Bible Study Tips and Ideas "Study to shew thyself approved unto God..." 2 Timothy 2: 15 (KJV)
Bible Study Tips
If you desire to study the Bible but perhaps find it hard to get started, or you are looking for tips to help you commit more to personal Bible study time, here are a few ideas that will prayerfully help.
Tip #1: Set Aside Time to Study. All too often individuals try and work God, or time with God, into their busy schedules by finding a slot where they could probably "squeeze Him in", or get in a few minutes of study time; unfortunately, this rarely ends the way intended. What likely happens is that there just is not enough time leftover for God (after having done whatever task that slot was set aside for) or the individual is just too tired, worn out and unable to truly focus on studying...so needless to say, time studying God's word gets put on the back burner with a promise to do it another day. I get that we all have busy (and/or bad days), but just as we are intentional with other commitments in our lives; so we must also be intentional with our time we set aside for God---we have to make room for God. My suggestion is to write out a daily to do list at the beginning of the week, or at the end of your day, and make sure there is a time slot set aside solely for studying the Bible. By doing this simple task, you will probably be more likely to commit to (and focus on) study time if you have nothing else you are supposed to be doing at that particular moment.
Tip #2 Pray. I find it easier to begin Bible Study with a prayer for acceptance, wisdom and understanding of God's word. Now let me just say that sometimes understanding happens during study time, but there are a lot of times that understanding doesn't come until much later. If this happens to you, know that it is okay; don't get discouraged, just keep studying. The Bible assures us that God will reward those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).
Tip #3: Don't be afraid to study the books of the Bible versus only studying by topic. Yes, studying by topic is absolutely okay and sometimes it is a good idea---it may even cause you to search the scriptures even the more; however if you are unable to find a topic that grabs your attention right away, it is also okay to just pick a book from the Bible and begin studying. You may find that this method poses questions, which will cause you to seek God's face, "dig a little deeper" and search the scriptures even the more.
Tip #4:Write down questions you have regarding life, or the Bible. I think it's a good idea to jot down those spiritual thoughts, or questions that come to you throughout the day (or during Sunday service, or your daily scripture readings). This may seem inconvenient to do, but in this day and age when just about everyone has access to a smart phone, or some type of smart gadget, it's a lot easier than you think and in most cases you don't even have to write or type; you simply tell your voice assistant and it will make a note for you. When you get ready to sit down and study, refer back to your question(s) and let that be your guide to studying God's word. If you are not sure where to start, refer to your Bible's concordance, a Pastor/minister, or do a quick internet search regarding the topic (just make sure you cross-reference with the Bible and seek wise counsel).
Tip #5: Take notes as you study. Consider writing down what you observed during your reading (i.e. was something repeated, did God answer or deny a prayer due to someone's actions, cause and effect relationships of certain events, etc.), your interpretation (or understanding) of what you read, life applications (I always try to relate what I read in the Bible to life today--- I think it helps us connect with God's word on a more personal level), and any questions you might have (as these questions will likely lead to further studies).
Tip #6: Use resources to help with understanding. As mentioned in Tip #4; sometimes it's necessary to refer to other individuals, books, reference scriptures, Bible commentaries, or even the internet for understanding during your Bible study, and that is absolutely okay.
Tip #7: If possible, consider using various translations of the Bible to refer to during your study time. I will admit that reading the Bible can be a sort of "overwhelming" task sometimes, possibly because it may be hard to understand some of the language. My advice here is to find a good translation that you like and can easily understand (i.e. English Standard Version [ESV], New Living Translation [NLT], New King James Version [NKJV], etc.); either use that as your main Bible for reading/studying, or use it as a cross-reference...it often helps when we can put things in "layman's" terms, or using modern-day terminology.
Bible Study Ideas
If you are looking for ideas on what to study in the Bible, check out our sample lists below.
Ideas for Studying the Bible:
Study the Bible in chronological order
Start from the beginning of the Bible and go book by book, making sure to take note of what the overall book is about.
Study verses of the Bible making sure to take note of who the verse is about, what is to be learned from the verse and looking for words that may be repeated or emphasized (try to understand why, or perhaps seek to understand the meaning of the word).
Study major and minor people of the Bible.
Study events in the Bible and how they are connected.
Ideas for Studying the Bible by topic:
Prayer- Ask and seek to answer questions about prayer, according to the scriptures. Here are some ideas on questions to consider during your study: "What is prayer?", "Why do we pray?", "Who should pray?","How to pray?", "How did people of the Bible pray?", "What does God say about our prayers?" and/or "Does God answer every prayer?"
Fruit of the Spirit- This is one that most individuals who grew up in church likely remember learning; however I challenge you to consider re-visiting this topic as an adult (or if you've never studied this topic before, I encourage you to give it a try). Consider studying what the Fruit of the Spirt is, evidence of this Fruit in our lives, why it's necessary to have the Fruit of the Spirit and how this Fruit helps us get through various situations.
Reasonable Service as a Christian- Seek to get an understanding of what God has called us to do as children of God.
Healing-Seek out scriptures on healing, and seek to understand what God's healing truly is.
Doubt- Seek to understand how to deal with moments of doubt and what the Bible tells us about doubt.
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