How to develop a system for lifelong Bible study - Denison Forum

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How to develop a system for lifelong Bible study

July 27, 2019 - Jim Denison, PhD

The King James Version of the Bible has 3,566,480 letters, 733,746 words, 31,163 verses, and 1,189 chapters.

The longest chapter of the Bible is Psalm 119. The shortest is Psalm 117. The middle verse of the Bible is Psalm 118:8.

The longest word in the Bible is Mahershalalhashbaz (Isaiah 8:1, 3). The shortest is the word and, found some 46,227 times in Scripture.

The longest verse is Esther 8:9. The shortest is John 11:35.

And every letter of the alphabet is found in Ezra 7:21 (KJV).

So what?

These are facts about God’s word, but knowing these facts won’t change your life. However, through the daily reading of your Bible, God can change your life.

In this article, we’ll discuss three simple guidelines for daily Bible study. Apply these to your life and your commitment to Christ and his word.

1. Determine a strategy for Bible reading.

Consider a one-month or three-month method for reading the New Testament, or a plan for reading the entire Bible in a year. Choose these or some other method, but determine to study God’s word systematically.

2. Identify a time and place to meet God in his word.

I believe that the best time to do this is as the day begins, following the example of Jesus: “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (Mark 1:35). You wouldn’t run and then warm up, or drive the car and then fill the tank with gas. Start the day with God in his word.

Set aside a place and time where there will be no distractions. For instance, I cannot do personal Bible study very well at my office, as I am surrounded by the work of the day. I need a place where I do this and nothing else.

3. Ask God to use his word to change your life each day.

An old rabbi was walking down the village street.

A member of his synagogue walked up to him, boasting loudly that he had read all the volumes of the Talmud three times.

The rabbi replied, “The important thing is not how many times you have been through the Talmud, but whether the Talmud has been through you.”

The Buddhists have a saying, “To know and not to use, is not yet to know.”


Thomas à Kempis (died 1471) was a scholar and copyist. He copied the entire Bible four times, one of which exists in a museum today in five volumes.

His walk with the Lord was close, vibrant, and intimate. His best-known work, The Imitation of Christ, is one of the most significant volumes of devotional literature in Christian history.

Let’s make his prayer ours:

Let not thy Word, O Lord, become a judgment on us,
That we hear it and do it not,
That we know it and love it not,
That we believe it and obey it not.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are from the ESV®️ Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®️), copyright ©️ 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The ESV text may not be quoted in any publication made available to the public by a Creative Commons license. The ESV may not be translated in whole or in part into any other language.

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