5 Ways to (Really) Study the Bible

Y'all, the day I learned to REALLY read my Bible was a day that changed my life. Truly, I cannot tell you how profound of a difference I experienced in my walk with Christ once I began reading God’s Word effectively and purposefully. The Bible is such a vital part of our lives as Christians, and it can be so discouraging if you’re trying to be active in your reading but you aren’t walking away with much more than you started with. Our “Daily Bread” doesn’t have to be plain and stale; God wants to nurture us with an incredibly flavorful experience rooted in His Truth! Our God is so awesome and so powerful that there is no reason why reading our Bible should be boring or unhelpful because He is the One who put the pen to the paper to begin with. Simply put, if God wrote His Word we should find His incredible wisdom, grace, mercy, and power nestled there every time we crack the cover!

Last week I shared a post about my experience reading through Galatians with my husband. I highly encourage you to go check out that post, but to give you a brief overview it was about how we can rely on a checklist rather than actual faith. One of the many things I discussed in that post was the way we read the Holy Bible… More specifically, WHY we are reading. I believe that one of the ruts we fall into as believers is to just go through the motions. I’m so incredibly guilty of this in my own life! For example, my pastor and I just had a breakthrough because I felt like my spiritual life was “drying up” all the sudden, and it all stemmed from the fact that I was not reading the Word diligently or seeking God’s presence in my reading- I was reading because I was “supposed to” and that just wasn’t enough to saturate my soul.

So, after re-centering my own faith and writing about what I’ve learned through Paul’s letter to the Galatians I thought it might be worthwhile to share some tips with you about how to dig into your Bible a little deeper. While I hope these things help some of you, keep in mind that these “tips” are things that have helped me over the years and they are not necessarily the “right” way for everyone! Your walk with God is YOUR walk, so don’t feel discouraged if MY walk doesn’t hold any answers. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 tells us to, “encourage one another and build one another up,” and my hope is that this particular post encourages at least one person today!

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5 Ways to (REALLY) Study the Bible:

 

Pray BEFORE you begin reading-

This revelation was HUGE for me! Several years ago I did a particular Bible study that encouraged prayer before and after reading, and it was like a light bulb went off.

Praying before reading your Bible gives you an opportunity to focus your mind and your heart on what you’re about to do. Reading the Bible is a privilege and a gift from God, so taking the time to praise Him and ask for His guidance is crucial! Here’s an example of what a pre-reading prayer might look like for you:


“Heavenly Father, thank you for giving me Your Word to walk through this life with. Lord, I ask that you would send the Holy Spirit to sit with me in these quiet moments to speak wisdom and discernment over my time in your Word today. I ask that you would fill my heart with desire to know you more and that you would reveal yourself to me through this time. In Jesus’ name, Amen!”  

 

Highlight, make marks, and write down questions-

I used to never write in my Bible because I felt like it “ruined” it, but once I started to scribble in the margins there was no stopping me! Highlighting and writing in my Bible helped me to take notes and focus on what was actually being said. If I’m just reading without a pen in my hand I have a hard time spending time on each sentence or statement. However, when I’m reading as if I’m studying I find myself spending a lot more time trying to understand what God is speaking to me in that moment.

Also, I highly recommend writing down questions as you read. You should never, ever feel ashamed if you don’t quite understand something! Instead of brushing over confusing topics or stories, write down your questions and take them to a friend you trust, your pastor, or the Internet (just be careful about where the information is coming from).

** If you’re the kind of person who is hesitant about marking up your Bible I would recommend finding a “journalling Bible” that already has neatly lined margins for you to write on.**

 

Find someone to talk about your reading with-

Like I said above, you’re going to have questions when you read your Bible. It’s nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed of! Most days the Bible leaves me with smoke rolling out my ears because I’m trying to understand something, but I find immeasurable peace in the fact that I have people like my husband, my pastor, and my best friend to talk things through with.

If you stumble across something that just doesn’t make sense to you, write it down and don’t be afraid to ask someone else for clarification! I can’t promise that the person you ask will always have an answer, but those moments of fellowship over God’s Word are priceless. Moreover, even if you’re not confused, it’s fun to share what God is teaching you with someone you love and trust! God loves it when we spend time together in His name!

 

Find additional resources to guide your reading-

One of the biggest struggles I faced in my early walk with Christ was that I had no idea where to start. Should I start in Genesis? Should I start in the New Testament? What if I don't know where to go after that?!

With all those looming anxieties about opening my Bible, finding resources like podcasts, specific Bible studies, and daily devotionals were crucial for me. Once I found a study that focused on a particular topic I was able to spend more time in the Word with less stress about where to go next! If you’re looking for a Bible study right now I recommend Open Your Bible by Raechel Myers, Amanda Bible Williams- This particular study really helped me learn effective ways to spend time with God and absorb His Truth.

 

Pray AFTER you finish reading-

Just like praying before you read, praying after you read is an amazing way to reflect on what a gift your Bible is. Instead of just closing your Bible and going about your day, taking the time to pray after reading gives you another moment of peace to focus on what exactly God was speaking to you. Even if you didn’t feel like any huge revelations or light bulbs went off during your reading, praying can give you a chance to thank God for the fact you even have a Bible to spend time with! Plus, praying after you read can help you remain focused on what you learned throughout your busy schedule. Here’s an example of what a closing praying might look like:

“Lord, thank you for giving me the chance to know you through your Word. I am so thankful that you love me enough to give me such an amazing gift! Father, please send the Holy Spirit to walk with me even after I leave this quiet time so that I can remain focused on what you have for me. Please speak to me and reveal the answers to the questions I have, and I give you praise for the amazing things you’ve already revealed. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

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Don’t be intimidated by your Bible, my friends! Be encouraged that God loves us so much that He not only sent His Son to give us eternal life, but He loves us so much He also didn’t want us to wander lost through our days on Earth. The Holy Bible is a key aspect of knowing who God is, and He longs to have a relationship with us through His Word. No matter how new or seasoned you are in your faith, you absolutely need to spend intimate time with your Heavenly Father each day! So, I hope these tips will encourage you and help you grow in your own walk.