Reading the Bible is an essential part of Christian life. It is through reading and studying the Bible that we come to understand God's word and grow in our faith. However, with so many books, chapters, and verses, where should we start to effectively study the Bible?
Here Are Some Tips and Techniques for Effective Bible Study:
1. Pray Before You Start:
Prayer is an important aspect of Bible study. It is through prayer that we invite the Holy Spirit to guide us in our reading and help us understand the meaning and significance of the text.
Before you start studying, take a moment to pray, and ask God to reveal His truth to you through His word. You can also ask for wisdom and understanding as you read. As the Bible says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you" (James 1:5).
2. Choose a Plan or Method
Choosing a plan or method for Bible study can help you stay focused and organized. There are many different ways to study the Bible, so choose a method that works best for you.
For instance, you can read through the Bible in a year, study a book of the Bible in-depth, or use a devotional guide. Whatever method you choose, make sure it is realistic and fits with your schedule and lifestyle.
Here are some plans/methods you can apply.
Overview: This method involves following a specific reading plan that guides you through the entire Bible in 365 days or less.
A very good approach is to study both Old and New Testaments concurrently. This means that when you begin, study some chapters of the book of Genesis, and on the same day, study some chapters of the book of Matthew. And the next day, you continue from where you stopped, till you go all the way to Malachi in the Old Testament and Revelation in the New Testament.
Personally, I have found this method to be very effective. It ensures that I study all scriptures, while at the same time studying chapters and verses taught in church or in anointed Christian books I am reading at the time.
Benefits: Provides a comprehensive understanding of the entirety of Scripture.
Considerations: Ensure you allocate dedicated daily time for this approach. You might pair this method with an additional, more in-depth study of specific passages.
B. In-depth Book Study:
Overview: This approach entails selecting a specific book of the Bible to study intensively, and exploring its themes, context, and application.
Benefits: Allows for a deep, focused exploration of a particular section of the Bible, enhancing understanding and application.
Considerations: Once again, balance this approach by alternating between Old and New Testament books to maintain a holistic biblical perspective.
C. Thematic Bible Study:
Overview: Focus your study on specific themes, topics, or biblical characters.
Benefits: This method helps to understand the Bible’s teaching on particular subjects or the lives of biblical figures. This is especially beneficial for when you are trying to get faith and knowledge in a given area e.g. finances, healing, marriage, relationships, leadership, etc.
Considerations: Ensure a balanced study by exploring a range of themes and topics over time to avoid a narrow perspective. As a matter of fact, do not make your long-term Bible study thematic. I have found that it is effective when you engage in thematic Bible study just for a season, but to get full coverage of the scriptures, return to reading through the whole Bible from cover to cover.
D. Combination Approach:
Overview: Combine different study methods to enrich your understanding and engagement with the Scriptures. This is a very effective and efficient method.
Benefits: Offers varied perspectives and insights, enhancing comprehensive biblical understanding and application.
Considerations: Tailor the combination to your schedule and spiritual objectives, ensuring it remains manageable and beneficial.
3. Understand the Context
Understanding the context of the Bible is crucial for effective study. This means understanding the historical, cultural, and literary context of each passage or verse. You can do this by researching the author, intended audience, time period, and any cultural or historical events mentioned in the text.
Understanding the context can help you understand the meaning and significance of the text. As the Bible says, "Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them" (Proverbs 4:5).
4. Use Study Tools
There are many different study tools available that can help you understand the Bible better. These include concordances, commentaries, Bible dictionaries, and study Bibles. These tools can provide insights into the original meaning of words, historical context, and theological significance.
When using these tools, it's important to remember that they are not infallible and should be used alongside your own interpretation of the text given to you by the Holy Spirit. As the Bible says, "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15).
5. Apply What You Learn
The ultimate goal of Bible study is to apply what you learn to your life. As you read and study the Bible, be proactive in applying its teachings to your daily life.
This means changing your behavior, attitudes, beliefs, and practices. Applying what you learn will help you grow in your faith and become more like Christ. As the Bible says, "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says" (James 1:22).
As a matter of fact, the more you spend time in God's Word, the more you become like Jesus, because the scripture says in 2 Corinthians 3:18 (New King James Version)
18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Putting It Altogether
In summary, effective Bible study requires prayer, a plan or method, understanding the context, using study tools, and applying what you learn to your life. By following these tips, you can deepen your understanding of God's word, grow in your faith, and become more and more like Jesus.
About the Author
Edikan Uko is an entrepreneur, and management consultant focusing on strategic management and innovation. She is a media owner and publisher. She is an alumna of the University of Strathclyde Business School. She is also a Bible teacher, speaker, founder of Arise Global Intercessors, and editor of LoveFaithandMiracles.com