Missing the sermon on Study? Watch it here: https://alivewesleyan.com/moving-beyond-motions-7/
Discipline of Study
For the discipline of study, the best place to begin is to find a set of Bible commentaries. Commentaries are written by scholars in the field of Biblical studies, and these men and women usually have research and preaching experience related to the Biblical book that they write about. Commentaries cover the history and theology of each book of the Bible. These are helpful because they help to situate these books of the Bible, like the Gospels, within their historical context. What was the historical circumstances that surrounded the birth and ministry of Jesus? Why were some of the things Jesus said so unpopular or counter-cultural? These are the types of questions commentaries can help answer. Further, commentaries dive deep into the original language (Hebrew or Greek) of the Old and New Testaments. This helps us understand what types of meanings are lost when we translate words into English.
Commentaries can be short or intimidatingly long. The key when beginning the holy practice of study is to find a commentary that you feel comfortable with. The library at Southern Wesleyan has many commentaries, and community members can have a library card to check these out. Read a passage of Scripture (the commentary usually already divides the Biblical book into smaller passages), then read the paragraph(s) in the commentary that correspond with the passage that you read. Make notes in a separate journal or directly in your Bible.
Another way to practice study is to do a word study. Pick a word, like peace, or strength, or holiness. Look in the concordance in the back of your Bible. This will define the word and list every time that word appears in Scripture. Over the next weeks, you can read those verses. Focus on learning what God says about your chosen word. For instance, when completing a word study of strength, you will quickly notice that there is consistently warnings against relying too much on our own (or human) strength and commands to rely only on God and His strength.
The key to the discipline of study is the focus on knowledge and truth. Focus on learning things that you did not know previously, no matter how you feel about those truths. By practicing study, we gain knowledge about God and His world that convicts us to be more like Him. We can compare the way we think and live to the truth of Scripture to understand and know how we fall short. Study should move us to repentance—rethinking how we think about everything.
- Free online commentaries: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/
- Free online commentaries: https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/
- Bible Hub: https://biblehub.com/commentaries/. Bible Hub houses free online commentaries and also word studies of the original Greek or Hebrew. It will tell you the original meaning of words and where those words appear throughout Scripture.