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Question: What is the difference between reading and studying the bible?


I believe the best way to answer this question and clarify any confusion that may have arisen
in the past, on topics relating to the subject matter, is to go ahead and talk about the difference
between the following:

1. Reading the Word

2. Studying the Word and
3. Meditating on the Word

Reading the Word

[Formal Acquaintance]

Ephesians 3:3-5

How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few

Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ).

Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed
unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;

1 Timothy 4:13

“Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine”

Reading is the first contact that we have with the bible which is the word of God. When we
read God’s word, we become acquainted with what God is saying concerning His plans for
mankind or you as an individual person. Reading the bible is like meeting a new friend for the
first time, or rather in some cases for the second time – if it is someone you have met before
but only very briefly. After the normal, hi how are you doing? , pleasantries and introduction
of names, you proceed to talk a little bit about yourselves or what you do for a living, etc
before you part ways. Most likely all your discussion at your first meeting is likely to be more
formal than personal, since you don’t really know each other that well.

Reading the word is something similar most times. You get to a scripture like John 3:16 for
the first time, and He says, “my name is John 3:16, and am here to tell you that, “For God so
loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should
not perish, but have everlasting life”, and you say, wow that is great, now I know that God
loves me and He wants to save me and give me eternal life. So now you are acquainted with
God’s redemption plan for man!

The only way you can get to grips with God plan’s for you is to read what He said about you
and the life He has given you, and then you can decide what to do with it. It is very important
that we read the bible as often as we can, but I like to point out that reading God’s word is not
like reading any other book that you have read in the past. The bible is the only books that,
provides you with, God’s blue print for your life, and also transform you into the image of
Jesus Christ who is our Lord and saviour.

Reading the word is something you have to do often, if you want it to become a part of your
life. The more you meet up with someone the more acquainted you become with them and
they are more likely to a part of your life. Job 22:21, says,” Acquaint now thyself with Him
{God through His word}, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee.

Studying The Word

[Informal/Personal Acquaintance]

2 Timothy 2:15

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be
ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”

After you have reached a level of acquaintance with someone, you then make a decision to
get to know that person better on a more personal basis. Studying the word is just the same, it
is the act of interacting with the word on a more personal level. This occurs after you just read
a bible passage or verse of scripture and you then decide you want to know more about what
is saying and how it relates to your life.

Studying the word occurs when you begin research or flip through the bible book after book
or scripture after scripture to establish the truth about what you have just read or have read
before. It is through study that you begin to gain understanding about the things you have
read from the word. Scientists make discoveries mostly when they carry out experiments or
research work. When you study the word and not just read through you begin to encounter
divine truth and make life transforming discoveries! For instance if you want to know God’s
will, concerning your health, you will have to look at scriptures from both the old and new
testaments, i.e.
 Exodus 23:25
 Exodus 15:26
 Isaiah 53:5
 Mathew 9:17
 1 Peter 2:24

Studying the word is an in-depth interaction God through the bible, and it involves giving up
some of your precious time. While reading is like scratching the surface, studying the word, is
like going on a treasure hunt, it s no wonder Colossians 2:3, “In whom are hid all the
treasures of wisdom and knowledge” People that embark on treasure hunts don’t mess about,
they focus on the task ahead. Studying the word is just like that. You have to be fully focused
and know what you are looking for.
God’s Promise to Abraham (Genesis 13:14-15)

And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine
eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and
westward: For all the land which thou SEEST, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever”

God promised Abraham that all that his eyes get to see from the North to the South and from
the West to the East, He will give it to him. I can categorically say to you by the Spirit of
God, that whatever you see through the eyes of faith from Genesis to Malachi and from
Mathew to Revelation, God will give it to you.

Studying the word means to explore the word. In other words God wants you to be a word
explorer, so that you can rightly divided (dissect) the word, and not be tossed to and fro like a
baby by every wind of doctrine.

The Holy Spirit

To explore the word of God, we need the help of the Holy Spirit. He is the author of the Bible
[2 peter 1:21]. He knows where all the kingdom treasures are. Everything that plans to do in
our lives can only be done through the Holy Spirit [Zechariah 4:6]. He is our God ordained
teacher – “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my
name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I
have said unto you” John 14:26

Studying the word can only be a rewarding venture when we acknowledge and submit to the
teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Meditating On the Word

[Intimate Acquaintance]

Joshua 1:8

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt Meditate
therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is
written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt
have good success.

Psalm 1:2-3

But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he Meditate day
and night.

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his
fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall
Meditating on the word is a more intimate interaction with the word than studying. It can be
likened to the relationship between a husband and a wife. It is through meditation that you
become one with the word. Genesis 2:24, says, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and
his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. Meditation involves
you letting go of all human doctrine and philosophies, to cling to the word and become one.

A lot of intimate things take place when a man and a woman spend quality time together.
After you have made discoveries or have received deep revelations from the word, you will
need to spend time to ponder on or think about them one by one, line by line! It is through
meditation that the mind through the help of the Holy Spirit begins to assimilate and digest all
the revelations that you have received or made through your study. So in other words it is
through deep mediation that the mind becomes renewed.

Meditation involves a lot of thinking (deep thoughts) and creating mental pictures
(imaginations) of the word. A man’s life is ruled by his inner most thoughts and the mental
pictures he carries about with him, no wonder the bible has this to say;

 Proverbs 23:7 “For as he Thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to
thee; but his heart is not with thee”

 Genesis 11:6 “And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one
language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them,
which they have imagined to do.

In Acts chapter 10, while Peter was at the house of Simon the tanner’s house, he fell into a
trance and had a vision from God, and Acts 10:19 tells us, “While Peter thought on the vision,
the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. Arise therefore, and get thee down, and
go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.

So this tells us that, after Peter saw the vision, he began to meditate on what he saw, and then
The Holy Spirit began to speak to him and give him specific instructions. This therefore tells
that you encounter the voice through meditation. When you whole becomes anchored and
locked into the word through meditation, it creates an atmosphere for you to the voice of the
Holy Spirit.

Meditation enables you to encounter the Spirit behind the word. Jesus speaking in John 6:63,
said, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto
you, they are spirit, and they are life”

Most importantly, it is important to know that the word is the food of the spirit [Mathew 4:4,
Luke 4:4]. As food is to the physical body so is the word to the regenerated spirit of man. It
therefore means that the word has to eaten and digested just like natural food, if it going to
benefit it and be part of your life.
Take a look at following scripture:

Jeremiah 15:16
“Thy words were found, and I did EAT them; and thy word was unto me the joy
and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of

It is meditation that enables you to eat the word. Therefore meditation can be defined as,
“digesting and assimilating the word of God”