Studying the Word for Life
A Six-Week Plan for Developing
Lifelong Bible Study Habits and Skills
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Study Bibles inhibit Bible study.
This is the first principle.
The simple fact is, the footnotes tend to curtail our need to attend to the text, to read it with care, again and again, and thus they diminish our desires and abilities to pay attention to the details, to flow of a passage, the story, a song, a chapter or a letter or a book. (Besides, the footnotes might just be mistaken.)
So, to begin with, it is vital that you obtain a clean text of the Bible, or at least a clean text of the book you intend to study. If you invest in a Bible computer program or app, you should be able to copy and paste and format the text in your word processor so that the margins are wide enough for some of your own notes. I recommend 1.5 inches all the way around each page. I also suggest that the text be in two columns (with at least inch between columns), and delete any sub-headings.
Now for a second principle: Our discoveries made in and through our struggles to understand and apply the word of God usually are much more significant and lasting than those we are taught. In other words, when you do the work yourself, you’ll earn and own what you learn, even when others might help you along the way (which naturally will be the case for all of us).
Below is a suggested six-week study of Paul’s letter to Titus. In my experience over the last two decades, when someone engages in this sort of study, and follows through with some consistency, habits arise that change for the better the ways that person studies, hears, understands, appropriates, and applies the Bible. And I have seen these changes persist in people’s lives for many, many years.
May your own studies be just as fruitful in your life.