Today I’m talking about Bible study…. specifically, how to study the Bible for beginners.
It’s intimidating, I know. For the longest time I was totally convinced I couldn’t study the Bible because I didn’t know how. I would sit down with my Bible and that stereotypical question mark from cartoons would appear over my head.
Y’all please listen to me, Bible study does not have to be complicated. That’s why I came up with this quick Bible study guide!
First of all, let’s discuss what Bible study is…. and that is simply looking into the meaning of scripture and how it can be applied to our lives. It can be as simple as writing down a scripture and listing out how you can practice said verse in your daily life. Your main goal is just understanding the Bible.
That’s right, no commentary required.
Now you may be wondering, if it’s that simple then come it’s so important? Because studying the Bible is what equips you to face life head on; it gives you that firm foundation to stand on. The Bible is one of the ways God speaks to us today!
Essentially, if you don’t know what the Bible says then you don’t know what God says.(click to tweet)
If the idea of Bible study still has you spazzing a little, here’s some tips that I’ve found useful in my own studying!
1. When Should I Study My Bible?
Set a specific time for studying each day! It may seem odd to schedule your Bible study time but I promise, it helps! First of all, being committed and intentional in the time you spend with God shows how much you love him! Second, if we’re all being honest, it can be easy to get caught up in your daily to-do list of school, sports, church, work, friends, chores, etc. that we forget to so much as crack open our Bible. Having a specific time you come before God each day makes it easier to actually get your Bible study done and you don’t have to worry about not having time to do it.
I’ve found that I prefer to do my Bible study in the morning. Waking up and having a cup of coffee with God gets me in the right mindset for the rest of my day and I am able to reflect on what I studied throughout the day!
2. Pray About It
Before you even think of cracking open your Bible, I encourage you first to pray.
Psalm 5:3 (NIV), “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.”
I’m not going to lie, I often find scripture very confusing and very overwhelming. Praying before studying has helped me tremendously! I always pray for clarity of mind and for focus as I begin studying. I also ask God to help me to see what his message for me is, how it can be applied to my daily life, and help not to misinterpret his Word.
3. Ask the Right Questions
Often times, and I’m guilty of this too, we take on Bible study with a “me, me, me, I, I, I” mindset.What does the Bible say about me? How can I use this to benefit me? Who does the Bible say I am? We’re asking what the Bible says about us when we should be asking what the Bible says about God.
The Bible is not a book about you or me. The Bible is 100% about God (click to tweet).
I will not read the Bible and find scripture about me and my character. I will, however, find scripture about God and God’s character. The only way we can truly learn about ourselves and appreciate it, is to look at ourselves through the lens of who God is.
For example, from Psalm 34:8 I know that God is wholly and entirely good. I also know that I am wholly and entirely not good.
1 John 3:5 tells me that Jesus knew no sin but came to take my own sins away. This scripture tells me that Jesus is perfect- he has never sinned. I also see that I am sinful and I am in need of a Savior to take those sins away.
4. Find A Method You Like
There are so many Bible study methods out there! Finding one that works for you is sometimes not very easy, so don’t be afraid to try them all. Here’s a few I’ve enjoyed over the years along with some helpful resources:
Verse Mapping: this is a method which addresses one scripture at a time in which you analyze the different components of the verse such as verse meaning, context, defining words, related verses, etc.Inductive Bible Study: Inductive Bible study has three main components: observation, interpretation, and application. Inductive Bible study typically involves a lot of marking and highlighting of important themes, key words, and phrases and there is a set of symbols used to label different parts of a passage.SOAP: SOAP is actually an acronym for Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer. This method involved selecting a scripture, summarizing its meaning and thoughts you may have, brainstorming on how this scripture can apply to your life, and then praying about the scripture.
SOAP is actually the method that I use right now but instead of focusing on a single scripture I read one chapter each day. I also use the Faith Warrior journal from Me and My Big Ideas which is designed specifically for the SOAP study method. It’s dated to start in January 2019 but I re-dated a few months so I could start early!
You don’t even have to use a specific method. You can use Bible study topics, like love, anger, temptation, forgiveness, etc. and study scripture on your selected topic!
5. Switch it Up
Don’t be afraid or ashamed to switch it up when it comes to what method you’re using. I have used all the methods I listed above and then some…. and I’m sure I’ll try something new again. The more you study the more you will grow in faith and sometimes this means you grow out of particular study methods. And then sometimes you just need something fresh and new to give you a jump start.
Play around, have fun, but most importantly, get to know God!
Other Bible study tools:
Life Application Study Bible (NIV) (may be cheaper on Amazon)!