How to study the Bible


In the United States we've become experts at simplifying the Bible - we pride ourselves on 20 minute sermons, we prefer the message Bible to "better understand" it, and our Christian stores have shelves upon shelves of books to guide our spiritual life and walk us through reading the Scriptures. There is nothing wrong with this, necessarily. It's just that too often we become to dependent on these crutches to lead us through life.

When a lovely reader, Belle, asked me to share how I do my daily Bible study, I agreed, but inside I had my doubts - I'm not a pastor, missionary, or even a youth leader. Neither am I a best-selling Christian author or Christian college trained. Nor do I have a lifetime of experience and wisdom to guide me in answering these questions.

I'm a twenty-something Christian trying to figure out how to live a Godly life full of faith, love and joy - although I may not have all the qualifications of those authors and ministers, I actually have something greater to guide me through my Bible reading - the Holy Spirit.

Now, it's not to say that those authors, speakers and pastors don't know what they're talking about - I know many of them are used by God to share His truth, but I also know a few that are false prophets. So, although these published study guides and other study tools are useful in your Bible study, make sure you're led first and foremost by the Holy Spirit so you can tell the right from the wrong.

How do I do my daily Bible study?

Personally, I read the New King James Version - my Bible doesn't come with any sort of study aids other than a page before each book explaining the concept of the book and the time it was written in - usually no more than 3-4 lines. I am currently trying to read through the entire Bible this year, so I follow a schedule provided by my Bible which has me reading 2-3 chapters out of the Old Testament and a chapter from the New Testament each day.

How to Study the Bible - awesome tips!

How to Study the Bible - awesome tips!

Here are five ways I enhance my Bible study time:


This is an absolute must in Bible study. Every time, before I read my Bible I pray for guidance and understanding. I ask God to open His truths and soften my heart to accept His wisdom with obedience and faith.  Even as I read, if something troubles my heart or I don't understand something, I pray for understanding - sometimes God answers right away, other times He shows me much later through another passage, person or sermon - He knows when you're ready to learn and live something new.

Know the context.

Before you read a passage, make sure you know where it's coming from - was it written before or after Christ came to Earth? Who was it written by? Whom was it written for? Why was it written? During the period it was written in, what else was happening in the world? Many Bibles provide this context in the introduction of each book or in the notes/index at the back. Other times, it helps to research it via the Internet or  other study aids referenced above.

For example, when I was reading Deuteronomy, I learned that it was written as Moses' farewell speech before the tribes entered the Promised Land and wasn't found until 621 B.C. in a temple during the reign of Josiah, sparking a great religious reform. It reviews God's acts of salvation and focuses on how to make old traditions relevant for a new time.

Knowing even this much background, I began to look at it differently - no longer was it a stuffy Old Testament book about people who have long been dead wandering the desert. Instead, it was a way to apply timeless lessons from God to my life today, in the 21st century. The historic events became a fascinating backdrop to beautiful words of promise from God that exist beyond time, traditions and cultures.

Devour the word.

Confession: Some days, I read the Bible just to check it off my list. I may highlight an interesting verse or two, maybe even learn something new, but I don't truly grow in Christ in those moments. The times I learn most from reading Scriptures is when I read every word as if it's God speaking directly to me - treasuring each word and phrase by re-reading passages, highlighting, making notes and above all mulling it over.

Focus your entire attention on what you're reading - put away the phone, computer, food and anything else that could possibly distract you. Find a place in your home and make it your reading nook - the place where your brain automatically knows that it's God time.

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