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Bible Study for Beginners

25 May

1076971_25367617Beginning a study of the Bible can be a daunting task.  With sixty-six books, one-thousand-one-hundred-and-eighty-nine chapters, thirty-one-thousand-two-hundred-and-forty-one verses, effective study of the Bible is an ambitious undertaking for even the most seasoned of theologians.  There is, however, a way to simplify things a little.  Many churches, including my own, promote a technique called “The B.I.T.E Method.”  The letters in the acronym stand for: Bible Passage, Insights, Take Away, and Express.  Let’s look at all four of these steps in more detail.  I’ll even throw in a practical example for each step as we go.

Bible Passage

The first step is to choose a passage of Scripture to study.  Whether you feel led by the Spirit to a specific verse or you have always been curious about a certain passage, selecting the verses is an important first step.  For our example, we will choose 1 John 1:9.

“But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”  (NLT)

I chose this verse because it is a relatively familiar one that holds some amazing truths for the Christian faith.  I should also note that it is important to choose a translation of the Bible that you are most comfortable with.  I personally use the New Living Translation as I like the wording and the footnotes associated with the text.

Insights

When digging for insights in a passage, it’s important to first isolate some key words in the passage.  In our example passage, I’m going to zero in on the word ‘confess.’  The temptation would be to apply our knowledge of the English language to words we find in the Bible.  But there is an inherent flaw in that the Bible was not written in English.  1 John was actually written in Greek.  So, to truly understand the text, we must dig into the Greek meaning of the word.

There are many resources online that will help you find and decode the Greek language.  The one that I have used references Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.  The Greek word that is translated ‘confess’ is homologeo, which means to profess or to acknowledge.  This knowledge is contrary to the typical notion that confessing our sins to God is synonymous with apologizing.

Take Away

Acquiring knowledge is useless if we fail to apply it.  The take away is the modern application for the insight.  So, now that we know that to confess is to acknowledge, we can no apply that meaning to our lives.  Instead of preaching to you, let me tell you what I have gleaned from this. 

To acknowledge my sin is different than apologizing for it.  Most of the time, people say they’re sorry as a sense of duty, or as something that needs to get done in order to restore peace.  But to acknowledge my sin is to admit that what I did was wrong, that there is no excuse for it, and that I am ashamed by it.

Express

Now that we know how to apply our passage, it’s time to make it personal.  To express the application of the passage is to write how you will specifically apply the passage to your life.  Again, it’s easy to say that I need to acknowledge my sin, but when is a practical time to do that?

Personally, I don’t just apply that concept to my relationship with God, but to my wife and kids as well.  So, when I say something stupid or insensitive to my wife–which is bound to happen on a daily basis–I won’t just give her a pre-rehearsed apology.  Instead, I’m going to take the time to figure out exactly what I said that upset her, and acknowledge to her that I was wrong.

Your Turn!

Whether you’re a beginner when it comes to studying the Bible, or an experienced biblical scholar, the B.I.T.E. method will help to guide you through the intimidating task of studying the Word of God.  But remember, the first step is just to begin!

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