Some think they get a ‘spiritual high’ from contemporary Christian fiction or music. But perhaps they are confusing that ‘spiritual high’ with something else, because God intended for His children to experience spiritual growth through His Word (cf. 1 Pet. 2:2). Without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6), and faith can only come from His Word (Rom. 10:17). The Bible is the key to spiritual growth and the only way to truly know spiritual success.
Only through Scripture can we find life. Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by ever word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). We need to view the Bible as the source of life.
Perhaps you are looking for ways to make your study of God’s Word better. Below are ten tips that I believe will help:
1. Genuinely view Scripture as God speaking to you, thus it is relevant and has complete authority over you.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
2. Find a good time and place to study.
Are you a morning person or an evening person? Personally, I have the most mental clarity in the morning (and it just goes downhill from there), but you may be different. Maybe you’re a night owl, and enjoy staying up late. Study God’s Word during the time of day you’re most likely to be able to concentrate on the Text.
Also, when you study, make sure you’re alone. It is difficult to pay attention to anything when people are around. Most preachers are spoiled in that they usually have a “study” in which to study, while other people don’t have that luxury. But you can still find a place that is away from everybody else, such as a bedroom, basement, or quiet park.
3. Make it regular.
Christians are to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). “Without ceasing,” (adialeiptós) means frequently, regularly, and without any unnecessary time gap. In other words, your prayer life shouldn’t be sporadic and infrequent. Yet, prayer is just how we speak to God. Shouldn’t we let God speak to us at least as frequently as we speak to Him? Christians should “study without ceasing.” Just as you wouldn’t go a day without eating, you shouldn’t go a day without studying. Study a minimum of once a day, and get serious about it.
4. Set realistic goals.
Bible study isn’t about quantity, but about quality. It doesn’t matter how many chapters you study in one sitting. The person who thoroughly studies the book of Acts for three months, for example, will probably grow more than the person who reads the entire Bible through in the same amount of time. It is unrealistic to expect to grow spiritually if you don’t take the time to digest the spiritual food. Decide to study a particular book or word for a period of time, or do a word study. Study with the goal of improving a particular area of your life or trying to better understand a particular topic.
5. Be committed to serving, worshiping, and learning at church with other Christians.
Spiritual growth is inseparable from involvement with the family of God. Be involved with other Christians in the work of the church.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hears to God. (Col. 3:16)
6. Study with a desire to strengthen your relationship with God.
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. (John 3:39-40)
7. Let the Word dwell in you.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. (Col. 3:16a)
I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. (Psa. 119:11)
8. Build up your library.
While only the Bible is the inspired Word of God (cf. 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 1 Cor. 2:10-13), commentaries, reference books, and topical studies play a critical role in Bible study. Books were important to Paul (cf. 2 Tim. 4:13), so they should be of some value to us. Ask your preacher for some book recommendations. Get a good concordance and Bible dictionary. When you use other books, make sure you recognize that they could be wrong; only the Bible is 100% true. Books should help you better understand the Bible, not take the place of the Bible.
9. Take advantage (in a good way) of godly people.
Spend time with people who are dedicated to the Word. Ask them questions about Scripture. Talk about spiritual things with them. Take advantage of your preacher, whose job is to help you better understand the Bible. Being around solid spiritual influences will give you insight into God’s Word (cf. 1 Cor. 15:33; Prov. 27:27).
10. Study to apply, not to merely acknowledge.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. (James 1:22-25)