Kyle McDonald

About Kyle McDonald

Kyle's Blog
Kyle is the Director of Youth and Young Adults at a church in British Columbia, Canada. He enjoys reading, great coffee, movies and playing a variety of sports including hockey, snowboarding and pickleball.



4 Steps to Help You Study the Bible

Studying the Bible isn’t easy. It takes a lot of work. That might be why a lot of people get their “Bible study” only from church on Sunday. There’s times where we’ve tried to get more out of the Bible but we get lost so we give up. We tell ourselves “it’s too hard” so we just leave the studying to the pastor. But the Bible is for everyone.

We should all be trying to understand and study it for ourselves. Some of us are more studious than others. But whoever you are, you can learn and understand the Bible for yourself. Here is a four step process on how to study the Bible.

(Need to remember it easily? These four steps make an acronym: ROAM )4 Steps to Help You Study the Bible

  1. Read

The first step in studying the Bible is reading a passage. Seems pretty obvious right? It is. But I don’t mean read it just once. I mean read it multiple times. Take your time while you read it. Don’t just try to read through it as fast as you can. Studying the Bible will take time. I recommend reading through the passage at least five times.

You may read that and think that is too many times. But it’s only a lot if you are reading a massive text. When trying to study, I recommend looking at passages in small sections. Our modern Bibles have split up the Bible into chapters with paragraphs and subtitles. Take it a paragraph at a time. Read only one section with a subtitle.

Sometimes you will have to read more because you are looking at a story or a parable with an explanation. That’s okay! It will just take more time for you to study it. Start with what you are comfortable with. That could be a few verses or a whole chapter. Just start reading!

 

  1. Observe

Now that you’ve read your passage at least five times, make some observations. What is written right before this passage? What is written immediately after it? Does the author repeat any words or phrases? Are there transition words like “but” or “therefore?”

Biblical authors use repetition to bring things to our attention. They use Old Testament scriptures to make their point or to expand on what the Old Testament said. These quotations are usually found in you Bibles in all caps or in a different style.

Knowing who the author is writing to and why he is writing to them is important to observe as well. Look at the beginning of chapters or letters to see who the author is addressing.

Are you stuck in your observations? Do you see phrases that seem important but you don’t understand? This is the time to look at commentaries. Now I know we don’t all have the full John Macarthur Commentary set in our libraries but you can find many resources online now. Do a quick google search for commentaries on a certain verse. Biblehub.com has many commentaries on each passage. John Gill and Matthew Henry’s commentaries are free online. CCEL.org has a ton of resources for free. Google is an incredible tool. Use it!

You can also search for sermons on these passages to see what other pastors have said about your passage. Many churches put their sermons online now so they are easy to find. The internet is your best friend for commentaries nowadays. You can also always ask a friend or your pastor for commentaries they may have.

 

  1. Apply

James says, “But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22). Never go to scriptures to just read it because you have to. The Bible should be transforming you. In your study of the Bible, don’t allow it to just be an academic exercise.

Know what it is saying and what you should do with it. How does what you’ve learned affect your everyday living? For example, take the great commission in Matthew 28:18-20. It tells us to “make disciples of all nations.” How are you making disciples right now? Are you supporting missions efforts to see the gospel brought to the world? The Bible should cause us to look at our lives and see how we can honour God.

Does the passage mention a sin you need to forsake? A duty you need to fulfill? An attitude you should have? Always apply what you’ve read and studied.

 

  1. Meditate

The final step is to meditate on what you’ve read. I’m not talking meditate like sitting there and clearing your mind. I mean thinking upon what the passage has said to allow it to stir your affections for Christ. The Bible not only teaches us and shows us ways we need to change. It also causes us to love God more.

The Bible is an endless chasm of wisdom and truth. Be meditating on what you’ve read throughout the day or week. There have been times where I have read passages of scripture and it hasn’t left my mind for weeks. Allow scripture to renew your mind. The Bible is a precious gift from God and it should be on our minds constantly.

So there you have it. Four step to study scripture. It’s a simple process but it is definitely something that takes discipline. If you still find it hard to study on your own then try to study with a friend. It will keep you accountable and will allow you to grow together.

By | 2018-05-16T02:35:44+00:00 May 24th, 2018|

4 Ways to Stay Christian in College

College is a big transition time for everyone. It is usually the first time you are trying to live independently from your parents. They may be helping you pay for school but you are now living in a dorm having to fend for yourself on a day to day basis. With this massive transition it is easy for us to put going to church on the back burner.

There have been many studies done to try and explain the phenomenon that is college students leaving the church. There is a real pressure in college to put your degree and your social life ahead of church attendance. The problem is that college is the time you need the church the most.

4 Ways to Stay Christian in College

With all this pressure, how do you stay Christian in college?

 

  1. Find a Local Church to Attend

When you are looking at what college you are going to apply to you should also be looking at what churches there are around. We can spend weeks researching which college will give us the best experience and education but we then spend mere minutes looking for a church in the area.

When I was deciding what college I would go to for my degree I ended up going to one that was about 20 minutes from my home church. One of the major reasons was because I knew I had a church that I could not only attend but also be a part of. Don’t do a quick google search for churches near your school. Research them. Listen to the pastor’s sermons. Look up what they believe. See what programs they have. If you travel to check out the school for a few days, go to a church service while you’re there.

Being a part of a gospel-centred church in your college years is absolutely vital for your spiritual health.

 

  1. Get Involved

“For the body does not consist of one member but of many” – 1 Corinthians 12:14

Don’t just be a spectator. You are going to spend at least four years at college, you should also be spending those four years as a dedicated, serving member of a local church. When you start attending, introduce yourself to the pastors and ask how you can serve.

You are a member of the body, use your gift.

I know college is a busy time. There is endless amounts of papers and exams. I know from experience that there is always time to serve. It may mean you don’t spend a whole night playing video games with the boys but making an eternal investment in what your church is doing is far better than getting that high score.

Help set up for events. Be a youth leader. Volunteer for kid’s ministry. Serve in the kitchen. There are so many opportunities that really don’t take up a lot of your time.

 

  1. Invite Community

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some” – Hebrews 10:24-25a

This is a tough one for a lot of people. It’s always awkward when you go to a church for the first time. You don’t know anyone. Everyone has their group of friends already. You feel like an outsider. Be intentional about getting to know people. If there’s young adult social or a church prayer meeting, make it a priority to attend. These will help you make connections with people that can lead to long lasting friendships.

Don’t just stick with your own age group either. Try to make connections with people who are older and wiser than you. Invite them to speak godly wisdom into your life. Ask them out for coffee. It’s amazing the conversations that happen over a good cup of coffee.

 

  1. Discipline Yourself

“Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness” – 1 Timothy 4:7

The Christian life isn’t easier and it doesn’t get any easier at college. Whatever stage of life you are in, you must be disciplining yourself to grow in your knowledge and love for God. Being swamped with assignments doesn’t give you a pass on taking time to read your Bible or pray.

Life can get really busy at times in college. You may have to get a little creative to keep up with the spiritual disciplines. Make sure you have a Bible app on your phone so you can pull it out and read a few verses on the bus or before class starts. Download some podcasts that you can listen to while you walk to class. Make prayer a habit by praying before you sleep at night or right when you wake up in the morning. Pray throughout the day.

This is another reason why inviting community is so important. It gives you people that can keep you accountable in your Bible reading and your prayer life. You can even get your friends from home to text you every day to check up on you.

Growing in your relationship with God is the most important thing that you can dedicate yourself to during your college years.

For those of us who aren’t college students, make every effort to look out for those students who are attending your church. Connect them and get to know them. You can make a lasting impact by simply introducing yourself and walking with them through their college years.

By | 2018-04-28T06:42:33+00:00 May 5th, 2018|

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