Have you ever had a dessert that you wanted to savor? You slowly take each bite, enjoying the taste and texture, and try to make it last as long as you can.
There are many ways to feast on the Word of God:
- We can read it in large chunks.
- We can read bits and pieces scattered throughout.
- We can take our time and slowly savor it.
It can be compared to enjoying a city view from the top of a hill. From the top, the view of the city is beautiful, and it gives you a great perspective of the entire city. Then you leave that hill and walk along the streets. Going inside the museums and shops brings an even deeper experience of what the city has to offer.
In the same way, going deeper in Bible Study can be like exploring a city, street by street. Selecting a book to read and going through it verse by verse can take a while, but it is worth it.
When you visit a city, you don’t want just to see the overall view. You also want to experience all the tastes, smells, and experiences it has to offer. Those experiences will remain with you forever. In a similar way, digging deeper into scripture can feed and transform your soul in ways you hadn’t before experienced.
How to Go Deeper in Bible Study
To begin, you’ll need a few resources. The Bible is always THE final and authoritative word. Yet reading what other people have discovered in Scripture can be helpful. When you study, do it as the Berean’s did: “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” (Acts 17:11)
1. Study Bible: A study Bible (affiliate link) is a useful aid in digging deeper. Many will have notes at the bottom of each page, providing additional information about the verse. There might also be a small letter next to a particular word or phrase, and at the bottom or side of the page, there will be a corresponding verse. This is called cross-referencing.
Often a word, verse, or passage is closely related to another passage in scripture, and cross-referencing will direct you to that passage. A Study Bible (affiliate link) can also provide an overview of the particular book, giving historical background, information about the author, and a brief synopsis of the book.
2. Concordance: Many Bibles have one in the back, but they are often incomplete. If you want to find all the passages in scripture with the word forgiven, a concordance will give you a list of all those passages. A concordance (affiliate link) can also act as a Bible dictionary.
3. Looking at various translations: While there are translations of scripture that are closest to the original, there are also translations that are written in our modern-day language. Sometimes, when studying a particular verse, it’s helpful to look at various translations. Reading a passage with different words or phrases can enhance the meaning. One of the sites I like to go to for multiple translations is here.
4. Greek/Hebrew Dictionary: For those who enjoy doing word studies, a dictionary is essential. There are books as well as computer programs that give you the Greek and Hebrew meaning of a word in scripture as well as help you understand what the word meant to the original readers. Strong’s Concordance (affiliate link) is long famous for its Greek/Hebrew lexicon.
5. Commentaries: Many theologians throughout the centuries have published commentaries on books of the Bible. These are helpful because they go through the passage verse by verse and give an interpretation of the passage. Many of the writings of theologians who have long since passed are available for free online.
Examples include the writings of Martin Luther, Matthew Henry, John Calvin, Charles Spurgeon, John Wesley, and many others. If you are unsure of which theologian to read, speak with your pastor. There are also many contemporary theologians who have written commentaries as well.
6. Sermons: If you have a favorite pastor (or even your own) you can access sermon series on a particular book of the Bible online. Many are available either for listening or reading.
You don’t need all of the above resources to dig deep into scripture, for they are each individually helpful. While the opinions and commentaries of others are exceedingly helpful, the Bible is always the final authority.
Many blessings on your travels into the Word!
Disclosure: Some affiliate links have been used within this post.