Any studying, any time spent in God’s word, is good profitable time. I don’t think there’s a ‘wrong’ way to do it. Each Tuesday, I try to suggest a way to look at Scripture in hopes of gaining deeper insights or understanding. I don’t use all my suggestions all the time. That’s not practical. The study methods I use every time I open my Bible are to mark my list of key words (and after years of doing this the list is pretty big) and I highlight verses that grab my heart. I also underline details that catch my eye.
Some folks can read Scripture without ‘studying’ it. That’s really hard for me. There’s a real benefit in getting the big picture. That’s especially helpful with the little books in the Old and New Testament. I’m more of a ‘word-by-word, read-all-the-footnotes, chase-all-the-cross-references’ type. If you read 2 Chronicles, the overview is going to show that some of the kings followed God and blessings came. Some didn’t, and God judged. Through it all there was a gradual decline in obedience and commitment to God from which Judah never recovered.
I love the details (except for building dimensions 🙂 ) I try to imagine what the scenes looked like, what the bystanders saw, what cultural connection there might be. Here’s an example of one of those ‘glaze-over’ details. I was reading 2 Chronicles 30 this morning which describes how Hezekiah reinstituted the Passover. Verse 24 says the king gave 1000 bulls and 7000 sheep, and the leaders of the people gave another 1000 bulls and 10,000 sheep. My husband is a farm boy, so he’s had cows, and you only have one bull on the place at a time. Otherwise there’s a ruckus. I’ve helped him vaccinate, and managing a couple dozen critters is challenging enough. Can you imagine how hard the priests and Levites had to work to get all those animals wrangled, penned, then prepared and sacrificed? The thoughts of that much blood makes me a little queasy, but there’s a purpose in that. Sin requires a horrible payment. God wants us to hate sin as much as He does. In seeing how many innocent animals were sacrificed just to hold off judgment, we start to appreciate the magnitude of Christ’s work that removed the need for further payment for sin. Once and for all.
That’s where I get chills- when all those details point to Jesus Christ. Seeing His redemptive work fresh and new everyday… that’s what makes me get up early to study.