I’ve been asked frequently about how to study the Bible or how I personally study Gods word. I wanted to take the time in this blog to discuss some of the powerfully effective tools that have fostered my growth. I would recommend getting a study journal that you can frequently record and collect your note taking with. Let me begin with saying before I even attempt to crack this Book of Life open I pray. I pray for the Holy Spirit- our helper. It is GODS spirit that brings scripture to life and revelation from His word.
I prefer to use the KJV, NKJV and NLT Life Application Bible. Sometimes I study by chapter. Sometimes I study by topic. I’m more prone to study by chapter (one a day is a good pace) and typically along these breakdowns:
1. Study the general background & history of the book of the Bible.
Who wrote it? What do you know about the author? Who was it written to and what do you know about these people? When was it written and under what circumstances?
I’ll often time find myself researching into historical resources outside the Bible to see what all was taking place with the culture and people in that time and place. What events took place. What daily life looked like. Who was in power. Doing this really gives a 360 view of all the dynamics taking place as the scripture was written. It puts you in the shoes of their world.
2. Read the passage in context. Understand the theme of the book and list the main subjects discussed.
Read over the chapter in its entirety. The main subjects of that chapter may be something like Redemption, Marriage, Leadership, Overcoming Sin, etc. Identify those. You’d be amazed when you need guidance on something and specific chapters come to memory touching the same exact topic you previously studied. It will help you identify the Bible topically by memory as well. Make use of your journal notes to revert back to.
3. Study the particular passage section by section. Examine each paragraph, verse, phrase, word. Define keywords. Define words using parallel passages, other translation, and dictionaries.
Now this is where we get a bit more in depth. This is breaking it down word by word, verse by verse, paragraph by paragraph and really digesting all thats being stated. Now we dont want to just pick a scripture and run with it because the beautiful thing about the Bible is that it is a book of revelation. We can only really understand the full meaning by ligning it up with other scripture on the same topic. So I suggest finding parallel passages. See what other Bible versions say. Also, define key words or translate key words to see what it orginally meant in its Greek, Hebrew or Aramaic translation. Some words have multiple meanings in its original language and it only helps our understanding to know its full context.
4. Make specific applications to your life.
Now that you’ve broken down the chapter how does this lesson apply to your life? How does it translate into your everyday living? What do you need to change or strengthen? How can you implement it this week, today, right now?! What does that practically look like for you? Write it down! What good is instruction if you only read and not apply.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. -James 1:22-25
Now dont be overwhelmed. This is something I use if I’ve blocked off maybe a good hour or so to just dig into Gods word and specifically for study purposes. There are other times when you just need to read and be filled. But there’s a difference between reading to read and reading to understand.
Some other extra tid-bits I use to enhance my studies and prayer life:
- Putting verse on index cards and reviewing them daily
- Picking one specific chapter and reading it over and over every day for a week to a month straight (You’ll be surprised at the different dynamics & message you’ll get each day)
- Picking a “Verse For The Day”, sticking it up somehwere visible like by my computer, meditating on it throughout the day and committing it to memory
- Color-coating my Bible when highliting (exp: Pink = Gods promises, Yellow = Instruction, Blue = Facts, etc)
- Getting on a Bible Reading plan (sometimes your church has one, Bible apps, etc)
I pray this will be resourceful for you and your studies. My hope is that it will take your reading and understanding to the next level. I’d like to leave you with a couple scriptures regarding the importance of reading Gods Word.
2 Timothy 3:16-17- All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
Joshua 1:8- This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
Love your sister,