Studying the Bible can be an intimidating task. We may believe that it’s important for us and our kids to read, but figuring out how to actually go about studying it – well, it can be overwhelming.
While I understand the feeling, and trust me, I’ve been there many times myself, studying the Bible is something anyone can do.
Regardless of how long you’ve been following Jesus, if you’ve been reading the Bible for years, or have never opened its pages, I believe we can all study the Bible – and grow in our faith because of it.
Before we even begin to talk about how to study the Bible, it’s important to keep the why in the forefront. The why of reading and studying the Bible is not just simply to fill time or to feel accomplished – we read and study the Bible because it grows our faith and draws us closer to Jesus. That’s why it’s so important to do it, and do it well.
So, how do we study the Bible?
There are lots of different methods out there. Let me share three of my favourites.
1. Using a Bible study guide
Because of the world we live in, there are a lot of great Bible studies out there. I consider Bible studies to be slightly different than devotional books. Devotionals typically give us a Scripture passage to read and some thoughts to ponder, but studies are a little more intense – they ask us questions and require us to respond and dive deep. If you’re starting out in Bible study, or appreciate a strong amount of guidance, using a Bible study guide is a great place to start! Here are some of my favourite Bible study guides:
- I love N.T. Wright’s “For Everyone” Bible study guides. Mark is a book we often recommend new Christians to start reading, so why not for new Bible studiers too? Check it out here – but there are loads more to choose from!
- Rose Publishing’s Visual Bible Studies are great study books – they look great and are simple and straightforward. Check out this one on The Life of Paul.
- I love Beth Moore. Her studies are amazing. While I’ve really only experienced them in a group setting, I’ve heard others rave about doing them individually. I’ve heard great things about this one on James!
- She Reads Truth is a great Bible study resource. Their app and study books are beautiful and amazing! I have especially enjoyed their Bible studies during Advent.
2. Try out inductive Bible study.
I was introduced to this method of Bible study during my internship 6 years ago, and it has quickly become one of my favourites. I recommend it to people all the time. Basically, when you do inductive Bible study, you are making observations about the text, and then drawing conclusions about what you’ve read. It’s so simple that it is profound.
What I love about inductive Bible study is that you don’t need any special tools or books to begin – you just need paper, a Bible and some time. Risen Motherhood shares a great introduction to this concept, plus an awesome free printable to try this method out!
3. Get creative with the colorful method.
I’ve seen this done many times, but was never really sure what to call it. However, a blog post from Margaret Feinberg calls it the “color method”, and I love it.
Essentially, this is a fancy way of saying you mark up your Bible – a lot. You can use a code already created – like this one Margaret Feinberg shares – or create your own. You could use a blue highlighter to highlight any mentions of the Holy Spirit, circle certain words, and underline the words of Jesus. It’s completely up to you.
What I love about this method is it forces you to slow down and actually think about what you’re reading. It allows you to see things you may have never seen before – and really notice certain words, phrases and ideas. If you’re not too torn up with the idea of marking in your Bible, you can use a website like Bible Gateway to print off Bible passages and then – mark to your heart’s content!
Whatever method of Bible study you choose, I believe it’s important to bathe it with prayer. Simply saying at the beginning of any Bible study session, “Holy Spirit, speak to me as I read today! Show me how to apply this to my life” is a complete game-changer.
I believe we can all study the Bible. We should. It matters.
Next week, I’m going to be sharing some ways you can introduce Bible study to your kids – stay tuned! In the meantime, have a favourite Bible study method? Be sure to share it!
Bonus: If you SUBSCRIBE to the blog, you’ll get a free inductive Bible study guide you can test out using one of my favorite Psalms, Psalm 34.
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