We have had some great Bible study during our most recent church-wide study, most of which focused on short passages or individual verses. When you do so you can take great time to linger in that passage and pour over every detail. But that shouldn’t be the only method of study.
When we take the Bible a tiny chunk here or a verse there, we can at times miss the greater context of the passage. We need to be able to see the forest from the trees. We will better understand the flood by reading about creation. We better understand the building drama and tension of John when we read it start to finish.
Friend of our church, Dusty Ellington, posted some tips about reading the Bible that I would encourage you to take a look at, and his first step is this:
Read through the book in its entirety, seeking to understand it as a whole and trying to follow the line of thought. As you read the whole book, be aware if you see things you haven’t noticed before or if you recognize parts that may not have been emphasized in your prior exposure to the book. Also, does reading the whole give you have a sense of the basic structure of the book?
It is a good reminder to couple slow, meditative reading of small selections with the sort of reading that helps us to build up the big picture of each book and the big picture of God’s love for us.