Paul said in 2 Timothy 2:15 2 Timothy 2:15Study to show yourself approved to God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
American King James Version×
: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

To fully understand what the Bible has to say on any given subject, we must look up all the verses that bear on that topic. Then, rather than human interpretations of God's Word, we will have God's own explanation of what He means.

For more information and help in your studies, please read our Free Bible Study Course online or request your own physical copy.