How to Study the Word of God

Note: if you prefer, here is a PDF version of “How to Study the Word of God”

First and foremost: we must realize that truth must be revealed to the heart and soul through Jesus Christ. It is not because we only academically studied the Bible, and therefore we now believe we comprehended it. God is not a book! God “is” therefore when asked about his name by Moses, he said “I am that I am.” He wants to be respected and worshiped for all that he is, not just as a collection of words we academically study in a book.

Bible open with magnifying glass on it.

The Bible is a book given by God, therefore we highly respect it and desire to know more about what it means, because it helps us understand who God is. And the Bible shows us what God expects from those who desire to obey and serve him. An academic study can definitely help, if the heart is contrite and sincere. Otherwise, understanding scripture will tend to make us proud, and by this same pride, we will deceive our own selves.

“And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know. But if any man love God, the same is known of him.”

1 Corinthians 8:2-3

Do people know that God’s love is alive in you? If so, they will sense God’s presence within you, by the authority of God’s love reaching to them and teaching them.

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”

2 Corinthians 13:5

Don’t trust in your own capability to comprehend, nor someone else’s ability to understand. God revives the understanding of those who humbly draw near to God, to walk with God.

“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”

Isaiah 57:15

And that takes a sincere desire to obey God. Even if it requires that we may suffer for obedience. Because that is even how Jesus learned the depth of loving obedience; by what he suffered.

“Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him”

Hebrews 5:8-9

So to follow the author of all things, and understand him, you must also be willing to suffer for obedience. Otherwise, your understanding will be tainted by fleshly or worldly reasoning of your own thinking, or somebody else’s. Obedience is the best way to show that you believe the Word, and to keep yourself from being deceived.

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”

James 1:22-25

To be able to see spiritual things beyond what is basic for your situation, you must be born from above (be saved from all your sins). To be able to start seeing and understand spiritual things, the power to receive forgiveness and deliverance from sin through Jesus’ blood, must first be revealed to your own heart and soul.

“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

John 3:3

Then having experienced the salvation of your soul, you then will have eyes to see things you didn’t see before. This is because it is only Jesus that can reveal truth. For Jesus spoke:

“And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 18:3-4

This is both the choice of Jesus and his Father: that everyone first starts out as a humble new born baby in Christ Jesus. And even as they grow up in Christ, they need to keep a humble child like attitude.

“At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:25-30

But don’t start with studying the more difficult things in the Bible. Because the scriptures teaches us that we all start out like a newborn baby in Jesus Christ. A baby needs milk first. Something that their new born baby body can handle, without vomiting it up again. Your newly born spirit can only handle the spiritual milk of the Word of God.

“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby”

1 Peter 2:2

Then, as time goes on, as you apply the Word of God to your life, you will understand more. And you will be able to receive more. Even by things that you willingly suffer for obedience to the Word.

“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power”

Ephesians 1:17-19

So when you are more mature in Christ Jesus, then take heed how you go about your study. And order your study according to the directions of God.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

2 Timothy 2:15

Do not just study the Bible so that a man, or a group of people, may approve you. Study to be “approved unto God” first.

Then be careful that you study the Word thoroughly, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. And that you clearly understand the original context of the words that are in the Bible.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

2 Timothy 3:16-17

By living the Word and comparing all of the Word, you will be “thoroughly furnished” for every good work. You will not be shallow in your understanding. Because if you allow yourself to become lukewarm towards God, you can become shallow like a newborn babe again.

“Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

Hebrews 5:11-14

Put the word to use in your life. Exercise yourself in it! You cannot become just a classroom student of the Word for your life. You must go out into the harvest for souls in some way, using the Word to win them. Then your spiritual senses will become clear and discerning. If you spent 40 years in a classroom learning the techniques and technicalities of swimming, you still would not know how to swim until you get into some water that is deeper than you are tall.

The same is true with using the Word in your life, and using the Word to win souls. You have to train yourself by doing, not just studying! And that includes stepping into some spiritual water that is deeper than you are, so that you can comprehend in a greater way who God is, and what he can do!

“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”

Ephesians 3:17-19

Additionally, even after being saved for a while: if you get careless, you might end up allowing a little of the hardness of unbelief into your heart while you areĀ  in the middle of a difficult trial.

“Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.”

Luke 24:25-27

Keep your understanding of the scriptures submitted to the Holy Spirit’s will. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into all truth. Jesus told us specifically that we would need the Holy Spirit to understand scripture.

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”

John 16:13-14

You can only know the deeper meaning of scripture through the work of the Holy Spirit in you, and guiding you.

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

1 Corinthians 2:9-14

Finally, don’t manipulate the Word, or change it! It is God’s Word, not ours.

“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

2 Peter 1:19-21

If there is something in the scriptures you don’t understand? Then leave it alone! Simply be honest and let people know you are not sure of the understanding of that scripture. Do not feel pressured to give an answer that the Holy Spirit has not revealed to you yet.

“As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.”

2 Peter 3:16-17

Study to understand the original meaning of the scripture, and allow the Holy Spirit to show you how to apply and teach them in your current situation and day. Do not add to the principle that the scripture is teaching, and do not take away from the principles that the scriptures teach.

“For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

Revelation 22:18-19

So allow me to summarize what has been said by repeating again the following scripture:

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

2 Timothy 2:15