At the time of this writing, it’s tax time in the USA. During the beginning weeks of every new year, employees receive official paperwork about the money they earned in the past year. Those papers are used to file income taxes with the state and federal governments. Within a month of submitting their paperwork, many people, depending on a number of variables, will be refunded money from the government.
In anticipation of these refunds, businesses, and stores ramp up advertising campaigns to encourage the recipients to spend all their new money with them. Lots of signs will promise guaranteed approval for loans on cars, large appliances, and home improvement projects. Consumers rush to take advantage of these deals because who doesn’t like to be 100 percent approved?
But there’s usually a catch to these deals, and often the fine print at the bottom of financing contracts is riddled with complicated conditions, stipulations, and warnings… Yikes!
Thankfully, there really IS a way for us to get absolute approval without putting ourselves in jeopardy–and this approval is better because it comes from God!
II Timothy 2:15 says, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that has nothing to be ashamed of, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Wow! We can be approved by God if we give our time and attention diligently to studying His words. No charge. No trickery. No fine print.
How Do I Study the Bible?
Bible study seems intimidating and difficult to some people, but it doesn’t have to be that way at all. Here are a few methods we can use to dig deeper into God’s Word without feeling overwhelmed:
- Do a word study – Maybe there’s a word or topic you want to know more about, like trust, love, hope, salvation, or peace. Using a concordance or a website like Biblegateway.com, look up verses about that topic and write them down in a spiral notebook. You could write one, two, or three verses each day for a week. If you continue, you’ll have your own reference of Scriptures to study and focus on.
- Do a character study – Perhaps there is someone in the Bible that you want to learn more about, like Abraham, Miriam, David, or Barnabas. Using your spiral notebook, make a chart with the headings Background, Sayings, Accomplishments, Problems, Strengths. (These are just suggestions.) Now, for each person you want to study, as you read about them in the Bible, write down what you discover about them under the appropriate heading. This is a great way to ‘meet’ the characters in the Bible!
- Read a children’s Bible – Often, children’s Bibles are written more in story form, and that makes them easier to follow, especially in the Old Testament which covers so much history. A great children’s Bible is The Complete Illustrated Children’s Bible. (Try to find one that says ‘complete’, and not just selected stories.) Reading a children’s Bible can be a lot of fun!
Bible-Study Challenge: There are many more ways to study God’s Word, but these will get you started. Choose one to begin and thank God that He has given us such a simple way to be approved by Him!