There are many great techniques for studying the bible, but there are somethings that are even more important that must come first if we are to get the most out of our bible reading. You can have the best procedures when it comes to bible hermeneutics, but unless you have the following points in order, the profitability of your reading will be greatly hindered.
The first thing all students of the bible must have is spiritual life in Christ. Only when we are born spiritually can we understand the deepest parts of God’s word. And only then do we have the power of God’s Spirit to actually obey what we read. In 1 Corinthians we read:
But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. – 1 Cor 2:14
Although the natural man can know what the bible says, the deep treasures of grace and wisdom are concealed to him.
It doesn’t matter how well we know our English, Greek or Hebrew language, unless we are connected to the Divine author we will lack the ability to fully grasp what we read. Only with the help of the Holy Spirit are we able to profit from the scriptures.
God has revealed this word to us so we can be equipped for every good work. We read in 2 Timothy:
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. – 2 Tim 3:16-17
Having the Spirit of God is more profitable than knowing the original languages. Though knowing the original languages is great, one who has the Spirit of God and the scriptures in his own language will profit more than the one who knows all the languages but does not have the Holy Spirit.
This applies also to those teaching the scriptures. It would make no sense having an unregenerate person teach the scriptures as he lacks spiritual understanding which comes by the Holy Spirit. It would make as much sense to have an unregenerate person teach the bible as it would to have a person who only had a technical knowledge of paint teach an art class. An aesthetic sense is required to teach an art class, and likewise a spiritual sense is required to accurately teach the bible.
Part two will be on getting your hands dirty.