How To Study & Teach The Bible
1. Plan your study. Set aside a time and place to study. Develop a plan of what you want to read each day in a quiet environment.. Having a plan excites you to discover what you learn from God’s Word for that day; it will also keep you organized, keeping track of what passages you have covered and what lessons you have learnt from each.
2. Get a good Devotional or Study Bible. Choose a translation to use during your study. If you are new to the Bible or are a new Christian would recommend a New International Version Devotional Bible. Every Christian needs to get to know God better and to serve Him more faithfully. Devotional Bibles are a great way for you and your family to do so. A Devotional Bible is not designed to change your mind, it is meant to change your heart.
3. Study the Bible with an attitude of prayer. This should be the first step in understanding the Bible. Bible study should be approached with a prayerful desire to learn. Discipline yourself to be with the Word. The Bible will come alive for you. It is your spiritual food.
4. Pray. Ask God to help you understand his word before you even begin. In Ephesians 1:16-23 there is a prayer for Wisdom and Revelation that Paul prayed for the Church that you can also pray for yourself. In Ephesians 3:14-21 there is a prayer for Spiritual Maturity that Paul prayed for the Church, and that you can pray for yourself. God will reveal His Word to you.
5. Focus on the New Testament first with Book Studies of each book of the Bible. Though the New Testament compliments the Old, and the Old compliments the New, it is better to read the New Testament first if you are a novice. The Old Testament will make better sense if you read the New Testament first. Recommend starting at the Gospel of John the 4th Book of the New Testament.
Here are a few helpful tips on how to study the Bible and grow spiritually this year. Are you ready? Here goes…
6. Start with the Gospels. Consider reading Gospel of John John first.
Each Gospel paints a different picture of Jesus. Matthew shows Jesus as King; Mark shows Jesus as Rabbi Luke shows Jesus as man; and John shows Jesus as God, that is, the Messiah.
Read Gospel of John first. This will give you a more complete picture of the Gospels. John was the last Gospel written. Matthew through Luke are known as the “Synoptic Gospels” because they tell the same basic story, bringing in their own points as directed. John fills in the gaps of what the others leave out. It’s a book that completes the story of the Gospels.
It’s best to start with John, as it’s the easiest Gospel to read, identifies who Jesus really is, and prepares you for the other 3 Gospels. It would help to read it 2 or 3 times to get a good understanding of the author, topic, context, and characters. Read 1 chapter per day. Concentrate on your reading. and be patient. We have two free study guides on Gospel of John to help explain and follow along with your Bible reading. Plan 1
7. Pick out topics to study. A topical study is very different than a book study or a chapter study. The subject index of most Bibles have specific areas of study. Once you have found an interesting topic, you begin by doing a rough read through of the verses. This will give you a general oversight of what the verses have to say. For example: salvation, obedience, sin, etc.
8. a).Use our free Bible Dictionary, Commentary, Glossary, Topical Bibles and Concordance for help you need.
Bible Reading Studying Methods The Method of Getting into God's Word
“My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.” (Proverbs 2:1-5)
Bible Reading and Studying Methods is for learning how to expound, guide and interpret the Bible for all its worth. We do this through learning the tools and skills to help us observe the text, dig out the meaning, and then apply it to our lives. (Recommend printing out these methods and keeping a copy in your Bible here.)
Some people view the Bible as an un-climbable mountain, a dark cave into which we fear to trespass. Be encouraged, and be comforted; you can indeed do it. Through the Inductive Method, you can climb that mountain and venture into the cave with confidence. In fact, you will be able to extract the truths as an expert scholar does just by posing some simple questions! The Bible is as a diamond mine, filled with precious nuggets that can be applied to your life to transform and renew it! As with any mine, you do have to start digging; we will show you how to do this. The Inductive Method has been proven to be the best way to find those diamonds, and the more you dig, the more you will find!
The Three Basic Essential Bible Study Questions to Ask when Reading are:
- What does this passage say?
- What does this passage mean?
- How does this apply to me?
The primary purpose of this method is to teach you how to study His Word in a logical, clear, and concise way.
The Broader Basic Bible Study Questions
- 1. What does this passage say?
- 2. What does this passage mean?
- 3. What is God telling me?
- 4. How am I encouraged and strengthened?
- 5. Is there sin in my life for which confession and repentance is needed?
- 6. How can I be changed, so I can learn and grow?
- 7. What is in the way of these precepts affecting me? What is in the way of my listening to God?
- 8. How does this apply to me? What will I do about it?
- 9. What can I model and teach?
10 . What does God want me to share with someone?
The Big Question: “What Does this Passage Say?”
These are the basics of how to study God’s Word. These are the basic procedures a pastor or experienced teacher of the Word learns in Bible School and Seminary so he can prepare sermons and commentaries, but, here it is boiled down in a clearer and simpler way for you to understand and apply so you can then teach it to others! You will be able to mine more nuggets of precious precepts than others who may be in a hurry, who do not know how to go about it, or who have developed bad habits, causing them to miss some important stuff. Remember, these “Bible Study methods” are not for professional Christians only; they are the tools for all Christians to use!
How Does One Start?
Start with the proper approach that of prayer and reverence. If we do not have the right attitude and mind set, we will not get much out of God’s Word, because our will gets in the way of His!
“Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law” (Psalm 119:18). This is the essential, first step to always, always starting anything, especially the studying of the Bible and communication with God!
Have a good attitude based on seeking Christ rather than seeking self. Our minds must be clear and child like before Him, because, when you read His Word, you are standing before the face of God-the Holy God! So, adjust to a good attitude and reverence for God and His Word.
Select the verse, book, and passage you wish to study. We recommend starting in the New Testament.
It is simply not enough to know what you want to do, you have to know the right way to do it. It is like following a recipe in cooking or using the manual when working on your car.
Ask God into your study as your Teacher. Ask Him to free your mind from distractions and help you concentrate. You are entering a learning partnership with Christ!
How To Study The Bible
First Preview it. Read it like a novel. If you are having difficulty with one translation, try another. Then read slowly and keep re-reading. This will help you to remember.
Like a wide-angle lens, OVERVIEW the big picture. Remember the context! See the whole picture of what is going on. The reason most people do not get it is because they do not get in it!
Study whole books, book by book and not just by topics or chapters.
Like putting together a puzzle, start with a corner and then the straight edges. Start with the obvious in its context, and the rest will be revealed from there!
Do not read a passage here and a passage there. Important to read a whole book through and through, systematically. First, read the chapters; then, study the verses, verse by verse, in order. You are not at a buffet; you are in His Most Holy Word.
Second: Start Asking Questions!
You are to study the Bible with quiet confidence in God. (John 15:1-17; Ephesians 3:20; James 4:3; Jude 24-25)
The basic plan is that you interview the Bible; ask it questions to get to know the story, just as a reporter or researcher does. At the same time, whom you are interviewing is God’s Most Holy Word in His Holy presence!
Questions to ask the text to be more challenged and to draw out more information:
· Is there a lesson to learn?
· Is there a command to obey?
· Is there a sin to avoid?
· Is there a promise to claim and keep?
· Make sure you trust and obey what God is telling you!
Third: Ask the Question: “What Does This Passage Mean?”
This is where we continue the Bible Study and Reading process using logic and sound reason. After you have done your overview, begin to read the passage more carefully, as if you are examining it with a microscope. This task is called the exegesis. This fancy word simply means to study a text carefully, rationally, and thoroughly to find the original, intended meaning. We are to do this without any preconceived ideas or agendas. If we come to the text thinking we already know all about it, we show that we know nothing, and we will gain nothing. Strive toward the “plain truth” of what the passage you are studying means. It is “common sense,” and yet, it is more than common sense. This is where we “pick” at the text, and in so doing, we are picking at our hearts and minds!
a. Read carefully; study it! Remember, most Christians read the Bible, but few study it! Use the NIV, ESV, NKJV, or NASB versions. Bible Gate Way has different versions online here to try. Do not be distracted and do not stop. Try reading aloud for better concentration.
b. Study with reverence to Christ; see His Holiness so you have a proper sense of your ultimate reality, of who you are in Christ.
c. Study and read with purpose! To be present with God, we must be willing and able to go deeper. Allow His conviction. Then, your personal knowledge and relationship with Him will deepen. Growing in Christ is our priority in life! (Psalms 27:8). “My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek.”
Remember, God is God and we are not. God, being God, is to be the most significant and important Person in our lives. We need to honor Him so we can hear Him; as we know Him better, we worship Him as LORD.
· Imagine yourself as a participant. Read as if it is your story, as if you are there.
· Let God speak to you, as the main goal is for you to know the Lord better, not just to gain more knowledge!
· Look out for topics, logic, and direction.
· Meditate and pray over the passages that “speak” to you as you re-read, then memorize those key passages.
· Remember to examine what is being said…
First, in chapters, Second, in paragraphs and Third, in verses
· Bible Study reading plans helps us study from our sister site Bible reading plans : consecutive reading, book study, topical study, and verse-by-verse. Luke 24:27, Acts 17:11
FOURTH: Charting: Start to Make Use of the Book Chart
Write down what God is saying to you and what you have discovered and learned. Doing this will allow you to apply it to your life better! Study with a pen and notebook. That way, you can record what you see and hear. Your insights and thoughts will become clearer and you can even disentangle what is false. His Word is clear, so make sure your notes are clarified as they pass through His Word to your fingertips onto a page for present and future use.
A book chart will help you write down what the text says and means, and to tackle questions such as:
Who? What? Where? When? How? and Why?
What does this passage say about God? About me? My sin? My struggles? My opportunities?
What is my example to follow? What Fruit, Discipline, and Character do I need in order to develop and operate?
What are the sins I need to avoid?
What is my call and duty to carry out?
What promise does He have for me to receive?
What prayer do I need to offer?
Then write down your reflections in first person singular because it applies to you.
If you do not have a chart, you can easily make one. Take a piece of paper and draw three column lines down it. At the top of each column, write one of the three, basic, Inductive Bible Study questions.
FIFTH: Ask the Question: “What is God Telling Me?”
This is where you are seeking conviction, and allowing the work of the Spirit, through His Word, to show you principles and precepts to apply to your life. Be aware that sometimes you may not like what is shown, but it is what you need to hear. This is where we hear His voice, where we become transformed and renewed, and we grow in our faith and practice. This requires that our will be poured out and surrendered to His. We must learn to study the Bible so we are challenged and convicted to gain more insights into God’s character and call for us!
Conviction is very important to make us aware of our wrong ways and for us to align our path with His Way. God has His ways of refining and purifying us so that the waste products of pride and selfishness can be tossed aside while His real redemptive work and sanctification come to us in power and conviction. People of strife in the world, and Christians who are weak in their faith will hold on to their will and not allow conviction or change to enter their routine or life. Do not let this happen to you!
As a Christian, the reality of who you are in Christ must hit home in power and certainty at some time or another. Has this happen to you? If so, how? If not, what would it take? God, the LORD over all, is LORD of our lives, too. Thus, He should have the primary place in our lives, where we recognize, trust, and serve Him with joy.
Our LORD, is to be trusted, loved, and enjoyed so we can be challenged to take His precepts into our will and actions.
Here are some personal questions you can use to challenge yourself. Take a careful look at the passage you are studying; as you realize that it is indeed God’s most precious Word, examine your life and compare it to the passage. Now ask yourself:
1. How do I exhibit a life of fruit, character, love, faith, and maturity in my daily life now?
2. How can I develop the willingness to be a more disciplined, character, fruit and faith driven person who will realize I am called, empowered, and filled by Christ?
3. What blocks His work in me from working and being exhibited in me?
4. How can I accept and commence His work, and discipline myself to carry it out?
5. What can I do to make His work in me function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainty and stress?
So, what is our LORD telling you?
Ask the Question: “How am I Encouraged and Strengthened?”
Ask the Question: “Is there sin in my life for which confession and repentance are needed?”
Ask the Question: “How can I be changed, so I can learn and grow?”
Ask the Question: “How does this apply to me? What will I do about it?”
This is the question that we ask to see how the truth of what we are reading applies to our lives.
Jesus calls us to be doers with His Word. When we really hear God’s Word, without any barriers, it will impact us existentially (change us internally) down to the depths of who we are in personality, thinking, and attitudes, then it will lead us to Godly actions. It will model and show both a loving concern for others and His precepts. We have to be willing to hear it before we can practice it. If we do not practice, it becomes useless. This does not mean doing something without the knowledge to do it right, or going off without purpose or direction.
· To grow in Christ, we need to be strengthened in our faith formation so we can be obedient. (Rom. 15:4).
· Application comes out of a changed life, and leads to a life transformed!
· What must I do to make God’s Word real in me? What is my response?
· The Word of God should lead us to model the character of Christ, and to form us in the image of God. How should we carry out these changes?
· Pray and ask God how to implement His truth to you. Let us be doers of His mighty Word!