I just finished reading through the New Testament, which got me thinking about Bible study. Bible study isn’t dull, and knowing theology isn’t just for preachers. Granted, pastors should go deeper and spend more time studying because they are teaching a church; however, studying is also for the believer. In this post, I will share a few ways I explore the Scripture and things you can do to make your Bible study more meaningful.
Most of us have a Bible APP that gives us a verse of the day, and that’s fine, but we all know we need more than just one verse a day. The same kind of thing is true for studying the Bible. If you’re going to study verses, read the chapter. If you’re going to look at a chapter, read the book. Context is critical, and honestly, I think we get more out of Scripture when we purposefully set aside an hour or two (the same amount of time as a movie) and read a book of the Bible in one sitting.
Most of us don’t know Hebrew and Greek, but tools like the Vine’s Expository Dictionary can give us the original language’s meaning. Of course, it’s not necessary to look up every word of a verse that you’re studying, but there will be times when your interest is peaked, and you’ll want to dive a little deeper into the meaning.
I probably should have started with this but pray before you read and ask Holy Spirit to teach you. That’s His role in our lives, so we need to ask Him for that help. Always take notes on what you’re learning or thoughts you have while you’re reading. One idea can develop at a later time and become a great study.
Phones can be helpful when it comes to finding a verse but have a physical, leather-bound Bible you use to study. It cuts down on distraction ( which reminds me, put your phone on silent). When we sit down to learn, we need to give that time and God the respect of our attention being on Him.
Use different translations. I recommend using a good “word-for-word” translation (NASB, ESV, NKJV) and a “thought-for-thought” as well (NIV, NLT, and CSB). When you study, you should use a minimum of two translations. If you want the help of a study Bible, I recommend the MacArthur Study Bible and ESV Study Bible.
Take your time when you study; you won’t always finish a study in one sitting. Allow time to meditate on what you are getting out of your study. Talk to friends about what you’re studying and see what they get as well.
You can take a look at the recommended reading page for Bible Study tools and other books. As you study the Bible, include a study of the history of the places you are reading about to better understand what is going on. In addition, make a general study of church history and theology to help you better understand the text.
One last thing, have a spot designated for study, make it comfortable, have your stuff all in one place so you can get immersed in going through the word, running references, looking up words, and getting to know the people in the book. It may take a few times to get into studying, but one day you’ll look up and realize you’ve been sitting there for three hours and only think it has been fifteen minutes.