How are you going beyond reading to digging deeper in Bible study? If you aren’t doing the work, you might be missing some treasure!
If you have been faithfully studying the Word, you may be hung up on doing it the same way all the time. After a while, the method can begin to get stale, and become just another box to check off on a to-do list.
In Bible Reading Reboot, I shared a few different ways to go about reading your Bible. Now we move on to deeper interaction with Scripture through active study.
I’ll share a few different study methods and resources with you, in the hope that maybe changing things up helps to bring new life into someone’s study time. If you haven’t been studying your Bible, now’s a great time to start!
Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.Psalm 119:105 NLT
1. What are You Studying?
A great place to start is by getting a study Bible that comes with resources built in and easily accessible, all ready to go in one place!
I’ve had my New Living Translation Study Bible for a few years, so I’ll share a few things it includes to give you an idea of what might be available to you.
Not only does my study Bible give an in-depth overview of each book (including setting, summary, author, meaning and message), but it also introduces Biblical characters and shows how they tie into the overarching Biblical narrative.
When reading a verse, I can quickly find related passages found elsewhere in Scripture using the listed cross references.
These study notes explain what’s going on behind the scenes and how it all fits into the larger story.
Maps included in the study notes help give a bird’s eye view to where things took place, how far people traveled, where national boundaries were at different times, etc.
Now we’ll move on to HOW you might study the Bible.
2. Ask Questions
Choose a passage you’d like to study. Look for answers in the text to answer the age-old questions of who, what, when, where, how and why.
Who wrote this? Who were they writing to? Who is the passage about?
What happened? What words are repeated in this passage?
When did this take place, both in history and in relation to other events in the Bible?
Where did this happen, both generally and specifically?
How did the event unfold?
Why was this written? Why did the person do what they did or say what they said?
Find the answers and write them down. Writing uses different senses to get the Word in!
3. Clean up your Bible study with S.O.A.P
What passage will you be studying? It could be a few verses or a whole chapter. Read through the passage several times, in different translations if possible. Online Bible reading apps (Bible.com, for example) are a great resource for this if you don’t have different translations in physical Bibles on hand.
What important insights do you see? What words or phrases do you not understand? You can find definitions and explanations using online Bible study tools at Biblehub.com. Want to know what the word communicated in the original language? Want to know what Bible scholars have to say? It’s all there!
Here are a few examples of Bible Hub resources for John 3:16. Click on “Greek” in the top menu. First, the verse is written in Greek and English. Clicking on the number to the left brings us to the definitions page.
Here we can read a short definition, as well as get a further understanding of how it’s used in Scripture.
Going back to John 3:16, we can click “Comment” from the top menu, and be taken to what Bible scholars have to say.
Lo and behold, they don’t always agree with one another!
When studying the Bible, it’s always a good idea to check our insights with others’ so we don’t get led too far from Truth. None of us has a monopoly on wisdom and knowledge, even though we may think we’ve got it all together! Pride can easily sneak in and lead us off course.
What is this passage saying to you, personally? We read Scripture so that we can apply it to our lives. What will you do with the insight you’ve gained by studying this verse? How will it change your perspective? How does it affect your view of God? How will it change your approach to your day or your week?
Talk to God about what you’ve learned! Ask for His help in applying it to your life.
4. Study a Topic
Pick a topic you’d like to get an overview of. Let’s go with our “love” example at Bible Hub again.
Typing “love” into the search bar at the top gives us a long, long list of verses containing the word “love” throughout the Bible. You can work through the list from here, following methods outlined above for each passage. Don’t forget to read the surrounding verses to get an overview of the context!
Clicking on the “Topical” choice in the menu brings us to a completely different page.
Here you can tap on a particular “love” topic, which brings us to yet another page.
On the left of the results page you can find a long list of dictionary and encyclopedia entries for the word, and on the right is a list of where the word is used in the Bible. The list is not complete, but it’s an excellent place to start your study!
Choosing to study topically helps us to see how the Bible ties concepts together from beginning to end.
5. Build a Bible Study Library
If you love to hold books in your hand instead of using the internet for resources, I’ve listed a few of my favorites below. Some are favorite Bible study authors, and some are references that may help build understanding.
How to Study your Bible (Kay Arthur) “Want to dive deeper into Scripture? Learn to cultivate the skills of observation, interpretation, and application – and become an active participant in God’s Word! This dynamic guide presents a systematic approach that includes keywords, context studies, comparisons and contrasts, topical studies, and more.”
A Woman After God’s Own Heart series (Elizabeth George) I really appreciate the way Elizabeth breaks Scripture down into 15-20 minute chunks of study per day, working through one book of the Bible at a time. She focuses on “helping Christian women know how God desires for them to live.”
Strong’s Concordance Word Nerds, Unite!!! This huge volume includes every word in the Bible, with valuable Hebrew and Greek definitions, along with a full list of where each word is found in Scripture, and more! An excellent resource for word studies.
Manners and Customs of Bible Times A great resource for understanding how Biblical people lived their everyday lives.
Now it’s your turn!
- Have you found one way of Bible study better than another?
- Do you use a method that I didn’t share above?
- What is one of your favorite Bible study resources?
Share in the comments below, and perhaps encourage someone else on their learning journey!
Featured Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash
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