So, you've decided you want to study your Bible. But where do you start? You have no idea what resources you need before you start. Relax. This post is going to point you in the right direction. I'm going to share with you my best tips and tricks for preparing to start a Bible study habit.
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Why do you want to study your Bible? If your reason is something like, "It's what Christians do," that's not going to get you through the tough times. It won't help you to create a lifelong habit for digging into God's Word. And even if it does, you'll be doing it for the wrong reasons and won't find the joy in it.
What’s the point of studying the Bible? The main reason for Bible study should be to draw closer to God. The Bible is a book about God, written by Him through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. As we read, and study, the Bible we learn more about God and ourselves. We realize that we are sinful people in need of a Savior. And we learn to call on Him because He is faithful even when we’re not.
Now you may believe you can't possibly study the Bible for yourself. I want you to get that thought out of your head right now. Like any other skill, Bible study can be learned if we dedicate time and effort to it. So, where should we start?
Before you start studying the Bible you need to have a plan. Don’t worry; I’m going to help you with all that. We’re going to divide the plan into three categories: preparation, gathering your supplies and resources.
Related: Read the Bible
While it's possible to just pick up a Bible and start reading, I wouldn't recommend it. Since our aim to create a lifelong habit, we need to put a bit more effort into it. Think about what happens before a child starts school.
No parent I know their child to a random school and drops them off. And even if someone did that, the administrators would not accept that there is a process that must be followed. Before we start studying our Bible, we need to answer a few questions:
Why are you studying the Bible? Finding your why is critical. This is how you get through the days when studying becomes difficult or tedious. Despite your best efforts, there may be times when you do not study your Bible as you ought to. Your “why” will encourage you to restart your habit as soon as possible. I'd like to write it down somewhere. Maybe, at the beginning, you want to be visible or just remind yourself of why you're doing it.
When will you study your Bible? Many people will suggest studying in the morning. While there are some advantages for starting the day with Bible study, not everyone is a morning person. You want to spend time with God when you're most alert, not when you're groggy and grumpy.
Where will you study your Bible? Choose a place where you will not be interrupted. Make sure you have enough space for your supplies and that you’re comfortable.
How long will you study your Bible? Decide on the amount of time you have to devote to your study. If you only have fifteen minutes each day, don't commit to hour. Instead, ask God to bless you the time you have with Him and over time, your schedule may open up to you to devote more time to studying the Word.
What will you study? After deciding to read or study their Bibles, many people simply open the book and start reading whatever their eye falls on. Bible roulette, as I call it, is not the best way to study God's Word. It's best to study each book in its entirety so that you can get the proper context. Decide ahead of time what you will study.
What is the translation of the Bible ? I always say the best Bible to use is one you actually read, but there are some translations that are better to in-depth study. When studying the Bible, choose a word-for-word translation instead of a thought-for-thought translation or a paraphrase.
Examples of word-for-word Bible translations:
Some Bibles fall between the word-for-word and the thought-for-thought such as:
Examples of thought-for-thought Bible translations:
Examples of umbrella Bible translations:
Tired of reading? Watch the video on YouTube.
What Bible study method will you use? There are so many ways of studying the Bible. Choose one method and learn how to apply it to studying your Bible. Once you know how the method works, apply it to the passage you’re reviewing.
In all things, be consistent. Try to study at the same time, in the same place every day (or according to your schedule). This will train your body and mind to anticipate your Bible study time.
About the next couple of weeks, we'll discuss a few Bible studies so you can get started. We'll talk about:
I hope you will return to the blog so you can learn more about those Bible study methods. But for now, focus on gathering your resources and supplies.
What will you need to start studying your Bible? If you’re anything like me, a project like this is an opportunity to get new stationery. Do not, however, let the hunt for the perfect supplies stop you from starting your new Bible study habit. All you need to start is a Bible, notebook or loose paper, and a pen. You may also want some highlighter or crayons. That’s it! Don’t get distracted by all the stuff.
There are some things which can enhance your study of the Word. Let’s look at a few of them:
Dictionary—this will come in handy when you want to check the meaning of a word. You can use a Bible dictionary, but many times a regular dictionary is enough.
Bible Study Tools gives access to the following Bible dictionaries:
Concordance—this allows you to look up the original Greek and Hebrew. Doing this will expand your understanding of a passage or verse. For an example of how this can enhance your understanding of a verse, check out this post on Proverbs 4:23.
A Bible concordance is also useful when you want to do a topical or character study. Use Bible Hub to access the following concordances:
Other Bible translations—reading other translations of the Bible help put things into perspective. Reading the Bible in other translations will paint a better picture for you. BibleGateway.com currently has 59 English translations available.
Bible study guides and books—these can provide a guide for studying the Bible especially books that guide you through an interactive study of a topic or Bible book. Please be sure to read the Bible passages for yourself so you can get the proper context.
Bible commentaries—after you have dug into a passage for yourself, it may be helpful to read what commentators had uncovered. Commentaries also provide historical background for the Bible so we can better understand why some things were done. StudyLight.org has 51 total Bible commentaries available.
Bible study checklists—these can help you remain focused on the steps for your Bible study process. This is especially helpful when you’re just starting out or when you’re using a new Bible study technique. Also, putting your Bible study on a checklist can help you arrange what you’re learning in a way which makes it easy for you to review the information.
This article on SimplyBible.com has a simple checklist that will allow you to interact with the passage you're studying.
Everything here is available on the internet so you don't have to rush out and spend hundreds of dollars. All you need is access to the internet and you're good to go. I hope these tips give you an idea of what to do if you prepare to start a lifelong habit of Bible study.