What have you found is a productive way for you to study the Bible? Do you have a group? Or a solitary preference?
How do you study the Bible? (for those that do)
I am removing my answer because now that you changed the title it doesnt make sense :-)
But now it seems that I came to tell you that i dont study the bible,.... what a conondrum
If you are going to make a study of the bible it depends how deep you want to get into it. If you are looking for truth then I would sit with a greek and hebrew bible with a couple of english versions, a few dictionaries, encyclopias, plus look up all that mentioned. If you want to take the bible literally then you would have to look into the history / archeological records. If you are looking at creation you need to perhaps understand some basic astronomy so that you can understand if that is literal or not.
It is not as easy as just picking it up and reading it and praying for inspiration.
cyberjesus, you tricked me! im so stupid...lol
• Preheat oven to 180ºC/356ºF
• Place Bible in a pan over a low light with some Virgin-Birth Olive Oil
• Stir slowly and allow pages to caramelize
• When golden-brown and soft to the touch, add in Ragoo Pastafarian sauce
• Place in the oven for 2-3 hours, until thoroughly cooked
• Season to taste, leave to cool on the windowsill
• Enjoy spiritual nourishment!
I don't hop around verse to verse. I read a book slowly, carefully, straight thru. As we should know, CONTEXT is everything.
I don't study the Bible, I read it as a letter to my lost JW wife which I previously failed to understand. Nowadays I would write to her thus: "Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith, which was once for all times delivered to the Saints. For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who have long beforehand been marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the Grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master. These men in the same manner by dreaming; defile the flesh, reject authourity and revile Angelic Majesties. The Book of JUDE..... if you continue in this vein you may get my drift.
For who come to people's houses, feast with you without fear i.e. BS/JW. My New American Standard very old Bible has put Headers throughout in an attempt to put things in context i.e. Jude v1-16 The Warnings of History to the Ungodly v17-25 Keep Yourselves in the Love of God.
Solitarily using Common Sense I.e. That is by using my race memory. All animals have race memories, we are Animals. Mine appear to have somehow been Tapped.
I read it in consecutive verses in one or two sittings per book. My purpose is to avoid all secondary material. I ask what I think is going on. Next, I usually call a reputable seminary and ask for the best commentary. I read the commentary.
I never have problems finishing a Bible book in one or two sessions. Strange, how the Witnesses never read in consecutive verses. It is such a large collection of writings. I could write any fool idol and p rove it by jumping around the Bible.
I've been in Bible studies with other women. It was a college course, too. I"ve audited a few seminary courses.
I sign up for every class or discussion at church.
I keep reading the authors that Elaine Pagels introduced me to when I was in college. Also, I used to hang out at St. John the Divine Cathedral in New York. There were many Union Theological Seminary students also hanging out. I'd ask them silly questions that I would not ask a priest or prof.
I prefer to read verse by verse, with a purpose of understanding a book.
When it comes to the gospels try reading them "horizontally".
For example read all the birth narratives, all the accounts of Jesus' death, all the resurrection stories and so on.
Try not to conflate then in your mind, let them each stand on their own - you will be amazed.
I'll take a bible book (currently Isaiah) and read it through, one chapter at a time, using my NIV reference bible. After each chapter, I read all the footnote comments. I then consult online commentaries such as Coffman's (available at StudyLight.org) if I have further need of enlightenment or simply to get another viewpoint.
While I do this on my own, I have gone to a neighbor's home recently where a group meets for Bible discussion. Right now they're covering John Piper's book What Jesus Demands From The World and they read some Bible verses that the book includes or comments on. The jury is out for me as to whether going to this study is worth my time, though it's very casual and I like the idea of just popping over to my neighbor's house and not having to dress up to attend a simple bible study meeting.
I think that the phrase "study the bible" is a trademark of the Watchtower CORPORATION ... they have trademarked this BIG phrase to make people believe they are into something SO BIG AND SPECIAL when in fact they are not (we were not) ... now that I am a Christian I know that if you want to "study the bible", you either do it on your own as LouBelle said before and if you really really want to study the bible you go to a college where you can get even doctorates on bible studies and let me tell you this people know everything about it ... culture, languages (hebrew, greek, aramaic), peoples, geography, archeology, early christians by name, genealogy, awesome knowlege of the bible BUT even they have to personally "READ the bible" Medidate on in apart from their "study" of the bible ... I hope I am making sense ... (I am embarred now to think that I used to say that I was "studying the bible" what a joke !!!)
I am not into "studying" the bible, I read it and I do research subjects of interest. During my personal reading of the bible, I keep a notebook next to me where I write my thoughts about it, how can I apply it on my own life, sometimes I write prayers based on what I am reading, I make notes of God's qualities, thoughts, commands, likes, dislikes, I note how my feelings are same as God's. I also make notes of words that I want to research, towns, people, stories, for example right now I am going to research Job 14:14, I heard that in Hebrew Job question is: If a man dies will he live? Not will he live AGAIN? and how this question posed by Job through the ages is answered by Jesus ... do I think I have to make a big effort to do this research, NO, I wait for God to lead me to the right sources and then the answer will be in my heart, in my Spirit.
I don't know if you consider yourself someone that has a personal relationship with our Heavenly Father through Jesus, because if you believe then you will know that we have a helper that helps us to understand the living message of the bible when we read it.
You can read the bible along with a group or a partner, but everybody is different, your life (heart mind soul) has been shaped by what you have personally experienced, seen, read, heard, studied, been told by parents, friends, siblings, environment, geography, race, color, hundreds of factors, for the message of the bible to be a double sword: (Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.) you have to personally read it and medidate on it and BELIEVE, trust what your spirit is telling you, that still small voice that yet JOLTS inside you. Believe in personal revelation because that's one of the things the HOly Spirit through the bible does for you. It is a double sword. JWs believe that the bible the book itself is the "double sword" and will quote anything from it to make you comform BUT as a Christian I now know that it is the Holy Spirit that will make that message of the bible match (so to say) your own Spirit (so billions of people will be affected different by that message - this has nothing to do with doctrines but renewal of the heart and mind).
I enjoy reading the bible now, with prayers it is the first place I go when I have problems and there is always an answer or promise ... I love to go through my notes and prayers ... I cry reading my own notes, everything in them have come to pass ... God has been so faithful... I didn't know what it was before but now I know that the bible has a living message for each of us individually, with the right heart and attitude, humility, repentance and total surrender to Almighty God through Jesus as Lord and Saviour, the Holy Spirit makes it comes alive for each one of us that seeks ...I know some peole don't believe but I believe and have faith.
Gosh, this became a long note, so going back to your question ... LOL!!!... the most productive way for me is: solitary (I like to go straight to the Holy of Holies)
At the moment I'm doing it alone. I share my findings with my immediate family. So far they hear, even though they are still JW. I bought 2 interlinear translations from Greek into Spanish (that's my native language), a Bible dictionary and a couple of study Bibles. A tool that also has been very valuable and is FREE, even though I made a voluntary donation for it, is e-sword. It is a program with more than 20 Bible editions, Bible dictionaries, books of historians like Josephus, in short everything that a sincere seeker of the truth need. I recommend it. You can find it here:
Right now, I just read it straight through. Sometimes slowly, sometimes in an attempt to catch up with my "read the Bible in a year" plan.
Occasionally, I come across some very interesting bits that on the surface contradict religious teachings. Like Samuel being channelled by a spiritualist for Saul after Samuel's death (wait a minute, I thought the dead was conscious of nothing after death and I thought spiritualists can only contact demons), or Jehovah, Yahweh, or the LORD sending an evil spirit onto Saul (why is HE sending the evil spirit?) that only David can heal.
I read Bible commentary on it but it inevitably goes above and beyond what is written to explain it. (Like the spiritualist channeled Samuel because God allowed it, where is that written in the passage? Or, the spiritualist REALLY channelled a demon and not Samuel, sorry the passage gave no indication of the being talking to Saul was anyone other than Samuel).
I also read somewhere in 1st Kings where Elijah was called into Heaven. Hmmmm, Jehovah's Witnesses teach that ONLY the 144,000 go to Heaven and that the calling of the 144,000 did not begin until AFTER Jesus's death, burial, and ressurection.
Makes you think.
When going over passages of interest I ponder the question: How will the avid reader understand this text in 2,000 years from now?
I look at the cover see the words "Holy Bible" and think to myself "Holy Crap".
I really don't study it at the minute, at all.
I feel I've had enough for a long time. But I'm very aware that what the WT calls "Bible Study" is nothing at all to do with studying the Bible and everything to do with soaking up WT indoctrination.
The Bible contains a ±30-point "hidden map" that leads away from religion to God, for those that search for, find, follow and yield to the map.
The map is called the gospel, good news, good message, sacred secret, evangel and glad tidings in English.
Greek: Euaggelion and Mysterion.
To defeat the map religion/ists deplete or truncate the map by removing most of its ingredients.
One way to recover and identify removed ingredients is to use the Watchtower library (yes their own publications) to search for and mark every occurrence of the phrase "good news" in the Bible (±152 times).
It is no accident that Watchtower religionists lyingly call themselves "publishers of the good news" but cannot explain, teach and obey the "good news" according to Moses, Isaiah, Psalms and Paul. More than half the Bible's 152-odd references to the "good news" are by Paul!
The map has to be unlocked by two main keys provided by Holy Spirit namely repentance (awareness of our/my dysfunction) and faith (a wide opening of our spiritual eyes).
Many other keys are useful.
Here is one set:
Problems caused by RELIGION in Eden God's solution or answer The end result Death Salvation Eternal Life Enmity Reconciliation/Atonement Friendship/Sonship Bondage, Captivity, Control Deliverance/Liberation Freedom of the sons of God Decay Restoration Perfection
I only study it with WT publications. How else could one understand it?