Want to learn how to study the Bible for yourself? This guide will help! I jumped up out of bed at the sound of my alarm bellowing loudly in the background only to realize yet again I had fallen asleep attempting to study my Bible.
Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methusael. Oh boy, here we go again! Yawning, I rushed through my reading just so I could check it off my list and wondered if there would ever come a day when Bible Study wasn’t such a drag.
On the surface, I found the Bible rather dull and boring. However, as I delved deeper, I discovered that it contains many fascinating themes that ran throughout its pages.
I encountered stories of a wealthy man who realized the emptiness of material possessions, love stories that captivated my heart, and scandalous relationships that left me intrigued.
Yet, what truly resonated with me was the profound knowledge of a loving God and His desires for how I should live my life. I learned about the rewards that await those who remain faithful to Him.
If you’re at a point where you find yourself staring at the Bible on your table, covered in dust, and wondering how to best study the word of God, I can relate. I understand that Bible reading can sometimes feel monotonous, even serving as a remedy for sleep.
I have been there! Friend, if you are a new believer or been apart of the church for forever, I got you! If you desire to unlock the gems of the Bible for yourself reading the old testament or the new testament rather than relying solely on Google searches or your favorite Bible study teacher, then this post is for you.
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Why Study The Bible
John 5:39-40 says:
“You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life.” – John 5:39-40
Spiritual maturity comes through time spent with God. The Bible is God’s instruction to us, by spending time in scripture reading, we come to know God, what he expects of us, as well as what is to come. If we want to fall in love with Christ, we should turn to the scriptures as the scriptures reveal the true character of Christ.
How to Study the Bible for Yourself
I understand how intimidating it can be to study the Bible, especially when you’re unsure of where to begin. How do I study the Bible? It’s a common dilemma that many people face.
The truth is, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach or a strict set of rules to follow. However, there are some helpful guidelines that can enhance your experience and make it more fulfilling. That’s precisely why I’ve put together this blog post, let’s get started with some tips!
Start With Prayer
Before you get started with studying the Bible, I would encourage you to start each Bible Study with prayer and ask God to help you read understand his word. Ask him to help you develop an appetite for this word. Let the holy spirit lead!
Choose A Bible Reading Plan
Figure out what you want your Bible study time time to look like and have your Bible and Bible reading plan handy alongside any other Bible study resources you choose to use. These are my favorite Bible highlighters by the way. A Bible study basket would be great for storing these!
I find that am way more consistent with Bible study when I have a plan for what I will be studying so I know what my daily reading looks like. Without this, I find that my reading is haphazard an inconsistent so this tip just might help you too. Here are some ideas on where to start reading the Bible if you are not sure where to start.
Have a Bible Handy and Gain Cultural Context
I think it goes without saying that you need a Bible to study the Bible. If you are planning on purchasing a Bible, consider a study Bible. Why A Study Bible? A Study Bible helps provide more clarity on the passage that you are reading.
Ever read a text but you are unsure as to its meaning? This is where a study Bible can help and offer its interpretation for moments when you are unsure. A Study Bible helps by providing context, maps or photos and also includes study notes.
A study Bible gives you additional cultural context in terms of what you are reading such as background to the book as well a commentary to help you understand what you are reading.
While a study Bible has its pros, it has its cons. It was written by man after all, scholars who have spent time in study and research. What I don’t want you to do is to become so dependent on the commentary that you become a lazy Bible study student.
We all can study and understand the Bible, not just pastors and I show you how you can understand the Bible for yourself too with the Inductive Bible Study Method, further on in this post.
What I typically do is to use the Inductive Bible Study method during my study and then at the end I read the commentary to see if it aligns with my takeaways. At the beginning of my study, I also like watching The Bible Project videos to get an overview of the book I am reading as well as read the background intros found in my study Bible. The Bible project has video summaries for the entire Bible which is pretty cool!
As a first step to purchasing a Bible, think about the Bible translation you are comfortable reading and can understand. Then purchase a Bible in that translation. You can learn all about choosing Bible translations in this helpful post. I find the language used in the King James Version a bit dated, and hard to relate so I often navigate to the NKJV or the CSB.
What I would suggest, is to use a Bible app such as the YouVersion Bible app and compare different Bible translations. Once you have settled on a version of the Bible that you love, you can then purchase a Bible in that translation.
While not all study Bibles, here are some of my favorite Bibles:
Use Different Bible Study Methods
So far we have looked at some handy resources to have but how does one actually study the Bible? A Bible study method can help! A Bible study method gives you an approach to study the Bible while helping you to walk away with an application. A Bible Study method helps you to get way more from scripture than just mindlessly reading.
There are tons of easy Bible study methods you can follow. I can’t cover them all in this post however I suggest trying the ones you come across until you find the ones you like and love and use those in your Bible study time to help you form a Bible study habit. Here are some Bible study methods you can try along with step by step instructions included on the applicable post. Click the highlighted link to read more.
SOAP Bible Study Method – This method is about reading and then applying it to your everyday life. It is an effective Bible study method for your own personal study. It is only four steps. Write out the scripture, Observe what stands out to you, think about how you can apply what you have read to your personal life and the pray God’s words back to him.
Topical studies is another Bible Study Method you could consider. It is a wonderful option for those wondering how to study the Bible and enjoy it. A topical study allows you to go really in-depth on a particular topic of interest over the course of around a 6-8-week period.
It allows you sufficient time to discuss the topic but not too long of a time span that you become wearied by the topic. Once the 6-8 weeks has ended you will likely feel a sense of accomplishment. Topical study topics could include topics such as: Prophecy or The life and Teachings of Jesus Christ.
Character Bible Study – This is a great way to study characters of the Bible and lessons we can learn from them and apply to our lives. Women of the Bible studies are some of my favorites!
Verse Mapping – This is a verse by verse Bible study method that has you studying small chunks of texts. With this method, you spend time diving into a verse in-depth.
Bible Color Coding – If you love color, this method is for you. As you study pages of scripture, you will highlight various verses in the Bible that corresponds with a particular theme e.g. names of God. Click on the highlighted link to learn more.
Inductive Bible Study – This is an investigative approach to Bible Study where the reader observes the text, they then interpret the text and then close off their study by seeing how the text applies to their life.
Word Studies – This is as the name suggests where you try to gain additional context on a word.
Understanding the Bible
The goal of bible study is to learn more about God and effective bible study methods such as the inductive Bible study method above can most certainly help.
When it comes to understanding the Bible, understanding the storyline of the Bible is a great foundation. How the world was created, how sin entered the world and the plan for redemption / reconciliation. A great way to see this big picture is by reading the entire Bible in its entirety.
The second thing you should be mindful of when studying is the type of literature. Books are written in different styles and should be studied accordingly.
Thirdly, be mindful of context. Don’t just read a verse an interpret its meaning. Read verses before and after, the full chapter or book if possible. It will help with the understanding the passage of scripture that you are reading.
We often take verses out of context because we fail to do this. Bible contradictions don’t exist, its often our interpretation that is flawed. As you study ask the Lord for guidance in understanding what you read.
Here are some additional tools that can help you to further understand the Bible.
Bible Dictionary – Great for word studies and providing the meaning of words you may not fully understand
Bible Atlas – Use a Bible atlas to visually see maps and charts illustrating places mentioned in the Bible. The Rose Book of Charts is my favorite!
Cross References – Read cross references which are other verses that relate to the passage you are studying.
Finally, consult a good commentary to see how it aligns with your interpretation. You may need to consult with your pastor to see his recommendations.
This tip is totally optional. Consider using a Bible Study book as part of your studies. For example, if you are studying Women of the Bible, pairing it with a Women of the Bible study is a great addition as it provides additional context for your readings. The Daily Grace Co has some awesome studies. Here are some other places you can find printable studies as well.
Best Bible Study Tools Online
How to understand the Bible better? When you have trouble reading the Bible, the following are some Bible reading resources for when you have questions about the Bible, wish to memorize scripture or want daily Bible reading plans. Studying the Bible on your own? Here are some practical Tools to consider:
You Version Bible App – This is the Bible study for beginners app I use on my phone. It gives you access to various versions of the Bible as well as the audio versions for some of the translations. I especially like to listen to the audio version during my commute to and from work.
The app also has devotionals and daily inspirational bible art that you can incorporate into your daily devotional time which helps with daily Bible study for beginners. Here are some of my other favorite Bible study apps.
Scripture Typer – I recently discovered this one and hope to incorporate it a bit more in my routine. This is a great app for helping you to memorize your favorite Bible verses. It utilizes 3 cognitive areas (touch, visual and auditory) to help you learn verses.
Got Questions – As you study the bible, you will likely come across hard to understand Bible verses that you don’t understand. You might even be questioning how can I understand the Bible better? For tough theological questions, The Got Questions bible app can help when reading the bible for beginners.
You can browse questions by topic as well as ask questions and have them answered by the community. You can also look to Bible commentary books to help you understand the Bible specifically with those hard to understand Bible verse or a dictionary to better understand what is being said.
You can also try websites such as Bible Gateway, Bible Study Tools, Blue Letter Bible Bible Study Tools, and OpenBible as additional resource tools. This post dives into greater detail some additional Bible study tools and Bible Study apps that you can consider using that I find helpful.
Women of the Word has helped countless women with a clear and concise plan they can use every time they open their Bible. This book will equip you to engage God’s word in a way that trains your mind and transforms your heart. I cannot recommend this book enough, it is a wonderful resource on learning how to study the Bible and one that I refer to regularly.
This post on the best books on how to study the Bible dives into some additional resources you may find helpful.
Bible Study Guide For Beginners
One last arsenal that you want to add to your Bible study supplies is a Bible study notebook or should you choose you can create a Bible Study Binder.
Use your Bible study notebook to keep track of sermons notes as well as your art journals, verses you wish to memorize , or takeaways you had during your personal Bible Study time. This allows you to easily keep track of your readings as well as notes during your personal study time as you learn to study the Bible.
I would also like to encourage you to find community to help keep you accountable in studying the word of God in our daily lives. Bible study is all about discipline. You may not feel like studying but in that moment remember your why. Is your relationship with God more important than anything else in the world? If so, you will aim to prioritize it regardless.
For those that find the Bible boring, here is what has helped me. Do topical studies, studying topics that interest you will help to keep your interest, consider also listening to a dramatized reading of the Bible.
This is how I first read the Bible chronologically and it was a gamechanger for me. It really changed my attitude towards the Bible. Lastly, use what I call the detective Bible study method.
Now, this isn’t an actual Bible study method but it describes perfectly what I do. You don’t need an actual Bible study method, you just need to be curious like a detective. As you read, ask and write down questions you have.
Where is that river located? what does that object look like? Here are some Bible study questions you can ask. As you study and seek out answers to those questions you have, you will quickly realize just how much more rich and vibrant your study becomes.
Try these and come back and let me know how they work for you!
Studying the Bible For Yourself
“By beholding you become changed”.
You become an expert on a topic by studying and spending a lot of time on the subject area. It is the same with the bible, by plugging into the source we develop a deeper personal relationship with the Lord and spiritual growth. My hope is that you have found some helpful tips to use when struggling to read the Bible effectively.
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