There’s a good chance you are familiar with the verse from the book of Hebrews that says, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). Our Bible study method for this week uses that imagery, of God’s Word being a sword, to present what you could call an “entry level” approach to understanding God’s Word and applying it to our own lives in practical ways.
What is it?
The SWORD method of Bible study is very simple and basic approach in its approach. It is a great way to help a beginner getting started with their Bible to develop a routine that prioritizes Christ without overburdening them with all kinds of extras. This method has the visual of a sword (hence the name) to help readers keep in mind a set of questions to ask themselves as they read the Bible each day.
The questions are:
1) What does this passage teach us about God?
2) What does this passage teach us about Man?
3) Are we given an example to follow?
4) Does God specify a sin to avoid?
This method works well for studying a small passage, an entire chapter, or even doing a chapter-by-chapter study of a whole book.
Guidance for beginning:
Personally, I like to include a brief overview of the book before I begin reading with my questions in mind. For example, in this study of the book of Nahum, one of the minor prophets, I’ve included the audience of the book, information about the author, the time it was written, the purpose of the writing, and whatever other information is pertinent to understanding the background of what I’m reading. Then, as I read, I take one chapter at a time and focus on the questions as I read slowly.
It really is as simple as that! But keep in mind, this is not an approach that we can rush through; just because it is simple, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve our full attention. If we rush, we may find that we won’t get a whole lot out of the exercise.
For this method, it would be great to have a journal or a journaling Bible with space to write to make these observations, where you are able to come back to them later. Meeting with a partner with whom you can discuss what you are learning is also a great way to do this method, making it excellent for a discipler/disciple relationship. Keep in mind that the discipler/disciple relationship can and should include your children, too (if you have them)! This method of Bible study is very kid-friendly.
You do not need a university degree, an off-the-charts IQ, or a grocery list of academic achievements to study and understand God’s Word. Finding a method that is practical and easy for you to grasp is very helpful, and having a few resources handy definitely does not hurt. However, above all, if you start with a teachable heart and make God’s Word your top priority, anything can happen from there!
“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the LORD…” (Jeremiah 29:14).