If you are like me, one of the things you are constantly trying to improve upon is your personal bible study habits. The Bible contains the inspired words of God, (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and the words of eternal life, (John 6:68). The Bible is the stitching which sows together the clothing of the person who has become a new creation in Christ, desiring to clothe themselves with tender mercies, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, (Colossians 3:12). But, how can I most effectively study the Bible? Often, many people will come and ask me questions, such as, “Where should I start in studying my Bible, the Old Testament, or the New Testament? How should I take notes when I study the Bible?” In answering this question, I will employ something I learned as a teacher, and that is, every individual learns differently. The question is not, “How should I study?” rather, “What studying technique will work best for me?” Though we study the same curriculum, we each have our own strengths as a learner and will learn in separate ways. However, I would like to share with you an acrostic, that I recently stumbled upon, which has greatly improved my personal study time, SPECS.
- S: Sins mentioned that I need to forsake. Too many times, people look to the words of life for confirmation of the life they are living, rather than transformation to the life that God desires them to live. When studying the Bible, it can become convenient to skip over sins that are condemned, which might be present in our own life. In our study time, we should open our hearts so that the Bible exposes the hidden things of the heart, rather than sweeping them under the rug. Whether we are committing or supporting the sin, let us forsake the sins mentioned in the Bible.
- P: Promises from God that I can claim. Many non-Christians go to the scriptures and seek to claim divine promises that are exclusively made to the Christian, such as prayer, fellowship, or forgiveness. This is simply a mishandling of scripture and a lack of developing appropriate study habits. As we study and come across promises made by God, let us remember TWO things of note: First, the question, does this promise apply to me? Secondly, God is a keeper of promises, (2 Peter 3:9). It might be the case, if we are skipping the first letter (S) in our study time, that we cannot claim these promises of God.
- E: Examples given that I should follow or not follow. The Bible is a collection of stories, which provide us with individual examples of those who lived faithful or unfaithful lives. Since the Tower of Babylon, (Genesis 10), and the promise made to Abraham, (Genesis 11), the Bible has provided us with one of two alternatives, living our lives our way or living our lives God’s way. The examples of holy writ provide us with guidance, as our free moral agency navigates our lives to live God’s way.
- C: Commands that I should obey. We ought not to look at the Christian life as a life lived by a list of rules which separate us from the world, but rather a life lived in faithfulness because it embodies our love for God and others, (John 14:15). Many desire to wait until others tell them the commands to follow. Could we be committing a sin that we do not know is a sin? Could we be neglecting a Christian responsibility we are not aware of? Let us go to the scriptures and seek to obey the commands that Jesus has given us. After all, we will be judged by His words, (John 12:47-48).
- S: Songs that I can sing throughout the day as I meditate upon God’s Word. I have always been a firm believer that a good sermon is like a good song, it should leave something with you and pull upon your emotions. Whether the passage truly provides us with a song, or with a simple anecdote that can transform our lives, let us take the scriptures with us, into our daily lives, and meditate upon the words of life.
Let us strive to study God’s word in a way that we put on our SPECS to see deep into the recesses of our heart and allow Christ to live in us, (Galatians 2:20).