The Bible has long fascinated (and rightfully so) Christians for 2000 years. But how can you study it better? How do you get the most out of what God has revealed about Himself, creation, sin, the human condition, and so many other things in Scripture? While there are a number of helpful ways to dig into and get the most out of Scripture, there are four biblical questions you can ask that come from Scripture itself.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:6-17
Let’s key in on those four words that Paul used: teaching, rebuking, correcting and training. Paul says Scripture is incredibly useful and profitable in these four areas. What do those words mean in the original language?
Teaching – to impart knowledge or skill
Rebuking – an act or expression of criticism or censure
Correcting – the act of offering an improvement (according to a standard) to replace a mistake
Training – the whole education and instruction of a disciple (both the cultivation of mind and morals); understood as the rearing and education of children
So with those incredible benefits offered to us every time we open the Scriptures, here are four questions that can help us not only study Scripture but walk away with the full experience God wants us to have. Think of it like this: let’s say you’re going to a concert with your favorite band. It’s one thing to go and sit in the back row where you can barely see the stage. Sure you hear the music and experience the atmosphere, but there’s a huge difference between that and getting front row seats along with a backstage VIP pass where you can interact with the band directly. Every time you open Scripture, don’t settle for the back row. Get the VIP experience! These four questions are your ticket in every time you study Scripture:
1. What does it mean? (teaching)
What is the meaning behind what you read? What is God communicating to us? How does it all fit together? Where else in Scripture does God say the same thing? This is where most Bible studies start and stop. They do a great job understanding the bits and pieces of a Bible verse, without moving onto the next three questions.
2. Where am I failing? (rebuking)
When we study Scripture, the Holy Spirit (if we’re listening) will always bring rebuke and conviction. Not to punish us, but to heal us. If we truly gaze into Scripture with open eyes, we’ll see our own sins and imperfections reflected back to us. We can’t fix a problem until we know it’s there. Scripture can expose even the hidden sins of our hearts, and that’s a good thing because it leads to the third question.
3. What’s the Bible way? (correcting)
Scripture doesn’t expose our sin to shame us but to show us the better way. According to God’s way and His righteousness, we see the straight and narrow road paved out before us in Scripture. If you want to be better, live more freely and walk in the steps of Jesus, allow Scripture to show you the better way.
4. How do I live this out? (training)
Similar to the third question, being trained by Scripture has an element of time attached to it. Scripture is not something you can go to in an instant, find a quick answer, and be on your way. There’s an aspect of the transformation and training of Scripture that can only come in terms of months and years, not minutes or even hours. When you study Scripture, ask how this should impact your daily life at home, at work, at school. Don’t walk away from Scripture until you’ve walked away with a couple of practical things you can do to make your life look more like Jesus.
Here are some other blogs I’ve written about the Bible: