How to Study the Bible and Pray in order to grow in your relationship with God

By Pastor Ron Jones, D.D. © 2002, The Titus Institute

How to Study the Bible

1. The Commentary Approach

A commentary is a book written by a OT or NT scholar explaining a Bible book verse by verse.

To use this approach pick a book of the Bible such as Ephesians or a part of a book such as Gen.12-25: 11, the life of Abraham and find a commentary that talks about that Bible book or Bible passages. Read through a few verses or a section of the book at a time. Open up the Scriptures to see the verses that are mentioned. Go through as much as is comfortable each day, every other day or the like. How much you get out of it is more important than how much you actually read at a time. Quantity is not the goal; quality is.

Ex. John MacArthur’s commentary on Ephesians

Henry Morris’ commentary, The Genesis Record,

b. Pick a topic and find a book about it or just find a book you are interested in reading.

Read through a section or a chapter at a time. Open up the Scriptures to see the verses that are mentioned. Go through as much as is comfortable each day, every other day or the like. How much you get out of it is more important than how much you actually read at a time. Quantity is not the goal; quality is.

Ex. Knowing God by J.I. Packer

What’s So Amazing About Grace? Philip Yancey

The Jesus I Never Knew Philip Yancey

2. The Reading Approach

Pick a short book of the Bible or a section of a book of the Bible and read it over and over for a period of time such as two weeks or a month. Each time you read it you will notice something you didn’t notice before. You will become very familiar with it.

Examples:

Matthew 5-7 Sermon on the mount

Matthew 8-10 Jesus’ ministry among the people

Jn.14-17 Jesus’ upper room discourse

Rom.6-8

Eph.1-3 or 4-6

3. The Hearing Approach

Do either 1. or 2. above, but listen to audio tapes of sermons or Christian books.

Listen to the tape, opening up the Bible to the passages that are mentioned.

How to make your Bible study a personal spiritual experience:

1. Ask yourself as you study the following questions:

a. What is God my father telling me his son/daughter about himself in this passage?

b. What is God my father telling me about our relationship in this passage?

c. What is God my father telling me his son/daughter about what he desires for me in this passage?

2. Think about the truths (your answers to the above questions) during the day. We call this meditating on the word.

3. Apply the truths (your answers to the above questions) to your life.

How to Speak to God your Father in prayer

Focus on speaking to God as your Father who loves and cares for you as his child, not as a subject speaking to his or her king. He wants to hear you speak to him because he loves you.

Begin by confessing any known sin to God your Father.

1 Jn.1: 9

Spend some time praising God for who he is and what he has done in your life and in the lives of others.

Ps.103

Spend some time giving thanks to God for who he is and what he has done.

Ps.136

Ask God your Father to meet your needs in whatever area you are concerned about.

Phil.4: 6-7

Matt.6: 9-13 Lord’s prayer

Ask God your Father on behalf of others that you are concerned about.

Eph.6: 18

Finish your requests by praying in Jesus’ name

This phrase means that you acknowledge to God that you are speaking to God your Father based on what Jesus has done on the cross for you. You are not speaking because of your own right and authority to address God. It is a reminder that prayer is a privilege based on God’s grace, not a formula.

This approach is meant to be helpful, not a legalistic formula. God is more concerned with your heart than with exactly what you say or how long you spend saying it.