How to study and apply the Bible
What we call “the Bible” or “the Scriptures” is a historical collection of books which were composed over 1,500 years by 40 different authors. It was recorded under the guidance and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, yet at the same time was addressed to different groups of people in different circumstances living under different covenants. This is a very important point that is all too often overlooked. It’s not to be studied as an abstract collection of timeless sayings, but rather as a historical document applying timeless wisdom of God to people, individually and collectively, under different circumstances.
Another point is that the Bible contains words spoken by :
– people inspired by God
– people not inspired by God (and even demon-possessed people)
– demons and satan.
So although we colloquially refer to the Bible as “the Word [of God]”, if you want to get precise, a better way to phrase that is “the Bible contains (or records) words of God”. Only Jesus is called “THE Word of God”. The Bible writings most commonly refer to themselves as “the Scriptures”. When we study our Bibles, we want to study the words of God, specifically, as well as examine how putting trust in God enabled peoples and individuals to advance with God (and how distrusting God led to failures).
I propose a simple, well-anchored 3-step approach to Bible study.