Below is an essay I submitted to Logos Bible Software in honor of National Bible week you could read it below or read it at the Logos dedicated link here.
Bible study must be saturated with prayer. “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God” (I Corinthians 2:12). We have received the Holy Spirit so that we can understand Scripture, which God freely gave us. The natural man cannot understand these things because “they are they are spiritually discerned” (I Corinthians 2:14). “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication” (Ephesians 6:16-18a). The sword of the spirit must be wielded “with all prayer and supplication.” One cannot properly understand the word of God except through “praying at all times in the spirit.” Bible study must begin with, persist in, and result in prayer only then can we properly understand scripture.
Bible study seeks God’s intended meaning. “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (II Timothy 2:15). Whether in the pulpit or in personal Bible study Scripture must be handled correctly. One who improperly handles God’s word is an unproved workman who has reason to be ashamed before God. We live in an age that has declared the death of the author, where what a text means to the reader is paramount, an age where men have accumulated “for themselves teachers to suit their own passions” (II Timothy 4:3). Fallible man has misused infallible Scripture to propagate false teachings that spread like cancer and cause many to make shipwreck of their faith. The author is not dead and meaning within a text, specifically scripture, is determined by the author and not the reader. Scripture is objectively true and its meaning never changes. Proper Bible study is study that seeks God’s original meaning.
Bible study requires diligence. “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (II Timothy 2:15). The study, and subsequently the proper handling, of God’s word requires your best effort. Understanding Scripture comes from the guiding of the Holy Spirit, through prayer, and yet it necessitates personal exertion. A workman approved by God, “who has no need to be ashamed,” who rightly handles the word of truth is one who engages in persistent and diligent Bible study.
Bible study results in obedience. “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22). Scripture exists to be done, not merely read. The Sovereign God of the universe has spoken and He demands your obedience. Bible study that does not result in obedience is self-deception and shows contempt for the riches of God’s kindness and patience which stores “up wrath for [you] on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed” (Romans 2:4-5). Bible study that is saturated in prayer, and diligently seeks God’s intended meaning always results in obedience.