There are so many ways and opinions on how to study the Bible, and in my opinion, as long as you’re studying it, you’re doing it right. When I first started studying the Bible in November of 2013, I didn’t know where to start, what to read, or how to study. I decided to start in the book of Proverbs, reading a chapter every day of the month (because there are 31 chapters)! Proverbs is full of ‘fortune cookie’ wisdom, little nuggets of insight on how to live a better life. If you feel compelled to start like I did with the Proverbs, by all means do. I think an even better place to start is with one of the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. These are all first-hand accounts of the life of Jesus, written by His closest friends. Regardless of where you start reading/studying, I can promise that you will be blessed. God’s Word is powerful. So powerful that He spoke, and the world came into existence. Expect nothing less from reading God’s Word.
I want to share with you a method that I recently implemented into my own life, that I think helps us dive deeper into our understanding of God’s Word. This method has 7 steps which include some questions to ask to help you THINK while you read. I encourage you to start a notebook or journal with this study method, I have found it to be very helpful.
So lets get started:
Before opening your Bible, I encourage you to pray. Ask God to show you what He has for you today. Invite the Holy Spirit to be present, to open your mind and to help you understand. We all need guidance when reading the Bible because at times we will come across concepts and ideas that are new, and at times those things will clash with how we like to do things. We need God to transform us, and while reading the Word is part of that transformation, opening our hearts in prayer is vital to the process.
1.5. Choose a passage of Scripture.
Anywhere from 1-10 verses is usually a good start. Since we are reading to understand, quality is more important than quantity. Context is key, so if you come across a confusing verse, be sure to include the verses before and after it to see the whole picture.
2. Read the Word as though you are listening to the voice of God. Read mindfully.
The Bible is inspired by God. He put the words in the writers’ minds. When we read it, God’s thought is made audible. If its possible, I encourage you to read aloud, at least the first time through. When we read aloud, our minds engage, we are able to focus better, and our reading and listening skills improve.
3. What is the verse/passage saying?
Think critically here. This is more than a summary. Think about why its in the Bible. What does it mean?
4. What is the verse/passage saying to me?
Personally apply it to yourself. What does the passage say about you? Is it telling you to pay special attention to something?
5. Is this verse/passage exposing a sin in my life?
Does this passage speak to your conscience? Is there something you are struggling with that relates to this passage? Is there something you need to confess and repent of?
6. Is this verse/passage showing me a duty I need to perform?
What higher standard is this passage calling me to? How can I implement the practicality of this passage into my life?
7. How can I use this verse to encourage someone else?
What kind of context would this passage be helpful to remember in?
BONUS: My Prayer Today…
Write out a prayer that specifically relates to this passage. Think about the questions you answered about the passage and ask God to help you apply the knowledge and insight you gained into your life today.
Most importantly, DON’T GIVE UP! When the reading gets tough; those days when it seems tedious and boring, are the days that we need to recommit our focus to God. Those are the days we need His presence the most. I can share example after example of how God uses His Word to transform me, how I have been changed and how I am still growing.
I hope you find this 7 step method inspiring and helpful in your own journey, try it out and let me know what you think! If you have any questions please ask in the box below.
May the God of grace fill your heart with a desire to grow in your knowledge and understanding of Him.