How to Study the Bible
Studying the bible can seem very intimidating because of how long the bible is or because of the different translations to choose from. It says in Matthew 4:4, “Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” There are many ways that bible study can be done, and here is one way that you can use to help you on your faith journey.
Scripture: II Timothy 2:15 (NLT*)
Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive His approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.
Bible study is a great way to become more familiar with the word of God. Some familiar bible study ideas are scripture memorization, theme, paragraph summarization, bible study guides, and bible study tools. These are some of the methods. You will want to include at least three main parts in every bible study: observation, interpretation, and application.
You want to know what you are looking at as it relates to what is being discussed, its imagery, who is speaking, and what they are speaking about. You might even be able to say why they are discussing the subject. Your observations will help you with this knowledge. You gain these observations by using different versions of the bible and different scriptures on the same topic to observe the structure, emphasis, and how repetition is used to make a point of the importance of the subject.
Interpretation will give you a more complete understanding of the scripture you encounter. It will also give you a good opportunity to see what the bible says about itself. The Bible has a built-in interpreter in the form of scripture discussing itself. It gives directions for so many different things for example how forgiveness works, how to give alms, how to repent, how to pray, and the list goes on and on. You will not necessarily find the instructions in one place, so you must look up scripture by subject to get a full understanding of the instructions and a complete interpretation.
Finally, you want to apply what you have studied. Your ability to apply what you have learned will come after you understand what the Bible says about you, what you need to do, and how to accomplish the goal. Your application of what you have learned will mean that you have begun to incorporate the instruction, direction, correction, lesson ideas, and God’s way and plan of living into your life. The application gives you a new behavior, mindset, and practice of doing life as God says it is to be done. It also gives you the experience you need to see how God’s way of doing life is more beneficial and so much better than ours. Prayer and a heart to see Jesus’ examples of responding to people versus our own will give us the motivation we need to apply HIS instruction and the example of righteous living HE gives to our own experience.
The use of these three aspects of bible study will give you a more focused bible study and cause you to see a change in your life and your thinking.
A good reason to begin a personal bible study is that you begin to ask the question; What does the bible say about that? When you are concerned about that, your personal bible study will begin and you will want to consider these things for a personal or any other type of bible study.
1. Make sure you have decided what method of study you are going to use. Will you be studying a person, a subject, an event, or a place? You can combine these or come up with your own.
2. Once you decide you have a focus for your study, make sure you give some thought to your purpose for the study. Is it for personal research, for a Sunday school lesson, or for an answer to a question someone asked you?
3. You will always want to pray before you study the bible. Your prayer will guide your understanding of, your knowledge of, and your familiarity with the topic of your study. You will also want to pray about how to incorporate what the bible says to do in different situations in your life because the bible calls for us to live God’s way and we need HIS help to do that.
4. Your study tools will be a concordance, a bible dictionary (for a variety of words that will possibly arise that need some clarification), and a few versions of the bible. Many bible apps are available. clarification of the verse by using different translations to bring out the meaning of words and thoughts that might otherwise not be as clear. The good news is that a cellphone, tablet, or computer will assist you in the access you need to locate all of these. The You Version bible app has a vast number of bible translations and bible reading plans that will make the work less tedious and more accessible if available for using different bible versions, different plans of study, and different goals to reach to keep you engaged in the study of the bible.
5. You have some ideas, recommended tools, recommended objectives, and suggestions as to what to do to study the bible. Remember, you know how you learn best, what you are interested in, and what about bible study is important to you. We encourage you to use the suggestions we give, but please be encouraged to study the bible your way. We always strongly suggest prayer as the most important part of whatever you choose to do to study the bible. Remember men ought always pray and not faint. (Luke 18:1b KJV**)
*New Living Translation Bible
** King James Version Bible