Last week I shared three types of Bible studies you could try to go a little deeper in your time studying Scripture. Today I’d like to share two more studies.
Remember that I’m a big proponent of reading systematically through the Scripture. I recommend that you begin reading in Matthew (the first book of the New Testament), and read all the way through the New Testament. Then return to Genesis, the first book of the Bible, and read straight through to the end of the Bible.
Here’s why? (1) Jesus said that all of Scripture pointed to Him, so in reading the NT first, you will get to know Jesus through His own life, and then through the lives of His first followers. (2) Then when you are reading anything in the OT that is confusing, you can ask yourself, “How does this point to Jesus? What do I learn about man’s fallen state? How do I see the need for a Savior?”
As you reading systematically through the New and Old Testaments, here are two Bible studies for you to try.
When you come across someone’s name in your systematic reading, use a concordance to find all the other places they may be mentioned. You may also want to look up their name in a Bible dictionary, or Strong’s Concordance to find out about their ancestors or meaning of their name.
As an example, let’s look at King David. He first shows up in Ruth 4:17 in a brief genealogy. Then beginning in 1 Samuel 16, we read page after page of his entire life.
Using a concordance, you would also spot some of the Psalms that were written by David, and you would see how David’s life and words were used in the New Testament setting. For instance, in Matthew 1:1 you would see another genealogy that traces Jesus Christ through King David’s family line.
Another example is a man named Barnabas. He first shows up in Acts 4:36. But unlike David, we don’t read consecutive pages about Barnabas. Instead, he sort of pops into the narrative of the early church as recorded in the book of Acts (Acts 9:27; 11:22-26; 12:25-13:3; 15:37-39).
In the Acts 15 passage, we see that Mark’s behavior was a point of serious disagreement between Barnabas and Paul. As a result, they went on separate missionary journeys, and we don’t read anything explicitly written about Barnabas. But continuing to use our concordance of the Bible, we find that Barnabas was still at work behind the scenes to reconcile Mark and Paul (see Colossians 4:10 and 2 Timothy 4:11).
The easiest way to see prophesy at work is noticing what OT passages are recorded in the NT. Here is where you might want to make use of a Bible with cross references in the margins. For example, in Matthew 1:22-23, you see the words, “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord has said through the prophet….” Looking at the verses in my reference Bible, I find mentioned Isaiah 7:14, where the prophesy of Christ’s virgin birth was foretold. Keep your eyes open for phrases like “to fulfill” or “it is written.”
When you are reading in the OT, you will come across certain passages that the Holy Spirit will use to remind you of something that sounds familiar from the NT. Here you would use your concordance or Bible software to search out NT references. Here’s a couple of exampled:
- In Isaiah 9:6, there is a reference to Prince of Peace. I used my concordance to search for the word peace and I found passages like Romans 5:1-2; Philippians 4:7.
- In Isaiah 11:1-3 the phrases about God’s Spirit resting on the Messiah intrigued me, so I used my concordance to search for the words Spirit and rest, and I found Matthew 3:16-17.
- Isaiah 61:1-2 sounded very familiar to me, so when I searched for Lord’s favor I found Jesus used this phrase in Luke 4:16-19.
Check out this video to see how I describe these Bible studies in more detail.
You can also check out this video to watch how I described the three previous Bible studies. I hope you grow deeper in God by studying His Word more in-depth!
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