National Association of Christian Ministers
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National Association of Christian Ministers

Answering His Call to Advance the Gospel and Unite the Body of Christ.

Defining Effective Bible Study

In July of 2011, a team of ministers from the National Association of Christian Ministers assembled to answer the question: What is effective Bible study? 

The members of the team represented a diversified mix of denominational, educational, and cultural backgrounds. The selection of these different qualities was purposeful so that insight could be gained by their experiences in the practice of ministry, their educations, and their cultural perspectives.  Below is a preliminary report of their conclusions.  The names of those who participated in this project will not be released until its "official" completion.  However, at that time, those who wish to provide their names will be recorded, and those who wish to remain anonymous will be referenced as such.  This is so that honor is given to the personal convictions of the members.  While many find it perfectly acceptable to list the names of contributors, some hold individual convictions to not receive recognition. The NACM will honor both.

The Practice of Effective Bible Study
 
What is the Practice of Effective Bible Study?

In no order of importance

I. Definition 

A) It is a willingness to read the Holy Bible with the conviction that it is God's Word and holding His authority.

B) It is an expectation of personal change through understanding God's message.

C) It is a pursuit to define the purpose of life according to Scripture, as opposed to interpreting Scripture according to subjective experiences in life.

D) It is the intention to gain understanding with the attitude that knowledge and understanding of the Bible is never complete in this life, and application of the principals gained through study result in a continual development. 

E) It is the understanding of how to lovingly correct others who may err form the clear principals of the Bible's definition of holy living.

F) It is the continual practice of introspection to understand what is the will of God, through the Holy Spirit.

G) It is the fulfillment of the responsibility of every Christian to study and rightly divide the Scriptures.   

H) It is an opportunity to explore differences of opinion regarding its interpretation.   

I)  It is an open-minded look at Scripture to understand, rather than condemn other viewpoints -unless such are opposed to clear Biblical principles.   

J)  It is the comparison of Scripture with Scripture, to further interpretation.

K)  It is the reading of the Bible in a group or individual setting, to prepare for daily living that honors Christ.

L)  It is the reading of Scripture in terms of seeking to understand the whole Bible message.  

M)  Reading with a prayerful attitude so the Holy Spirit will impart comprehension, wisdom, and life application.


 II. Evidence of the Effective and Rewarding Practice of Bible Study:   

A) Students will show themselves approved, ministers that need not to be ashamed.  

B) Students will make themselves ready at all times, everywhere, and in every season to minister to the needs of people.     

C) Students will find themselves fluent in God's teachings.

D) Students will find personal fulfillment.   

E) Students will develop the ability to apply theology to everyday ministry. 

F) Students will gain knowledge of their weaponry against Satan.    

G) Students will experience divine insights.  

H) Students will gain knowledge of all the blessings God has promised.

I) Students will discover the process of living by faith and the exercise of prayer that accompanies the Bible message.

III. How to Present Effective Bible Study

A) Give academic assignments, make these assignments a close reading of the passage followed by personal interpretation.   

B) Give lessons that will encourage people to learn and grow at the same time [discipleship]   

C) Gather necessary and relevant information that will facilitate the presentation it in a way that the audience can understand.

D) Demonstrate Bible passages by pictures, replicas, artifacts, etc.   

E) Demonstrate points by use of props.   

F) Consider acting out what is taking place in the passage by means of skits or Passion Plays.   

G) Point people to Jesus to meet their need of prayer and relationship with Christ.   

H) Ask questions of a text that has been read (Who's speaking, to whom, what's the situation, why, when, where, etc...)   

I) Look for cross-references that enlarge the perspective of the text in relation to the whole (chapter, book, etc.); etc.].   

J) Discuss differences between reading the Bible, and studying the Bible (with meditation in Scripture).   

K) Choose one book and read it through.   

L) Identify the major theme. 

M) Read the book again verse by verse and break it down line by line.   

N) Gather from other appropriate resources where people have given to God.  Be sure to give back to God by giving to His people.


IV. Link to Everyday Life and Practical Terms.   

A) Everyday walk with Christ is a direct result of practical Bible study    

B) Knowing God and communicating with Him are the direct results of prayer and Bible study    

C) Salvation and eternal life are dependent upon the knowledge of and relationship with God.    

D) Living lives that demonstrate unconditional love, acceptance and honesty tend to follow those who study and apply the Bible.    

E) Consider follow up services of ministry.

F) Pray for another opportunity to water, plant, or harvest.    

G) Resist temptation by putting on the full armor of God.    

H) Take comfort in a relationship with God.     

I)  Use personal knowledge of the Bible to confirm the will of God    

J) Remember that knowledge of the Word and a trust in the Holy Spirit are the foundations of Christian living.     

K) Ministry Practitioners must always reference their manual, the Bible.      

L) Ministers must be thoroughly equipped with knowledge of the Bible in order for transformational leadership to occur (within ministry). When people are engaged in a way that leaders and members raise others to higher levels of motivation, God is honored and transformational leadership occurs.     

M) Bible study should lead to self-reflection and awareness. Ministers should approach the word by asking first, what does God want to change in themselves. 

N) Effective Bible study will lead to the knowledge necessary to help others fulfill their potential in God by fulfilling the potential of the student.