Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the Bible? Do you ever wonder where to start? Do you ever feel like a Bible study is too complicated, long, or in-depth? Do you ever want to simply pick up the Bible, read a passage, and engage with God in a personal way?
If so…read on…
First off, if you’ve been around here for long, you know I’m a huge fan of in-depth study. After all, I created an entire course walking people through how to study the Bible. (You can check out Relational Bible Study™ if you’re interested.) Not only that, but I created the BibleLife Community™ specifically so I could walk side-by-side with people as they develop a deeper love for God through His Word.
I love deep, thorough Bible study.
But not every day. Sometimes we just want to look at one passage – not a whole book. Sometimes we want to reread what our pastor was preaching on last week. Sometimes we just want to pick up the Bible, open it up, and see what God has in store.
Yes…sometimes we need simple. This post is for those “simple” days.
The simplest way to study any Bible passage is to read it – and then ask these four questions:
What does this passage say about who God is?
This is foundational. Remember, the Bible is written for you, but it is written about God. He is both the author and the main character.
The Bible is His story. It is by Him, about Him, and reveals His nature, His character, and His truths.
Whenever you read a verse, paragraph, chapter or book, keep an eye out for what is reveals about who God is.
If your time in the Word is primarily relational – rather than informational – then it’s a good idea to grow in your knowledge and understanding of the one with whom you’re building the relationship!
What does this passage say about what God has done?
Identifying and pondering what God has done in the past will help us better understand what He is doing in the present. Look for patterns. Look for the imperfect people He interacted with (and used for His purposes and glory). Look for promises made and fulfilled. Look for grace and mercy given. Look for corrections made and lessons taught. Look for times when He spoke and times when He chose silence.
BTW…I’m not implying we will ever fully understand everything God has done or is doing. After all, we’re talking about the same God who said,
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways.”
This is the Lord’s declaration. “For as heaven is higher than earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Isaiah 55:8-9, CSB
We can’t understand it all. That said, I have found we can receive great comfort and wisdom in seeing that the same God who has moved is still moving.
What does this passage say about who I am?
It is extremely important that you ask Question 3 before you ask Question 4. Question 3 is about your identity. If you skip this one and only ask Question 4, you will never find the freedom and joy that comes from living out your identity as a child of God.
Jesus wants you to know who are you, not just what He wants you to do. I have said many, many times (and I’ll keep saying it until I die)…
Living out our faith from a place of identity – rather than morality – changes everything. And it’s way, way better!
As you read, consider what the passage says about your identity. Not every section of Scripture has an “identity message,” but there are way more than you’d think. Did you know that the book of Ephesians alone has more than 50?!
In fact, if you’re looking for a place to start, read Ephesians for the next several days and jot down everything Paul writes about who you are in Christ. You will be forever changed!
What is my response to this passage?
Notice that I did not say, What am I supposed to do? Sometimes a passage calls you to take some new action. However, there are many other responses as well.
Sometimes the right response is to…
- Ponder a truth.
- Change a thought pattern.
- Make a decision.
- Confess a sin.
- Adjust an attitude.
- Make a commitment.
- Sing. Dance. Rejoice.
- Sit in silence and be still.
Four questions. Simple…but powerful.
I have discovered asking these questions almost always leads to a conversation with God that not only happens while I’m reading, but throughout the day. And after all, don’t the best times in the Word always lead to thinking about the Word – and the Author – long after we close our Bibles?