Simple ways to study the bible more effectively
Haven’t we all experienced times when we want to study our bibles and spend time with God but do not know what to read? You open up your bible and have no clue what to read and keep flipping the pages. Studying the bible is so exciting even though I know sometimes it feels overwhelming. Once you have the right resources and a plan, studying the bible will be something you look forward to. Sometimes life can also get so busy that we struggle to find time to spend with God, but that’s actually when we need him more.
Today I will share with you some tips you can use to make studying your bible feel a little less stressful and more enjoyable. When you are able to effectively study your bible and dig deeper into God’s word, you begin to see his word come alive in your life.
A few things I recommend for bible study are these:
Bible (of course)
Highlighters or markers
Now let’s get right into the tips to study your bible
Create a plan
Set a plan for your bible reading. Are you going to use devotionals? An online bible or physical bible? What tools do you need to have for effective bible study time? What time of the day would you be doing your study? Get your resources together, maybe even create a space that is for your devotion time.
Choose the right bible
Having the right bible can make a huge difference in your bible study time. Obviously, the bible is the same, however we all have different styles of learning. For instance, some prefer online bibles while others prefer a physical bible. For me, I prefer physical bibles because I highlight a lot and color code my bible. I also love bibles with a lot of writing space on the sides. I recently got the She reads truth bible, it contains devotionals, has space for note taking, has bible timelines etc.
Even though I use a journal to take notes, I also love to put notes next to the scripture I am reading. Sometimes I also enjoy using online bibles so I can bookmark verses and access them easily when not with my physical bible. Find the version of the bible you like, I do not like using the KJV bible as I get lost with words like “thee, thou, thy”. I also do not care much for the MSG version as I prefer to dissect the verse and interpret it myself so my interpretation is as accurate to me as possible. Sometimes I will also use it when trying to explain something to someone new in Christ.
There are also study bibles with concordance at the back which are great for bible study as well.
Set a goal
Create a realistic goal for devotion time, plan out how long you want to study the bible for and work your way up. Do not overwhelm yourself, it may not be realistic for you to attempt to go for an hour bible reading a day at the beginning. Trying to do too much will just overwhelm and make you give up. Set small goals and start slowly while working your way up. Do not rush from 0-100 in a day.
Set time aside
If you do not set aside time for bible study, you will probably not follow through with it. We get so busy and it’s easy to forget or procrastinate on it. Pick the best time for yourself based on your daily schedule, set an alarm and stick to it. For me, that time is 11pm right before bedtime. Do not pick a time based on what people have told you, pick a time that’s best for you. For some, that might be morning time, for some, it might be night time. Also, understand that life happens, sometimes you may need to switch your schedule around and that’s okay, do not get discouraged. The important thing is working consistently towards reading your bible and growing in Christ.
Before you begin your bible study, spend a few minutes praying and asking God to guide and speak to you during this time. Open up your heart and surrender your will to him. Allow him to work and speak through you. It is important for you to ask God to open up your eyes to what he wants you to read for the day. Some days he may even guide you to just spend the time singing or reading a devotional or praying. Simple prayers like “Lord thank you for this space and time to spend in your presence, as I open up your word, I ask that you open my eyes to what you want me to read and speak to my heart so I understand your word. Amen
He will always guide and direct you to his word.
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Have an accountability person
Sometimes it’s helpful to have an accountability person to keep you on track. Reach out to a Godly friend that can keep you accountable. Let them know what you are doing and how they can help you. They may even be able to give you some tips.
There are so many devotionals available. Find a devotional either online or a physical copy to follow. Devotionals come in various types, you have some based on topics you may be going through, based on scriptures, based on the books of the bible, daily bible reading plans etc. Find the one that works for you. I enjoy using ones based on something I want to learn more about and usually use the YouVersion reading plans. I begin my bible study time by reading my devotional for the day, then begin to dive deeper into the scriptures. I love this method especially on days I do not know what to read, I can focus on the verses in the devotional.
One thing to be careful with however is getting boxed up with rules. Just because you are using devotionals, does not mean you always have to, some days the Lord may be guiding you to do something else, be open to allow him to lead you.
Plan out one bible verse a day or whatever amount you can handle initially rather than attempting to read 5 chapters a day. Focus on those verses and try to understand them before moving on. Its so easy to get carried away by what we see online, you hear people say they read 10 chapters a day and you struggle to read 1 chapter, but do not get discouraged. As you press into God and spend time in his word, it will become life to you. It’s not about how much you can read but how well you are able to know him for yourself. Stay consistent and you can build it up from there.
Choose a word or book to study
You can also choose to study one book of the bible for a season. For instance, read the book of John from beginning to end till you complete it, you could break this up to one chapter a day, however feels comfortable for you. This will help you know what to study each day so you do not have to struggle with that. Some bibles such as She reads truth also have devotionals or excerpts within each book of the bible to help you out.
If you prefer, you could also choose a word to study for a season. If you are struggling with Faith, you could pull up a devotional on faith and pull up scriptures that talk about Faith. Some bibles have concordances at the end that you can look up various topics and what scriptures pertain to them. I usually highlight or color code the scriptures, circle the words that stand out to me and take notes next to it. Make use of your journal to write notes on what the Lord may be speaking to you through these verses.
Live it out
Its not enough to just read and study the word. Ask the lord to help you live it out.
James 1:22-25 says
“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 observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does”
When we study his word, we should allow the word to transform our lives and change us for his kingdom, do not just read it and forget it.
Allow God to speak
Again, you need to be open for God to speak to you. If you have a heart of stone and are not open to hearing from him, then reading his word will do nothing for you. Surrender your heart and will to him. Sometimes he may lead you to scriptures that you do not understand why he chose, but be patient and you will eventually understand.
I remember beginning of 2020, the Lord gave me Isaiah 40:31 which says
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
I remember reading this verse and at first not understanding what this verse was about and why. Then eventually I began thinking it meant I will have huge success in my business and career. However, with the pandemic and everything that happened, I eventually understood why he gave me that word to help me through everything that he knew was going to happen. So, allow him to guide you. Do not limit him with your own limited understanding.
Make sure to have a journal to take notes in. As you read the scriptures or your devotional, things will begin to stand out to you as God speaks to you. Write down questions you might have or want to dive deeper in.
Bible study tools
There are so many bible study tools and devotionals available to help your bible study time:
It’s an app with reading plans that are quick and easy to read. At the end of each devotional, you are able to make comments and join other women in conversation.
This is an online bible app that contains various translations of the bible and a ton of devotionals based on books of the bible, topics e.g. Faith, loneliness, parenting, Finances etc. you can also bookmark what you read, take notes, share with friends etc.
Here you get access to a ton of free articles that discuss biblical truths from any bible scholars and pastors worldwide.
This is a great way to access to bible online. It comes with so many translations you can choose for the bible. I also like that when you click the book of the bible in the search bar, it also pulls up the topics for each chapter.
This usually provides answers to various questions you might have in the bible. It also pulls up scriptures for the questions.
I hope you find these tips helping in studying your bible more effectively. The important thing is to just start and let the Lord lead you. Without studying our bible and spending time with God, we begin to run on our own energy and dry up. Take it slowly and at your own pace!
What are some ways you are able to effectively study your bible and draw close to God?