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Bible Study Tips
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For someone just starting their walk of faith the thought of reading the bible is sometimes in-timidating.  I remember just walking around and holding mine for a few weeks.  It did little good in my hands, you have to open it.
 
I also remember approaching prayer, directly talking to God, with immense trepidation.  On this page, both of these issues are addressed.
 
In the Old Testament Moses said these words, among others, to the nation of Israel before going to be with the Lord: "...man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord" (Deuteronomy 8:3).
 
This theme is reinforced in the New Testament with the following suggestion; "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you" (James 4:8).
 
In keeping with these commandments, I can testify that it has been my experience that regular study in the Holy Bible will bring one closer to God and bring an increased filling of the Holy Spirit.  Daily study, in the morning, is preferable.  The word gives life:

1. It is suggested that beginners read the gospel of John first.  If you are interested in poetry, symbolism and metaphysics this will probably remain your favorite book in the bible.  For those who are better suited to a more straightforward summary of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ; then Mark, the shortest gospel might be a better choice.

2. It is best to read an entire book of the bible rather than jumping around from verse to verse.  Most were meant to be digested as a whole.  That doesn't mean you can't look up what the pastor preached about in church or heard from someone else.  I'm talking about study.

3. It is better to begin study with a group, for example at a bible study class at church; or under the tutelage of a mentor.

4. There is nothing wrong with studying at several churches at once; it may even increase your basic knowledge of the outline of scripture and the main stories more quickly.  Keep an open mind.

5. One tool that I found extremely helpful when I began studying scripture was to take a few months reading Psalms and Proverbs.  Billy Graham has said that reading psalms, "teaches me how to get along with God...Proverbs...teaches me how to get along with my fellow man."  In addition, Martin Luther called the book of Psalms, "a bible in miniature."  The 5th century scholar St. Augustine called it, the "language of devotion."

6. Read five psalms a day and one proverb (perhaps the psalms in the morning when you wake up and the proverb just before bed) and in a month you will have completed both books.  They can be both beautiful and re-petitious.  However, as one becomes immersed in these books of wisdom one slowly learns to recognize and hear God's voice.  I recommend keeping up this regimen for at least two months.

7. As you become more and more used to reading scripture you will under-stand more.  I pray that it will become apparent to you, as it did for me, that only God could have authored these beautiful wise words.  Each time you read a book you will often have many new things revealed.

8. One good technique, as you become more ad-vanced, is to read one book over and over until you know it cold--then move on.

9. As you grow in the Lord and become more in-dependent several study aids are es-sential.  First, a good bible dictionary; I recom-mend The New Unger's Bible Dictionary highly see below).  Second, a concordance will allow you to look up bible verses quickly.  Most people get a Strong's concordance.  To some extent, the need to buy this has been obviated by the content on the inter-net.  One of the ex-ceptional websites is www.biblegateway.com.  But, the Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic dictionaries in the back of the Strong's are a useful tool and alone may make the investment worth it.

10. Even though it is difficult we should endeavor to read the entire bible.  With the exception of Psalms, Proverbs, and Genesis and Exodus the entire New Testament should be completed before tackling the Old Testament.  It is an incredibly rewarding achievement.  Set your own pace, one year, three years or whatever.  You owe it to yourself and Him. 

11. It is important to pray before studying the bible.  You should ask that the Lord reveal Himself to you in His word, that you have greater understanding of its meaning, and that you remember as much of it as possible.  Study in a quiet secluded space if possible.  Afterward, attempt to mentally review the material in your head during the day to increase retention. 

12. The New International Version (NIV) of the bible is closest to the original translations among those versions designed to be easier understood.  Don't be afraid to ask questions or to disagree.  Never stop learning!!!

Check out the Unger's:

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"Pray without ceasing"
 
 
1 Thessalonians 5:17

 
 
 
PRAYER:
 

 

Suggestions for a Prayer

 

 

1. Addressed to “Father,” “Heavenly Father,” “God Almighty” or similar honorific

 

2. Praise and thank the Lord for what He has done (in your life, in the bible, at the cross…)

 

3. Say, “I (we) pray” when you begin each part of the petition

 

4. Make specific and detailed requests in your petition, the more selfless the better; and quote scripture

 

5. Pray that “the Lord’s will be done, not mine”

 

6. Pray “in the name of Jesus Christ”

 

7. Say, “amen” when you are finished

 

 

  A certain level of formality is good but a casual, conversational tone is fine also.  Regardless, prayers should contain these elements as often as possible. 

 

  Watch and listen to others at prayer for ideas.  It’s not necessary to copy others; remember that you are having a private conversation with the Lord so be yourself.  You are in the presence of the Master of the Universe who painfully sacrificed Himself for you; why aren’t you on your knees?

 

The most important thing to pray for is ever-increasing faith.

 

Morning and evening prayer times in solitude are good for starters.  Finally, remember to say a blessing every time you eat or drink.

"Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.  The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much."
 
 
James 5:16

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LOVING YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOU LOVE  YOURSELF REQUIRES TOTAL LOVE, TOTAL FORGIVENESS, TOTAL BROTHERHOOD AND SUBVERTING THE DOMINANT PARADIGM