Christian Study Tools and FAQ's
How do I become a Christian?
- Realize that you are a lost
sinner, and are separated from God by those sins.
Some have summed this up as, "Good is not good
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23
- Repent. To repent is to be sorry for one's sins,
regretting the way that person has lived their life,
and to seek forgiveness.
"...Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Matthew 3:2
"And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent." Acts 17:30
"For Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death." 2 Corinthians 7:10
"For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin." Psalms 38:18
- Confess your sins to God. To confess means to
acknowledge, or agree to the truth; admit.
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9
"And many that believed came, and confessed, and showed their deeds." Acts 19:18
- Forsake your sins. Forsake means to quit, or
leave entirely, to desert, abandon, to depart from.
"He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy." Proverbs 28:13
- Believe and obey the Word of God.
"...Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." Acts 16:31
"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." Hebrews 11:6
"If ye love me, keep my commandments." John 14:15
"Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?" James 2:19-20
- Ask Him to be your personal Savior, read your
Bible and pray daily. The Bible tells us that we
are made "clean" by Gods' Word as it works in those
who believe (John 15:3; 1 Thessalonians 2:13),
therefore it is very important, if you are to grow
in the things of God. Ask God to give you a "hunger"
for His Word and for Godly things. If you are truly
seeking, He will answer such a prayer.
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." Ephesians 2:8-9; Philippians 2:13; 2 Corinthians 5:17
How should I study the Bible?
- First of all make up your mind
that you will put some time every
day into the study of the Word of
God. That is an easy resolution to make, and not a
very difficult one to keep; if the one who makes it
is in earnest. It is one of the most fruitful
resolutions that any Christian ever made. The
forming of that resolution and the holding
faithfully to it, has been the turning point in many
a life. Many a life that has been barren and
unsatisfactory has become rich and useful through
the introduction into it of regular, persevering,
daily study of the Bible. This study may not be very
interesting at first, the results may not be very
encouraging; but, if one will keep pegging away, it
will soon begin to count as nothing else has ever
counted in the development of character, and in the
enrichment of the whole life. Nothing short of
absolute physical inability should be allowed to
interfere with this daily study.
It is impossible to make a rule that will apply to everyone as to the amount of time that shall be given each day to the study of the Word. I know many busy people, including not a few labouring men and women, who give an hour a day to Bible study, but if one cannot give more than fifteen minutes a great deal can be accomplished. Wherever it is possible the time set apart for the work should be in the daylight hours. The very best time is in the early morning hours. If possible lock yourself in with God alone.
- Make up your mind to study the
Bible. It is astounding how much heedless reading of
the Bible is done. Men seem to think that there is
some magic power in the book, and that, if they will
but open its pages and skim over its words, they
will get good out of it. The Bible is good only
because of the truth that is in it, and to see this
truth demands close attention. A verse must
often-times be read and re-read and read again
before the wondrous message of love and power that
God has put into it begins to appear. Words must be
turned over and over in the mind before their full
force and beauty takes possession of us. One must
look a long time at the great masterpieces of art to
appreciate their beauty and understand their
meaning, and so one must look a long time at the
great verses of the Bible to appreciate their beauty
and understand their meaning. When you read a verse
in the Bible ask yourself, What does this verse
mean? Then ask: What does it mean for me? When that
is answered ask yourself again: Is that all it
means? and do not leave it until you are quite sure
that is all it means for the present. You may come
back at some future time and find it means yet a
great deal more. If there are any important words in
the verse weigh them, look up other passages where
they are used, and try to get their full
significance. God pronounces that man blessed who
"meditates" on the Word of God "day and night." Psalm
1:2,3. An indolent skimming over a few verses or
many chapters in the Bible is not meditation, and
there is not much blessing in it. Jeremiah said:
"Thy words were found and I did eat them." (Jeremiah
15:16). Nothing is more important in eating than
chewing. If one does not properly chew his food, he
is quite as likely to get dyspepsia as nourishment.
Don't let anyone chew your spiritual food for you.
Insist on doing it for yourself. Any one can be a
student who makes up his mind to. It is hard at
first but it soon becomes easy. I have seen very
dull minds become keen by holding them right down to
- Study the Bible topically.
Take up the various subjects treated in the Bible,
one by one, and go through the Bible and find what
it has to say on these subjects. It may be important
to know what the great men have to say on important
subjects; it is far more important to know what God
has to say on these subjects. It is important also
to know all that God has to say. A great many people
know a part of what God has to say--and usually a
very small part--and so their ideas are very
imperfect and one-sided. If they only knew all God
had to say on the subject, it would be far better
for them and for their friends. The only way to know
all God has to say on any subject is to go through
the Bible on that subject. To do this it is not
necessary to read every verse in the Bible from
Genesis to Revelation. It would be slow work, if we
had to do that on every subject we took up. This
would be necessary were it not for Textbooks and
Concordances. But in these we have the results of
the hard work of many minds. Here we have the
various passages that bear on any subject brought
together and classified for use, so that now we can
do in a few hours what would otherwise take months
or years. The topical method of Bible study is
simplest, most fascinating and yields the largest
immediate results. It is not the only method of
Bible study, and the one who pursues it exclusively
will miss much of the blessing God has for him in
the Bible. [*] But
it is a very interesting and fruitful method of
study. It was Mr. Moody's favourite method. It fills
one's mind very full on any subject studied. Mr.
Moody once gave several days to the study of
"Grace." When he had finished he was so full of the
subject that he rushed out on the street and going
up to the first man he met he said: "Do you know
anything about Grace?" "Grace who," the man asked.
"The Grace of God that bringeth salvation." And then
Mr. Moody poured out upon that man the rich
treasures he had dug out of the Word of God. That is
the way to master any subject and get full of it. Go
through the Bible and see what it has to say on this
subject. This is easily done. Take your Textbook and
turn to the subject. Suppose the subject you desire
to study is "Prayer."
There will be found a long list of the various
passages of Scripture that bear on this subject.
Look them up one after another and study them
carefully and see just what their teaching is. When
you have gone through them you will know far more
about prayer than you ever knew before, and far more
than you could learn by reading any books that men
have written about prayer, profitable as many of
these books are. Sometimes it will be necessary to
look up other subjects that are closely related to
the one in hand. For example, you wish to study what
the teaching of God's Word is regarding the
atonement. In this case you will not only look under
the head "Atonement",
but also under the head "Blood",
and under the head "Death
of Christ." To do this work a concordance is not
necessary but it is often very helpful. For example,
if you are studying the subject "Prayer" you can
look up from the concordance the passages that
contain the words "pray," "prayer," "cry," "ask,"
"call," "supplication," "intercession," etc. But the
Textbook will give most of the passages on any
subject regardless of what the words used in the
passage may be. Other passages will be found in the
section on Bible Doctrines under their proper
There are four important suggestions to make regarding Topical Study of the Bible.
- Be systematic.
Do not take up subjects for study at random.
Have a carefully prepared list of the
subjects you wish to know about, and need to
know about, and take them up one by one, in
order. If you do not do this, the
probability is that you will have a few pet
topics and will be studying these over and
over until you get to be a crank about them,
and possibly a nuisance. You will know much
about these subjects, but about many other
subjects equally important you will know
nothing. You will be a one-sided Christian.
- Be thorough.
When you take up a subject do not be content
to study a few passages on this subject, but
find just as far as possible every passage
in the Bible on this subject. If you find
the Textbook incomplete make additions of
your own to it.
- Be exact.
Find the exact meaning of every passage
given in the Textbook on any subject. The
way to do this is simple. In the first place
note the exact words used. In the next place
get the exact meaning of the words used.
This is done by finding how the word is used
in the Bible. The Bible usage of the word is
not always the common use of today. For
example, the Bible use of the words
"sanctification" and "justification" is not
the same as the common use. Then notice what
goes before and what comes after the verse.
This will oftentimes settle the meaning of a
verse when it appears doubtful. Finally see
if there are any parallel passages. The
meaning of many of the most difficult
passages in the Bible is made perfectly
plain by some other passages that throws
light upon them. Then parallel passages are
given in the margin of a good reference
Bible and still more fully in "The Treasury
of Scripture Knowledge," a volume worthy of
a place in the library of every Bible
- Arrange the results of
your topical study in an orderly way and
write them down. One should constantly use
pen and paper in Bible study. When one has
gone through the Textbook on any subject, he
will have a large amount of material, but he
will want to get it into usable shape. The
various passages given on any topic in the
Textbook are classified, but the
classification is not always just the one
best adapted to our individual use. Take for
example the subject "Prayer." The
classification of texts in the topic is very
suggestive, but a better one for some
purposes would be:
- Who Can Pray so that God Will Hear?
- To Whom to Pray.
- For Whom to Pray.
- When to Pray.
- Where to Pray.
- For what to Pray.
- How to Pray.
- Hindrances to Prayer.
- The Results of Prayer.
The passages given in the Textbook would come under these heads. It is well to make a trial division of the subject before taking up the individual passages given and to arrange each passage as we take it up under the appropriate head. We may have to add to the divisions with which we began as we find new passages. The best classification of passages for any individual is the one he makes for himself, although he will get helpful suggestions from others.
There are some subjects that every Christian should study and study as soon as possible. We give a list of these:
- The Atonement (of the Blood of Christ)
- The New Birth
- The Flesh
- The Future Destiny of Believers
- The Future Destiny of the Wicked:
- The Character of Christ
- The Resurrection of Christ
- The Ascension of Christ
- The Second Coming of Christ:
- The Reign of Christ
- The Holy Spirit
- Messianic Prophecies
- The Church
- The Jews
- The Judgment
- Study the Bible by chapters.
This method of Bible study is not beyond any person
of average intelligence who has fifteen minutes or
more a day to put into Bible Study. It will take,
however, more than one day to the study a chapter if
only fifteen minutes a day are set apart for the
- Select the chapters you
wish to study. It is well to take a whole
book and study the chapters in their order.
The Acts of the Apostles (or the Gospel of
John) is a good book to begin with. In time
one may take up every chapter in the Bible,
but it would not be wise to begin with
- Read the chapter for
today's study five times. It is well to read
it aloud at least once. The writer sees many
things when he reads the Bible aloud that he
does not see when he reads silently. Each
new reading will bring out some new point.
- Divide the chapters into
their natural divisions and find headings
for them that describe in the most striking
way their contents. For example, suppose the
chapter studied is 1
John 5. You might divide in this way:
- The Believer's Noble Parentage (vs 1-3)
- The Believer's Glorious Victory (vs 4,5)
- The Believer's Sure Ground of Faith (vs 6-10)
- The Believer's Priceless Possession (vs 11,12)
- The Believer's Blessed Assurance (v 13)
- The Believer's Unquestioning Confidence (vs 14,15)
- The Believer's Great Power and Responsibility (vs 16,17)
- The Believer's Perfect Security (vs 18,19)
- The Believer's Precious Knowledge (v 20)
- The Believer's Constant Duty (v 21)
In many cases the natural divisions will be longer than in this chapter.
- Note the important
differences between the Authorized Version
and the Revised and write them in the margin
of your Bible.
- Write down the leading
facts of the chapter in their proper order.
- Make a note of the
persons mentioned in the chapter and of any
light thrown upon their character. For
example, your chapter is Acts
16. The persons mentioned are:
- Timothy's mother
- Timothy's father
- The brethren at Lystra and Iconium
- The Jews of Lystra and Iconium
- The apostles and elders at Jerusalem
- A man of Macedonia
- Some women of Philippi
- The household of Lydia
- A certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination
- The masters of this damsel
- The praetors of Philippi
- The Philippian mob
- The jailor of Philippi
- The prisoners in the Philippian jail
- The household of the jailor
- The lictors of Philippi
- The brethren in Philippi
What light does the chapter throw upon the character of each?
- Note the principal
lessons of the chapter. It would be well to
classify these: e.g., lessons about God,
Christ, the Holy Spirit, etc., etc.
- The Central Truth of the
- The key verse of the
chapter if there is one.
- The best verse in the
chapter. Opinions will differ widely here.
But the question is, which is the best verse
to you at this present reading? Mark it and
- Note the verses that are
usable as texts for sermons or talks or
Bible readings. If you have time make an
analysis of the thought of these verses and
write it in the margin, or on the opposite
leaf if you have an interleaved Bible.
- Name the chapter. For
1 might be called The
Ascension Chapter; Acts
2, The Day of Pentecost Chapter; Acts
3, The Lame Man's Chapter; etc. Give
your own names to the chapters. Give the
name that sets forth the most important and
characteristic feature of the chapter.
- Note subjects for further
study. For example, you are studying Acts
1. Subjects suggested for further study
are, The Baptism with the Holy Spirit; The
Ascension; The Second Coming of Christ.
- Words and phrases for
further study. For example you are studying John
3, you should look up words and
expressions such as, "Eternal life," "Born
again," "Water," "Believer," "The Kingdom of
- Write down what new truth
you have learned from the chapter. If you
have learned none, you had better go over it
- What truth already known
has come to you with new power?
- What definite thing have you resolved to do as a result of studying this chapter? A permanent record should be kept of the results of the study of each chapter. It is well to have an interleaved Bible and keep the most important results in this.
- Study the Bible as the Word of
God. The Bible is the Word
of God, and we get the most good out of any book by
studying it as what it really is. It is often said
that we should study the Bible just as we study any
other book. That principle contains a truth, but it
also contains a great error. The Bible, it is true,
is a book as other books are books, the same laws of
grammatical and literary construction and
interpretation hold here as hold in other books. But
the Bible is an entirely unique book. It is what no
other book is--The Word of God. This can be easily
proven to any candid man. The Bible ought then to be
studied as no other book is. It should be studied as
the Word of God. (1
Thessalonians 2:13). This involves five things.
- A greater eagerness and
more careful and candid study to find out
just what it teaches than is bestowed upon
any other book or upon all other books. We
must know the mind of God; here it is
- A prompt and
unquestioning acceptance of
and submission to its teachings when
definitely ascertained, even when these
teachings appear to us unreasonable or
impossible. If this book is the Word of God
how foolish to submit its teachings to the
criticism of our finite reason. The little
boy who discredits his wise father's
statements because to his infant mind they
appear unreasonable, is not a philosopher
but a fool. When we are once satisfied that
the Bible is the Word of God, its clear
teachings must be the end of all controversy
- Absolute reliance upon
all its promises in all their length and
breadth and depth and height. The one who
studies the Bible as the Word of God will
say of every promise no matter how vast and
beyond belief it appears, "God who cannot
lie has promised this, so I claim it for
myself." Mark the promises you thus claim.
Look each day for some new promise from your
infinite Father. He has put "His riches in
glory" at your disposal. (Philippians
exact, unquestioning, joyous obedience--to
every command that is evident from the
context applies to you. Be on the lookout
for new orders from the King. Blessing lies
in the direction of obedience to them. God's
commands are but signboards that mark the
road to present success and blessedness and
to eternal glory.
- Studying the Bible as
the Word of God,
involves studying it as His own voice
speaking directly to you. When you open the
Bible to study it realize that you have come
into the very presence of God and that now
He is going to speak to you. Every hour thus
spent in Bible study will be an hour's walk
and talk with God.
- Study the Bible
author of the book is willing to act as
interpreter of it. He does so when we ask
Him to. The one who prays with earnestness
and faith, the Psalmist's prayer, "Open Thou
mine eyes that I may behold wondrous things
out of Thy law," will get his eyes opened to
see beauties and wonders in the Word that he
never dreamed of before. Be very definite
about this. Each time you open the Bible to
study it for a few minutes or many, ask God
to give you the open and discerning eye, and
expect Him to do it. Every time you come to
a difficulty lay it before God and ask an
explanation and expect it. How often we
think as we puzzle over hard passages, "Oh
if I only had so and so here to explain
this." God is always present. Take it to
- Look for "the things
concerning Christ" "in all the Scriptures." Christ
is everywhere in the Bible (Luke
24:27). Be on the lookout for Him and
mark His presence when you find it.
- Improve spare moments
in Bible study. In
almost every man's life many minutes each
day are lost; while waiting for meals or
trains, while riding in the car, etc. Carry
a pocket Bible or Testament with you and
save these golden minutes by putting them to
the very best use listening to the voice of
God. The Textbook can easily be carried in
the pocket as a help in your work.
- Store away the Scripture in your mind and heart. It will keep you from sin (Psalm 119:11 RSV), from false doctrine (Acts 20:29,30,32; 2 Timothy 3:13-15), it will fill you heart with joy (Jeremiah 15:16), and peace (Psalm 85:8), it will give you the victory over the Evil One (1 John 2:14), it will give you power in prayer (John 15:7), it will make you wiser than the aged and your enemies (Psalm 119:100,98,130) it will make you "complete, furnished completely unto every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16,17 RSV). Try it. Do not memorize at random but memorize Scripture in a connected way. Memorize texts bearing on various subjects in proper order. Memorize by chapter and verse that you may know where to put your finger upon the text if anyone disputes it.