The Seven Levels of Bible Study

Reaching the next level

Justin Kim
The Seven Levels of Bible Study
Photo by Fa Barboza on Unsplash

Any aficionado will tell you that there are various levels of appreciation for any art. Whether book enthusiasts smelling paper, coin collectors biting metal, or food fanatics studying the geographical origin of a specific ingredient, art takes an activity to the next level of appreciation. As the people of the book, shouldn’t Seventh-day Adventists appreciate Bible study at the next level? Here are seven ways of reaching that next level:

Listen. For a while, audio was on its way out. But now, in an era of audiobooks and podcasts, the art of listening is more popular than ever. Hearing the Word points back to the ancient days when Scripture was read out loud to the masses. Listening requires time, interaction with the voice, and a patient stillness to process what has been heard. Find a good-quality recording—and listen, as in really listen, to it.

Read. In our busy schedules, reading requires commitment and discipline to take time to read, silently or out loud, a portion daily. One can vary the styles of reading: quick speed reading, slow reading out loud, scanning, reflective prayer reading, or reading while underlining/highlighting. With the variety of Bible translations, try reading a different version each year or so.

Write. Employed by the ancient scribes, writing out Bible verses deepens the meaning when the hand transcribes each word. In an age of touchscreens, writing has become a rare art. But when applied to Scripture, it reawakens this spiritual discipline and semi-mimics what the original authors experienced. Get a good journal and create a handwritten version of your favorite book of the Bible.

Understand. Without this keystone habit, everything else is fruitless. Understanding entails studying, observing, comparing, contrasting, outlining, organizing, analyzing, and inquiring on the patterns of thought in Scripture. But most of all, it requires the Holy Spirit to provide the blessing of interpreting what He has inspired.

Memorize. Many, as adults, lose this art. But memorizing is most needed and beneficial to those who have weakened memories. Memorizing Scripture strengthens the heart and sharpens the mind. Jesus learned large portions of the Old Testament and encouraged us to claim His promises in the spiritual battle for our souls.

Meditate. Whereas Eastern religions seek to empty the mind, the Bible teaches us to fill the mind. Meditating takes one verse (memorized) and repeats it while placing emphasis on a different word each time. This way, one experiences the full meaning of the verse by highlighting each word.

Apply. What use are all the above without real application to our lives? Truly God’s Word can be made efficacious only by the power of the Holy Spirit. May the Living Word give us the enthusiasm and eagerness to take our journeys with the Written Word to the next level.

Justin Kim