In Hebrews 5:14 we read that we have our senses trained by practice to engage in the meat of the Word. When I asked the men (see the “No Confidence” post for the context) what their experience was in Bible study, in all but one case, the pastor’s, all of the studies mentions were of the fill in the blank type. I have done a lot of these. In fact the first study I did in the Air Force was one; I can see it on my bookshelf as I write this. They are great ways to get into the Word, initially. The problem with making them a steady diet is that they are a filtered view of the Word of God. They are filtered by the person or group of people who created and edited the study. Those folks dove into the Word on the topic or the book and did first hand study of the text. They then took the result of their study and crafted questions to lead those who use their studies down the same paths that they took. There is benefit in that. However, when you are engaged in that type of study you are led in the direction their study took them by the questions they ask. You are not interacting with the text first hand on the topic or the book. So when given a Bible, a black sheet of paper, a pen, and the Holy Spirit – since you have not had the practice of doing it yourself, it can be overwhelming. Where do you start? How do you proceed?
John Piper tweeted on January 20th, “When all your favorite preachers are gone, and all their books forgotten, you will have your Bible. Master it. Master it.” I could not agree more. I would add to that when all your Bible study guides are gone… We all need to learn, to practice, diving into the Word on our own, unaided, except by the Holy Spirit. The more we do, the more confident we will become. Not only in our ability to meet with God through His Word, but also in the value of the effort.
If you want to know how to start, let me know. I would be more than happy to help you get started.