Believers face daily challenges but have God’s word as their spiritual weapon. While many own a Bible, reading it regularly is another story. Our faith’s foundation is Jesus, but do we strive to study the Bible? This article offers methods, tools, and tips for all believers, whether new or seasoned, to better understand God’s precious word and improve daily reading.
8 Tips for Effective Bible Study
If you’re tired of relying on study Bibles or are hitting a wall with your independent study, consider implementing these eight tips for effective Bible study below.
1. Start with Prayer
This was mentioned above for independent study, but regardless of whether you are online, in a small group, or studying on your own, the most important thing that can never be removed from the equation is prayer. Understanding God’s word is not something that can be done by human strength or wisdom. The scripture even records how God’s thoughts and ways are so much higher than our own (Isaiah 55:8-9). That means, in order for us to understand the deep things of God, then shouldn’t we begin by seeking wisdom from God Himself through prayer?
2. Choose a Topic, Section, or Chapter of the Bible to Read
After you spend time in prayer, the holy spirit can reveal to you a topic or passage that you should review. Many spend time within Psalms and Proverbs, which are words of wisdom that all of us can take with us today.
There are, however, 64 other books of the Bible that we should not ignore. Many Christians jump to the New Testament, seeking something more relatable in their own life.
Others still have a hard time choosing where to start within the Bible itself. In this instance, consider a guided bible study where you can grow in your understanding of the scriptures as a whole.
3. After Each Chapter, Try to Re-explain the Main Points
A popular reading comprehension method is spending time trying to explain the content that you just read out loud. But this isn’t only relevant in English class. It can also help us to digest the Bible.
While you could have read a considerable amount of content in that chapter or book, the key thing is pulling out the main points that you can take with you for later self-reflection.
4. And If You Can’t, Re-Read the Passage
Have you ever spent time reading something, but after finishing, you have no idea what you just read? This is a sign of distracted reading, which many of us may be guilty of in our own personal studies in the world. With God’s word, however, it’s important that we take time to focus on each word, verse, and passage that God recorded within it.
That means if you find yourself unable to recall the content you just read, it’s best to read it over again. Then spend some time trying to explain the main points. This will help you to hold onto the content that you’re reading in the scriptures as well.
5. Write Out the Verses That Resonate with You
Writing out notes of the content that you’re reading in the scriptures is helpful to review at a later time. Your study notes can be a helpful tool to review even after you finish your Bible study session.
Among the content that you write down, specific verses that strengthened you in the moment would also be helpful to include, as scripture writing can be a memorization tool. That way, if you’re facing a difficult time at work, with family, or in another setting, even thinking of God’s word can move us to live in the image of Christ.
6. Self-reflect Upon Yourself and Areas You’d Like to Grow Within
The Bible itself is not just a story book, although many of us may have seen it in that way. Inside of the scriptures, we find content that teaches us the standard of how it is that we should live our lives. But the only way that it can teach us is if we make the effort to self-reflect.
God did not give us the Bible just to satisfy our curiosity, but the word itself has to become something that we are obedient to, which is even an expression of our love towards God. Jot down areas that you would like to grow within as you study God’s word in order to make it a meaningful time that can change us.
7. Take Note of the Content You Don’t Understand and Ask Questions
As you’re studying the Bible, inevitably you will encounter things that are more challenging to understand (have you read through the prophets?). We should not remain in ignorance regarding these things, but instead, we should make the effort to understand.
Consider seeking wisdom or guidance from a leader at your church to help you better understand the scriptures. Their duty is to help us better understand the Bible, so they should be able to answer your questions.
If you are still facing challenges getting the answers to your questions, consider learning more of the word through our guided Bible study program.
8. Don’t Give Up
Studying God’s word is a journey that cannot be tackled in a single night, even if you wanted to. You have already taken a valuable step deciding that you want to study the Bible, but the next one is equally as important: staying consistent.
The more effort that we make to read the Bible and understand God’s word, wouldn’t God be moved and help us to grow in even more understanding? We have to believe this.
Different Methods of Studying the Word Today
In today’s era of technology, there’s no limit to the capabilities we have to meditate upon God’s word. Below we’ll take a look at some of the most popular ones.
Reading the Bible Independently, One Chapter at a Time
Reading the Bible on your own is a rewarding experience for many. It’s recommended to first find a version of the Bible that you feel comfortable reading. Many versions like the King James Version (KJV) can be more challenging to understand, but many seem to enjoy the New King James Version (NKJV) or New Living Translation (NLT).
It’s also important to find a designated time and place for your independent study, away from distractions. This can also help to build your regular Bible study routine. Not only is your physical environment important, but also your heart, so it’s recommended to begin with prayer.
In a Study Group
If reading the Bible on your own seems too daunting, you don’t have to go it alone. Gather your fellow believer friends and embark on the learning process altogether.
It helps to have someone who is coordinating or leading the study group and discussion. Each person could have a different perspective when it comes to understanding each Bible verse, based on one’s experience within the faith.
But what is most important is being able to completely understand the Word of God in a way that is completely aligned throughout the entirety of the scriptures.
Holistically (Using all of God’s Word)
Many traditional Bible studies read one chapter at a time, and others focus on a main subject and supporting verses throughout the Bible.
Reading the Bible chapter by chapter and viewing the entirety of the scriptures as a whole are both equally important. However, the best way for believers to perceive the wondrous things that God has placed inside of the Bible is to use the entire Bible, as it is a great resource that God has given to us intentionally.
Online Video Bible Study
The pandemic of 2020 brought a time where mankind shifted from in-person interactions to virtual meetings. Zoom, Google Meets, Microsoft Teams, and even Facetime brought an innovative way for believers to study the Bible online.
YouTube is another resource that provides reading plans on the website, which can be a helpful guide for beginners.
If you’re interested in a video Bible study series to learn the deep things that God has placed inside of the scriptures, look no further than MCL’s video Bible study series, built for believers like you.
Most times when people do not know where to start in their Bible study, they turn to devotional reading guides. This can help to cover topical content within the scriptures.
The challenging thing with devotional guides is that no two books are the same. That means if you are looking for true understanding from the holy spirit, it might be confusing to see each author’s own perspective.
So the question remains of how one can dive into Bible study and discover the hidden truths recorded within God’s word.
An important aspect of our faith is spending time in the word, whether you are a new believer or someone who has been in the faith for a long time. But regardless of how long you have been a believer, it can still be challenging to figure out where to start.
While many methods and tools exist that can help us in this process, the important thing is finding a method that works for you and helps you to stay consistent.
If you feel frustrated and desire more guidance in studying the scriptures, look no further than MCL’s guided Bible study program , completely free of cost, that will help you to deepen your understanding of God’s word.