I always enjoy a sermon in which the pastor brings to light some little-known fact about a familiar Bible story. I especially love to hear the historical and cultural context surrounding these events we know all too well. Many of us think these facts are relegated to the world of seminary and theology textbooks—but that is not the case! All followers of Christ should be students of the Bible, and we have the opportunity to study it just like a pastor does.
Not sure where to begin? Here are a few reasons and resources to take your Bible study to a deeper level.
All of us are called to ministry
Pastors aren’t the only ones called to ministry. All disciples of Jesus are called to be a light and witness to the people in their path:
And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” (Mark 16:15)
But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15)
If we are all called to ministry, we need to be prepared to answer questions about our faith! This requires a deeper level of study than a bedtime devotional. We need to know God’s Word for ourselves, allowing it to infiltrate our hearts and minds. And as we pursue this, God will bless the fact that we’re seeking Him.
All of us should be students of God’s Word
As followers of Christ, God’s Word is the lens through which we see the world. It’s also our way of understanding relationships, emotions and daily choices. We can’t do anything apart from the wisdom of God! That’s why we all need to make time for God’s Word and allow the Lord to transform us through it.
If you’re bored by your Bible, you probably haven’t studied it with the depth your pastor has. You know those interesting facts he shares from the pulpit? You can discover those for yourself. They are right there in God’s Word, waiting for you to find them. You simply need to know HOW to do so!
All the resources are available
Simply reading your Bible by itself has many benefits, but you will gain much more if you read it with help. Biblical commentaries offer historical and cultural context that explain why the Bible characters act, speak and live a certain way. This in turn makes these stories far more powerful and applicable to modern times.
Some resources that will be helpful:
- NIV Application Commentary Series
- Zondervan Bible Dictionary
- Grasping God’s Word
- Concise Bible Commentary
- Matthew Henry’s free online commentary
- Strong’s Concordance
These resources can be used alongside your daily reading to help you gain a broader, deeper understanding of what these passages contain and how they apply to our lives today.
A deep relationship with God is not just for leaders
Finally, a deep relationship with God isn’t just for those who lead the church. All of us are members of Christ’s body. All of us have specific gifts and skills God wants to see used for His gospel! Those gifts increase in influence as we understand God better—and we understand God better through His Word.
To be a leader in your community, to draw close to God and to better understand the gospel for your own life, study the Bible like a pastor. You will never regret the investment!