This year, I am studying the Bible with a fresh, new approach. I’m reading the Bible in chronological order of book authorship. It’s easy to study the Bible using this Bible Reading Itinerary.
This Bible study method is different from reading the Bible in chronological order. That’s a great way to read it as well. I’ve also found that listening to the Bible in an audio version is helpful while I’m reading.
I’m an audible learner, so this approach has been a tremendous help when it comes to comprehending what I read in the Bible.
How to Study The Bible
Let’s talk about 3 different Bible study tools that will help you study the Bible.
1. The First Bible Study Tool is Prayer
It’s important that we talk to God before we dive into His Word. Did you know God’s Word (the Bible) is His love letter to us?
When we are studying the Bible, it’s not like God is shouting at us with a megaphone. It’s more like we are carrying on a conversation with Him. So, before you even turn a single page of His Word, start that conversation with a prayer.
How should we pray before we study the Bible?
First, thank Him that we even have His Word. It’s such a huge privilege to be able to hold a copy of the Bible in our hands or have a Bible app on our cellphones. It’s not that way everywhere in the world.
I think we sometimes forget that fact. We take for granted the many copies we have laying around our homes and the freedom we have. We’re even able to read His Word from an app on our phone or listen to the audible version while commuting to work. Let’s thank Him for His Word.
Second, pray for wisdom that we can read and comprehend what He wants us to know in our Bible study. Some parts of the Bible are difficult to understand and we need wisdom. We also have to be careful about taking passages out of context. At the same time, we need to understand how to compare Scripture with Scripture. We need His wisdom!
Make prayer a daily habit before Bible study. There might be times when you really need guidance—we’ve all been there, you’re not alone. Pray that God will provide the guidance you need through His Word.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve needed guidance for a situation and God has led me to the exact passage I need that day! Maybe you’re a busy mom with a bunch of precious kiddos—you need refreshment and quiet time with God today. If that’s where you are, pray for that refreshment and quiet time.
2. The Second Bible Study Tool is to Read God’s Word
When we read God’s Word, we need to remember 2 Timothy 3:16. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training…” I’ve heard so many people, recently, talk about the Old Testament not being relevant to our lives today.
Some of these people are prominent in Christian circles. You would most likely recognize their names if I were to mention them, but I won’t.
There are many Bible study topics to choose from. Choosing a topic that interests you is a great way to get started when you are learning how to study the Bible. You can choose Bible topics about marriage, anxiety, family, money, stress or specific passages that you want to study more in-depth.
Every part of the Bible is relevant, and always will be.
Some people think that reading a Bible verse or two is enough. Or, that just opening the Bible and starting to read it is a good way to study. It may be better than nothing, right? But it’s not the best way to study the Bible.
Reading a few verses out of the context around them can distort the interpretation. The true meaning of that Scripture may then be difficult, at best, to grasp. We called this “taking verses out of context.” We need to be able to understand where the author is coming from to get the full scope of each verse.
You wouldn’t pick up a copy of Robinson Crusoe, read a few sentences, and pretend to understand the context. This is one reason I love studying the Bible through from cover to cover. It’s an amazing experience! Readers see the plan of salvation unfold from “In the beginning…” in Genesis to “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all.” in Revelation.
What if I showed you a piece of a jigsaw puzzle and asked you to tell me what picture it makes. That one piece is never going to give you the total picture. It’s the same with God’s Word. The Bible is complex and it needs to be read and understood as a whole. Reading only one or two verses of a chapter will most likely not give you the full context of that passage.
When we study the Bible, we need to read it with the big picture in mind.
It’s not possible to pick out one chapter or a few verses and understand what the whole book means. We can’t tell what a puzzle is supposed to be by only looking at one piece.
I encourage you to read difficult to understand passage over a few times. I often have to do this. Sometimes we read something and don’t quite understand it the first time. Much of the Bible is easily understood but other parts are complex and demand a closer look.
Sometimes, I read complex passages many times before grasping their understanding. As I wrote earlier, listening to the audio while reading helps my comprehension. If you read something you don’t understand, read it again before moving on. Pay special attention to the complex things that don’t quite make sense, and then go back and read them again.
Free Online Bible Study
Here are the Bible reading apps I use and my favorite places for online Bible study.
My favorite places for online Bible study:
· Read through the Bible in a year—from Genesis to Revelation or in chronological order
· Read an entire book in one sitting—great for days when I have a little more time
· Read a chapter a day for a month—Proverbs has 31 chapters
· Study by topic or subject matter—like faith in Hebrews 11
· Study the story of Jesus from the Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
· Study about the early Christians and church—Acts
I can’t leave this section without saying something about memorization. Especially since I just mentioned Hebrews 11. When I was in the third grade our entire class memorized Hebrews 11.
I can still recite much of that today. It has had such a huge impact on my life. Chapter 10 of my book, The Heart That Heals, is devoted to practical application. There’s an entire section in this chapter about memorizing Scripture. It’s that important!
If you can recall bits of memorized Scripture as you need them, you will find hope when you need it. You’ll find peace in the midst of chaos. I want to encourage you to find one verse a week from your Bible study and commit that verse to memory.
Do it together as a family. Write it on a sticky note. Post it on your bathroom mirror, or in your car, on your fridge, wherever you will see it most often. Every time you see the posted note, read the verse until you have it memorized. I promise you, friend, developing this one habit will change your life!
3. The Third Bible Study Tool is to Ask
When we study the Bible, we need to ask some questions. Here are a couple of questions I like to ask as I’m reading:
- What does this passage mean?
- How does it apply to my daily life?
Chances are, there are going to be things we don’t understand. God’s Word is filled with difficult passages. But rarely do I read in my daily Bible reading and not come away with something God wants to teach me that day.
When we do come to those difficult passages, and we don’t understand, it’s important to seek out the answers. It’s ok to ask questions. We’re not all Bible scholars and we didn’t all go to seminary. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and above all, ask God to give you the wisdom to understand His Word. Wisdom and understanding, two things we could all use more of!
“Blessed is the one who finds wisdom and the one who gets understanding. For the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed.” (Proverbs 3:13-18)
The Bible is not just a bunch of words. The Bible is God’s Words.
It’s His love letter to you and me. It’s a roadmap for our lives. It was written by men and inspired by the God of the universe. The very One who created us and loved us enough to die the cross of Calvary wrote this love letter to us. To know and fully understand Who God is we need to study His Word deeply.
I hope I’ve encouraged you by sharing how to study the Bible. I pray that you desire to commit to studying the Bible regularly, on a daily basis. When you do, remember our 3 tools for studying the Bible – pray, read, and ask.
Patsy is a wife, mother of four, and grandmother. She is a Christian lifestyle blogger and content manager at InstaEncouragements with a heart for encouraging women to grow in and share their knowledge and love of Jesus Christ. She drinks more coffee and eats more dark chocolate than the average person. Patsy lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and Ellie the cat.