Everyone studies differently, and any reading of the Bible is beneficial. I have studied the Bible using a variety of methods. In my journey, I came to a place where I was looking for a fresh and different way of studying God’s Word. I was introduced to the manuscript Bible study method during a group study. I stumbled around a bit at first. Over the course of several weeks, we read our passage of scripture, discussing the different themes, and how that particular passage applies to our lives. By the end of the study I was intrigued, I wanted to know more about this newly introduced approach to Bible study. I was studying the Bible, not what others had written about their studies.
Flipping through Scripture
Many of us use the flip through the pages approach to Bible study. After reading a few verses, we continue reading, or continue flipping. While any time spent reading the Bible is good, there are times when a more in depth study is better. There are several questions to answer as you begin studying the Bible.
What part of Scripture should I study?
What approach or study method should I use?
What study materials do I need when I study?
We will explore one question here: what study method? The other study questions will be discussed in different posts.
Approaches to Bible Study
Studying your Bible is a good thing, but we all have challenges with it. If you are just beginning to become familiar with the Bible, it can be overwhelming to open it up, not knowing what to read. If you have been reading the Bible for many years, you probably have favorite books and sections that naturally fall open when you sit down to read. And there are different approaches or methods of studying the Bible – inductive study method, reading plans, workbooks with fill-in-the-blank questions, and book studies written on specific topics of the Bible, to name a few.
Benefits of Manuscript Bible Study
The manuscript Bible study approach is a way to read the scripture that closely resembles its original form, without chapter and verse references. I have to read an English translation, so I don’t get as close as possible to the original. There is a choppiness of thought, and perhaps understanding, as we read the chapters of Scripture. Some of the chapter breaks make sense, while other groupings make you wonder if it was for more practical reasons – maybe the early written copies of the text were broken up by what could fit on a single page.
How it is Different
The manuscript study method is focused on the Scripture passage, prompting you to think about themes, key words, and the perspective of the original people involved (the writer; the people, places and activities being written about; and the listeners), and how it applies to your life today. It is an inductive study approach, but I feel like it is less intense than some popular inductive studies. As I have continued using the manuscript study approach in a weekly Bible study I lead, my eyes have been opened to see a little clearer what is meant by the Bible being The Living Word.
Answering One Question
The answer to the question of what study method should I use will be different throughout your life. The manuscript Bible study approach has reinvigorated my personal studies. My wife remarked that she had not seen me as excited about Bible study, as I have been since I have been using this method. There is not a one-size-fits-all approach, but I highly recommend trying the manuscript Bible study approach. Read Leading a Manuscript Bible Study for more information about using this method for your own studies, either personally or in a small group.
How can you incorporate the manuscript Bible study approach into your personal Bible studies?
Is there a group you are a part of or can join that is studying the Bible in a meaningful way?