Not getting much out of your Bible study? Try to these 5 tips for deeper, more meaningful study you can apply to your life today!
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TAKE THE BORING OUT OF BIBLE STUDY
You may have grown up in church your whole life, know John 3:16 and the Lord’s Prayer, but what do you really know about your Bible?
For years I only read the beginning of Genesis, the psalms of David and the gospels of the New Testament. I didn’t really know what the rest had to do in relation to the others stories of the Bible, or even their significance in my own life.
But as I’ve grown in my studies, I’ve come to enjoy learning about all books of the Bible because I understand how they relate to each other and fit into the overall story. In doing so, I’ve learned a few Bible study tips along the way that made it something I actually look forward to each day!
THE PURPOSE OF BIBLE STUDY
Your Bible isn’t supposed to be a burden, it’s a gift. It’s a tool for teaching, guiding and encouraging. It should be your link to relationship with God and understanding his character. If you see Bible study as a guilt trip–something your religion teaches you that you should do, you’re approaching it wrong.
Here’s what the actual Bible says it is:
Hebrew 4:12 — “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17 — “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Romans 15:4 — “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
Psalm 119:105,114 — “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path…You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word.”
Romans 10:17 — “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”
5 TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR BIBLE STUDY
1. HIGHLIGHT ANYTHING THAT SEEMS EXTRA IMPORTANT OR RESONATES WITH YOU
There is no wrong passage to highlight in your Bible. Go back to the purpose of your Bible study. It’s about your relationship with God. Don’t look at your neighbor, look at yourself. What is your gut telling you is important right now in this moment? Highlight it!
Something really speaking to your situation right now? Write it out, post it on your mirror, maybe even memorize it!
2. CREATE A COLOR CODE FOR ORGANIZING IDEAS
I love highlighters. In addition to highlighting anything that sticks out to me in yellow, I sometimes add a color key to the beginning of a book of the Bible to organize the types of information in the passage.
For example, in Kings and Chronicles, I use orange and green to highlight any sections pertaining to the Northern Kingdom (Israel) and Southern Kingdom (Judah). In the gospels, I use different colors to identify parables and miracles.
3. USE BIBLE REFERENCE MATERIALS
I did a Beth Moore study a few years ago where she asked us to look up Greek and Hebrew words, and dug deep into cultural traditions of Esther’s time period. It was unlike any study I had ever done, and it taught me all sorts of places you could learn about your Bible from Biblical scholars.
While these should only supplement your study, and not replace the Bible as your main reference point, they provide great insight and context for what you are studying. Here are a few resources I use when creating my own Bible timelines:
- Bible Dictionary: for looking up words, character overviews, traditions
- Concordance: for topical studies, scripture references
- Bible Atlas: historical maps, timelines of Biblical events
- Study Bible: concordance, devotionals and footnote references
- Archaeological Bible: for historical discoveries, locations
- Bible Commentaries: scholarly insight on passage meaning and translations
- Parallel Bible: for comparing different translations of a passage
- Greek and Hebrew Word Studies: for reflecting on exact word translations
4. TAKE NOTES IN YOUR BIBLE
Now you might be thinking, highlighting in my Bible is ok, but writing all over it makes me uncomfortable. Why is it that you struggle to take this step? Is it because you’ll write something that may not be true? Is it that your handwriting is messy, or that you’re worried that it might even be a sin to write in?
Friend, instead ask yourself this: Will writing in your Bible help your spiritual growth?
God is not judging you for writing down something that you may change later, or that your handwriting is messy—he’s looking at you with joy that you are digging in deep to his word, craving growth and knowledge and relationship with him!
If you are still uncomfortable writing on the pages, that’s ok! You can use a journal, but I prefer writing in my Bible because it keeps all of my studies in one place. I can compare notes, questions and insights from years before as I add to the pages. I write down names, dates and events next to passages that the I felt God was leading me to during that trial.
There are some great journaling Bibles out there to give you plenty of space to write if you’re concerned about tiny margins.
5. LEARN THE BASIC BIBLE TIMELINE
I grew up in church my entire life, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I finally understood how the Bible stories fit together in the context of the history I was taught in school. I came to discover that the Bible isn’t even put together in chronological order! It’s grouped together by genre: history, poetry, prophecies, law and letters.
Through years of study, I began developing my own visual timelines to help break down the basics of each book of the Bible for myself. This past year, I began organizing all of my Bible notes and diagrams into one cohesive collection that is easy enough for children to understand.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE…
Check out my shop as I work my way through outlining the entire Bible:
For more posts on Bible study tips, read:
- Choosing a Bible That’s Right For You
- Why Memorizing Scripture Doesn’t Have to be Hard and Why You Need To Do It
- 5 Ways Jesus Modeled Self-Care in the New Testament
- 5 Styles of Note-Taking You Can Apply to Your Bible Study
- How to Navigate the Bible as a “Self-Help” Resource
You’ve got this!
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