Grow in the grace
and knowledge
of our Lord and Savior
Jesus Christ.
To him be the glory
both now and forever!

2 Peter 3:18

If you want to interpret
well and confidently,
set Christ before you,
for He is the man
to whom it all applies,
every bit of it.

Martin Luther

Why Study the Bible?

The Bible is the word of God written by the hands of men. It’s a miracle in and of itself. It’s not a rulebook or playbook for life, but a salvation book for eternity. John 20:31 says, “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name”. That alone is enough reason to study the Bible. But here are a couple more:

Study it because it helps. Generations of people have found encouragement amidst stress and worry, comfort in times of pain and sorrow, direction and peace in a world of chaos. They find these blessings in God’s dependable promises. You can too.

Study it to avoid errors. The Bible is often misquoted or taken out of context – even by churches and Christian books. Don’t just accept someone saying, “The Bible says…” as the Gospel truth. Study the Bible and understand it for yourself. Avoid critical spiritual errors by taking responsibility for your own Biblical knowledge. God holds you accountable for your faith or lack of it – not the church or anyone else.

Biblical Interpretation

“All Scripture is God-breathed…” (2 Timothy 3:16). Since the Bible is word-for-word inspired by God himself we understand it as intended in the language, culture, and context in which it is said. There is just one correct interpretation and meaning – the one the Author intended. There are not multiple right answers. It doesn’t matter “what it means to me”. It only matters what God meant when he said it.  And that is evident more often than not. In instances where it is unclear, we look to Scripture to interpret itself in other related verses and chapters; and then it becomes clear. “Let Scripture interpret Scripture” is a Lutheran mantra. Our world may change, and new applications of the Word may arise, but the Word and its meaning do not change.

7 Bible Study Tips

  1. Just do it. Everyone can find 15-20 minutes a day. Schedule a time. Mornings seem to work best for most. Set your alarm a little earlier. Make it part of your daily routine.
  2. Have a plan. Use a one-year or three-year reading plan; read it one book at a time; read it from cover to cover. There are many ways to read it. Just pick one. A Gospel is a good starting point.
  3. Pray. Before you listen to the Lord, speak to him. Ask for wisdom and understanding.
  4. Ask. After reading, ponder such questions as: How does this show my sin? How does it show God’s grace? How does it apply to my life? Look to learn from the text. Don’t seek validation for your pre-existing ideas.
  5. Write. Keep a study journal, highlight meaningful verses in your Bible, or write your own cross-references and commentary.
  6. Share. Tell others about what you are reading. Talking about it leads to further understanding or an opportunity to enlighten others. Share your study time with 1-2 others for accountability.
  7. Use a commentary or study Bible. These tools give historical, cultural and Scriptural context that provide understanding. Speak with your pastor about one that he recommends for you.