I Want to Study the Bible
The Spirit will teach you everything. - John 14:26
How can I get more from my Bible reading?
There is no shortcut in Bible study. If you want to find what God has for you in scripture you will have to dig. There are some things you can do to make your study time more profitable. This brochure outlines an approach to Bible study which can help you both with devotional reading and with deeper study.
Gather Materials - have pen, paper, highlighters or other markers and all materials you will need for study available.
Conditions - Find a place where you can study. If you study well with music playing, put some on. If you prefer quiet, arrange for a quiet place.
Resources - Get a small, well-selected set of study materials. For suggestions see the back panel.
Pray specifically for an open mind to understand, an open heart to receive, enabling grace for the actions you will need to take.
Claim these promises:
Get an Overview of the Passage
Read the passage multiple times. Twelve or more can be a real blessing, but any number from 3 times up will help. Memorizing is useful, at least of key texts. (This will also require you to select key texts.) Read from different Bible versions, to help you with your concentration and to open up different ways of understanding the passage.
At this point don't use commentaries, study notes, your concordance, anything which takes your concentration off of the passage you are studying.
Study the Background
Find out who wrote the passage, to whom it was written, what is the situation being addressed, and what type of literature it is.
(See the chart below for some types of literature in the Bible.)
Meditate, Question, Research, Compare (Repeat as needed)
Meditate on the passage. If you are having difficulty meditating, think about telling someone else about the passage, such as a friend in need of encouragement, someone who is unsaved, or a child. Think: What questions might they ask about this passage? You can formulate thought questions or fact questions. Fact questions are about what the author is actually saying. Thought questions may lead you to other revelations well beyond the intended statement of the passage.
You can use outlining at this stage, comparison to other scriptures, to writers in church history, or to current experience. Ask: What similar experience are we having today? Can this help me understand the passage. For example, if you have had a vision will that help you understand Ezekiel's vision in Ezekiel 1? Ask your friends about experiences they have had.
Some historical writers you might consult include Jerome, Aquinas, Augustine, Martin Luther, John Wesley, John Calvin, Charles Spurgeon and many, many others.
Share your Thoughts
Ask yourself how this has applied in your experience. Get to know the person you are sharing with. Share your experience and then the text. Always work from your own personal experience with God.
Store up the experiences your friends share with you to use in studying further scripture.
Example Prayer for Bible Study
Lord, take from me any thought habits which will keep me from hearing. Make me open to your voice and your voice alone.
Lord, help me to accept your people as my brothers and sisters in your kingdom let me learn and grow from both their weaknesses and their strengths.
Lord, I trust you to reveal yourself to your people the way you know is best. Let your will be done.
Lord, let me not only recognize but obey your voice. Let my actions be conformed to your will. Help me to love my neighbor as myself.
In Jesus' name, Amen.
Bibles with study notes
For further information see the Pacesetters Bible School brochures What's in a Version? and Bible Study Tools. Also available on this site are slightly longer versions in HTML, Bible Study Tools (HTML) and Bible Translations FAQs.
All scripture quotations taken from the Contemporary English Version, Copyright © 1995 American Bible Society.