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Part 1 - STAR Bible Study Method
STAR BIBLE STUDY METHOD
Before starting to read the Word it is important to remember that you are not just reading a magazine, blog article or novel ... you are reading the Word of God! This means that there is a spiritual element to this and therefore prayer needs to accompany reading.
First, we need prayer to keep us focused. Ever notice how you can focus on reading a lot of other things but as soon as you pick up your Bible, your mind is distracted? It is a spiritual battle where Satan and your flesh do not want you to be in the Word and will do whatever it takes to keep you out of it. Secondly, we pray because we know that the Spirit will guide us into all truth (John 16:13) and that the Spirit is the author of the Bible so it's best to ask the author to help us understand and apply what He wrote. So begin with prayer ... even a simple prayer asking the Spirit to lead and guide and help you concentrate. If you find yourself distracted or confused, stop and pray!
After some time in prayer it's time to open up the Word and begin ... but where do you begin?! This is where a reading program is helpful (we have some on our website) or picking a book of the Bible and working through the whole book (rather than just randomly opening it up and seeing where you land). If you're stuck on where to begin pick a small book like James or Philippians or 1 Peter.
Here is the simple STAR method to help guide you as you read:
S – Scripture
Read a passage of Scripture. It might be a chapter, a paragraph or just a few verses. Write out or underline the verses or phrases that stood out to you from your reading. You can write them word for word or in your own words.
T – Truth
What is the principle or theme of the verse(s)? Many times this might be a phrase or word that is repeated or it is a thought that stands out as you read. Is the Spirit highlighting a theme in the verses? What does it say about who God is? (remember that the Bible is God's revelation ... revealing Himself)
A – Application
How does this truth apply to my life and my circumstances? Is it calling me to action? If so describe.
R – Response
Talk or write to God about what he is teaching you. This could involve confession, praise, commitment, request, etc. This keeps your time in the Word a two-way conversation. It is sometimes easy to stop at knowledge and not move into response.
· If you run into some things that are difficult to understand then get your hands on a good Study Bible or grab a commentary on the book you are reading (you can find many of these study tools free online at places like biblegateway.com, biblestudytools.com or biblos.com).
· You might also find it helpful to share with someone what you are learning ... it will be an encouragement to the person who hears it, can be a great spiritual conversation starter, and may spur you on to even deep understanding and commitment. Husbands and wives can study in different places in the Word and yet talking about what you are learning is a great way to have it be more cemented in your heart (and a great way to have deep, meaningful chats with your spouse!).
· Doing a STAR type approach can be a great way to track what God has been teaching you ... you may begin to recognize themes or look back and see how God brought you through a trial and maybe even prepared you for it. Over time if you write these out in a journal it can become a great record of your journey with Christ.