Use this simple Bible study method to get to know God personally!
Knowing God is life-changing. When we increase our knowledge of Him –not just head knowledge, but intimate knowledge, like the mystery of two becoming one in marriage, which is a symbol of Christ and the church –we begin to live eternal life now.
In John 17:3 Jesus prayed,
“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
Knowing God is essential for us to become like Him. It is essential for us to be able to fully trust that His way is best and that His law is good.
Yet I think sometimes we don’t know how to move from “fact-finding” when we read scripture into “God-apprehending.”
As a teenager, I fell in love with the Bible. I read it every day without fail. I learned critical foundational knowledge as I did this, and lots of practical tips for how to live a life that pleased God. I began to put the things I was learning into practice, and I saw amazing transformation in my life as a result! It all made sense and it proved true as I began to live it out.
When I went off to college, I learned to take my Bible study a step farther. I was involved in a campus ministry where I was encouraged to read with the simple goal of learning who God is, rather than to merely gather factual and practical take-aways.
For me, the result of this new approach to scripture was life changing.
I realized that God’s character is revealed in every single chapter of the Bible. From the Old Testament law, to battle accounts, to the beautiful Psalms of praise, to the words of the Prophets and their fulfillment in the Gospels. God is revealing Himself through the story.
The God of the Old Testament is the same as the God of the New Testament. That makes sense, but realizing it blew open a world of possibilities for me.
Everything we read about Him throughout the whole Bible helps us know Him. That’s why we must read the whole Bible.
Although I used to find certain parts of the Old Testament boring or difficult to relate to, I now see God’s holiness and justice written on every page, as well as His mercy and goodness. It helps me have a proper fear and reverence for Him and learn things about Him I would have a hard time understanding with the New Covenant as my only frame of reference.
I learned to read the Bible with the intention of knowing and understanding God personally, without agenda. That was a big step for me. It was a little unnerving to begin letting to Bible speak for itself without my “help.”
So for example, I finally stopped trying to explain away or ignore verses that deal with difficult concepts like predestination. Instead, I seek to let the Bible say what it says, in the context of itself. …Mysteriously, God wants everyone to be saved, loves everyone, has given us choice, and has predestined the elect. I trust God and recognize that I *might* not fully understand the big picture. (Read: I DON’T!) The mystery and tension of those truths are His alone and point to His incomprehensible wisdom and indisputable sovereignty. Ours is no match!
Do you see how I identified God’s character in light of scriptural truths? This is what I’m talking about. As we learn to read scripture with the goal of knowing God, we will know Him!
But how does this work practically?
I want to share with you the model I learned. It’s taken from a story in scripture.
After Christ died and rose again, He appeared to Saul on the Road to Damascus in the form of a bright light and loud voice. Saul’s response was two questions. (Read the entire story here). I was encouraged to ask these same two questions when reading the Bible.
A Simple Bible Study Method to Get to Know the Character of God
When Saul encountered Jesus, He asked,
- Who are you Lord?
- What would you have me do?
So, I started in the book of Pslams. I read it chapter by chapter, and in my journal, I answered these two questions. I positioned my heart towards God in prayer, and opened a conversation with Him, asking Him to reveal Himself to me through scripture using these two questions.
I intentionally examined each verse for what it said about God’s character, and only then asked what this meant for my life.
I began the practice of writing out God’s character traits in the margins of my Bible.
For years, this was a huge part of how I journaled and interacted with the Bible. It permanently changed the way I view and relate to scripture.
I hope you’ll give it a try! To help, I’ve created a free downloadable bible study journal sheet!
What a gift that we can know The Eternal God!