RDRD BIBLE STUDY
How To Study The Bible Effectively
What is RDRD?
RDRD is short for Rightly Dividing, Rightly Dividing.
In 2 Timothy, believed by most scholars to be Paul’s last letter, the apostle exhorts his young companion in the Gospel:
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15, KJV
Rightly. Rightly dividing the word of Truth.
The ESV translation, which RDRD Bible Study uses unless otherwise indicated, translates the word for “rightly dividing” as “rightly handling.” I prefer the rendering of “rightly dividing” because it epitomizes the meaning of the original Greek word. Basically, this word means to clear an overgrown path so that people see a clear path to the destination. To understand this powerful term more clearly, read “What Did Paul Mean by Rightly Dividing?”
The Timeless and Timely Truth of Scripture
In the world today it is even more important to rightly divide the word of truth. The following quote which appeared in one of Beeson Divinity School’s brochures, succinctly captures why rightly dividing the Word of Truth is so important:
We’re committed to helping followers of Jesus engage a culture increasingly at odds with the timeless and timely truth of Scripture.
For those who have been called to preach, teach, lead, blog, write, share, live, whatever, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it is important that we learn skills that will help us in the endeavor of rightly dividing. Therefore, rightly dividing skills for rightly dividing the word of truth–Rightly Dividing, Rightly Dividing, or RDRD for short.
RDRD Bible Study Mission
The mission of RDRD Bible Study is to provide Biblical study and research tips, techniques, methods, and know-how, across multiple theological disciplines. Posts can be read in a short amount of time while building bible study skills for a lifetime.
How RDRD Carries Out Its Mission
Have you ever expressed the desire to know the Bible as well as your pastor, a popular Bible teacher, or a theological professor? These people spend plenty of time reading and studying God’s Word, but they also know HOW to study the Bible.
Certainly the two most important aspects of Bible study are prayer and the work of the Holy Spirit in helping Christians to understand the Bible. God can reveal knowledge of the Word to anyone. Still it is important that we sow seeds of study. Paul himself, was a devout student of the Hebrew Scriptures, and based on his own writings, it is obvious he spent much time in study and preparation for proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
A huge difference exists between Bible study know-how and Bible study
Bible study normally focuses on a book or topic (and these are beneficial and important whether done alone or in community). Bible study know-how, on the other hand, applies to all books, all topics, all of Scripture.
- Becoming familiar with bible study concepts is the path to studying the Bible effectively. Historical context, theological context, words in the original languages, hermeneutics, exegetical tasks, etc., all can expand your knowledge of every Biblical passage.
- Word studies in the original language give precision to the meaning of the text. A lot of word study books, or original language dictionaries, cover the meaning of the word throughout Scripture. RDRD takes a somewhat different approach in that word studies will be done in context. This doesn’t mean they will not apply in other places in Scipture, but it means RDRD works by the principle that words have meaning in sentences which have meaning in paragraphs—context.
- Becoming familiar with significant persons, events, and dates in Christian history breeds understanding of how people in various times interpreted and applied Scripture. It also brings to life historical events that took place because of the understanding of Scripture, or because of an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, i.e. the Reformation, the founding of America, the rise of Methodism. Understanding how multiple generation(s) understood God and lived out the Word in response, increases your understanding exponentially. I can’t explain why, but trust me.
- Becoming familiar with various translations of the Bible will greatly accelerate your understanding of the Word. For example, what is the Septuagint? And why are there so many Bible translations?
- Becoming familiar with geographical settings helps Scripture to come alive. Feeding your imagination with the topography and location of Biblical locations helps you to place yourself in Scripture as you observe and walk with the Biblical characters.
- Becoming familiar with the multiple disciplines of theological study is important for overall Bible study know-how. These posts will cover subjects related to Bible study and research, such as systematic theology, practical information on commentaries, the use of OT quotes in the NT and much more. Oh, and my very favorite—biblical theology.
- Sometimes RDRD posts describe a method to use in Bible Study, sometimes a concept that is important to know, etc.
- Each RDRD post is intentional and intended to provide information for immediate practical use and/or background knowledge.
Learn to Study the Bible Effectively
Learning how to study the Bible using concepts that can be applied to all Bible study comes with a pleasant surprise. After you start using these concepts, techniques, etc., you will eventually notice that your mind automatically takes genre into consideration, ponders questions related the historical context, considers theological categories, or recognizes repeating patterns in Christian history, and so much more, as seen through the lens of Scripture.
Even when you are reading devotionally, or hearing a passage read in church, this mindset kicks in. It is not distracting at all, but in fact helps you to listen more closely. Consider it a gift of the Holy Spirit who instructs us in the Word. (Amen!)
If you are hungering to go deeper in the word, to learn HOW to study the Bible, then RDRD Bible Study is for you. Posts will help you:
- To study the Bible effectively
- To gain precision in the interpretation (exegesis) of God’s Word.
- To rightly divide the word of truth.
- To effectively defend the Christian faith
- To effectively state the reason—in season and out—why you believe in Jesus Christ
- To boldly and confidently proclaim the Bible’s teaching and apply it to contemporary life
God honors the desire to rightly divide His Word. In fact, He has given us His Holy Spirit to illuminate our minds, to give us insight, understanding, and wisdom in all things.