Study Hint #1 - Let the Bible speak of God.
A crucial first-step in any Bible reading is understanding the purpose of the Bible. It's not a collection of "life hints" or a book God wrote so that He could help us become better Christians. We must approach the Bible with our ears trained on hearing God's declaration of Himself. This doesn't mean that Scripture has nothing to say about who we are or what we should do - it just does it through the lens of who God is. Seeing who He is shows us who we are in true light.
Study Hint #2 - Ask questions to unlock the riches of the Bible.
When we read, we do not generally really think until we are faced with a problem to be solved, a mystery to be unraveled, or a puzzle to be deciphered. It becomes easy to miss things without challenging our minds, shifting from passive reading to active reading. Asking ourselves questions is a way of creating a problem or a mystery to be solved. That means the habit of asking ourselves questions awakens and sustains our thinking. It stimulates our mind while we read, and drives us down deep to the real meaning of a passage.
- Ask about context.
- "What did Paul intend to convey to this church when he wrote this letter?"
- "What's the significance of this vine analogy in John 15?"
- Ask about words & phrases.
- "What is the 'therefore' referring to?"
- "What does 'crucified with Christ' mean here?"
- Ask about connections with other parts of the Bible.
- "How does this passage fit together with other passages?"
- "Is there somewhere else in Scripture that would affirm this truth?"
- Ask about application.
- The biblical writers didn't just want people to know, but to do. So ask questions like, "What sort of response should I have in my relationships?"
- "What should start or stop in my life because of what I've read?"
- Ask about affections.
- his is essentially the appropriate responses of the heart. "What is going on in my heart right now?"
- "Why should my appreciation of Jesus grow in this moment?"
Study Hint #3 - At every page, pray and ask for God's help.
Everything above isn't possible without the power of the Holy Spirit. Every time we open up the Word of God we are reading truths that are living and active! Go to God in prayer before opening Scripture, ask for continued clarity and direction in the middle, and ask Him to give you the power to grow in Christ after.