Seven Steps to Successful Study
Willie Mays once said, "In order to excel, you must be completely dedicated to your chosen sport. You must also be prepared to work hard...without one-hundred percent dedication, you won't be able to do this."
When you set down to read a passage of scripture you must sit down with an attitude of dedication and diligence. A necessary ingredient in reading and understanding the bible is rock-hard commitment.
You cannot read the bible willy-nilly. Reading cannot be without great effort. In order to understand the bible you must be absolutely, completely, and totally dedicated to the desire to extract meaning from the passage that you have chosen.
The bible is a living thing. Hebrews 4:12 reads:
"For the Word of God [the bible] is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and the intents of the heart." (Hebrews 12:4, NKJV)
Also, the Holy Spirit is your partner in the understanding of the bible. J. P. Moreland wrote in his book, Love Your God with all Your Mind,
"Because of the Bible’s nature, serious study is needed to grasp what it says. Of course, the Scripture contains easily grasped portions that are fairly straightforward. But some of it is very difficult, intellectually speaking. In fact, Peter once said that some of Paul’s writings were intellectually challenging, hard to understand, and easily distorted by untaught (that is, uneducated in Christian theology) and unstable people (2 Peter 3:16). Anyone who has tried to grasp the theological depths of Romans or Ephesians will say “Amen!” to that. The more a person develops the mind and the understanding of hermeneutics (the science of interpreting the Scriptures), the more he or she will be able to understand the meaning and significance of the Scriptures.
Because the bible is a living thing and the Holy Spirit is your partner, you absolutely necessary partner, you must approach the reading of Scripture sedulously, or with great dedication and diligence.
Rarely will a miner or prospector walk across seemingly impossible ground and step on a valuable nugget of gold. The gold is usually found after hard, back-breaking and dedicated effort to find a nugget.
Rarely will one find a "nugget" of scripture on the surface. Most are buried deep in the passage. Dedication to the task of reading is necessary to endure the hard work required to extract the payoff of meaning.
So, read slowly, read sedulously!