Abiding in Christ – A Healthy Bible Study

Scott Harris - Lead Pastor | Northshore Christian Church, Everett, WA

Our invitation in John 15 to abide in Jesus and bear much fruit must be foundational in a disciple’s walk. Recent RDN blogs have been rich in guidance on how to abide in Jesus.

 

One crucial aspect of abiding is having a healthy Bible study. The overall purpose of studying the Bible is to get to know the author more intimately. In that intimacy, we will be more tuned into the voice of the Good Shepherd, Jesus. Therefore, we will hear more clearly where He wants us to grow and go as He does His pruning to make us more fruitful in our lives and the world around us. The question then becomes, “how do we have a healthy Bible study”? My answer comes from a phrase we would tell our kids to get them to eat their vegetables, “If you want to grow strong and healthy, you have to eat your peas.” This probably provokes PTSD from your childhood of being “forced” to eat vegetables.

 

The statement is true for Bible study, “If you want to grow strong and healthy spiritually, you must study your Bible.” I took this and developed an easy-to-understand acrostic to help me and others have a healthy Bible study. 

The key to a healthy Bible study is to eat your PEAS.

 

P – Prep and prayer: 

The first step is to prep for success. Start by choosing a consistent time and place. Morning is the suggested time because your mind is fresh and alert. You also must give yourself a reasonable amount of time; the more, the better, but a Bible study must be at least 30 minutes to an hour. Note that devotion and study times are not the same thing. I encourage consistent Bible study and devotions as often as you can. The second prep for a healthy Bible study is place. Choose a place you can return to each day that is comfortable and free from distraction.

Once you have your time and place, begin with prayer. Pray Jeremiah 33:3 over your time; that God will show you great and mighty things. Pray 1 Corinthians 2:10 over your time, that the Holy Spirit will search out and reveal the depths of God to you.

Beginning with prayer sets your heart and mind in the right space to receive what God has to say to you through His Word.

 

E – Engage the Bible: 

A healthy Bible study must be an engagement and not simply a reading. You want your heart and mind renewed through your encounter with the Word (Romans 12:2; John 1:4,14). Engage the text by approaching it with curiosity and questions. I recommend journaling during your reading. Begin this phase with your Bible; support it with access to different translations, but have a primary Bible you use. Study through the

Bible systematically, verse by verse, or chapter by chapter, as this will help you study and recall scriptural truths and allow the entire narrative of the Bible to be understood. Ask these questions as you read: When was this written? Who was it written to? What does it say to them? Does scripture talk about this anywhere else? What does it say about God? Have study resources accessible, like a lexicon, concordance, Bible dictionary, and original language resources. Fortunately, these are all readily available online so you can have those at your fingertips with one device.

 

A – Apply it to yourself:

Make your time a heart journey versus a head journey by asking, “What does this say about me or to me?” Make it personal because God wrote it to be personal (James 1:22-25).

 

S – Set a plan:

How often do we hear God speak to us directly from the Word, through a sermon or reading the Bible, and we do nothing with what He has said? In Luke 11:28 and Psalm 128:1-2, God tells us that blessing comes from obedience. We cannot expect the blessings of God’s promises if we don’t obey God’s Word. Set a specific action plan for the truth God has revealed to you.

 

As a disciple of Jesus, commit to growing spiritually stronger and healthier by eating your PEAS daily.

 

by 

Scott Harris – Lead Pastor
Northshore Christian Church
Everett, WA