Have you ever picked up your Bible and thought, “How do I begin really digging into this book?” I know during my early years of attempting to study God’s Word, I was often frustrated and left with a sense of being completely lost and overwhelmed. Finally, I learned some excellent ways to study the most important book in our lives and I want to share them with you.
As I share these tips, please know that you can take some of them or all of them and make them your own. What I mean is, there is no “set-in-stone” method. The most important issue is that you are in His Word and doing your best to hear from Him as you study. Most importantly, before you begin, pray and ASK God to help you.
Explore various Bible translations. There are numerous types and this alone can be daunting. Ask friends who you know are Bible study enthusiasts which translation they use. Go to a book store that carries the different translations so you can see them for yourself. There are study Bibles, journaling Bibles, creative art Bibles, large print, and many more. When I received my first “Good News” Bible in high school, it was a game-changer for me. The Word became alive as this translation was one that made sense to me. Over the years, I now mainly use an NIV Study Bible.
There is no hard and fast rule other than finding a Bible that you enjoy spending time reading. Also, make sure this Bible is well-made so that it will endure the time and the wear of daily use. A good Bible cover or carrying case is always a good practice as well.
Take a look at your daily and weekly schedule so that you can be intentional to block out Bible study time. Determine that this time with God is important enough to go on your calendar. When you time block time in God’s Word, you will find this time is never, ever wasted. This practice also encourages a discipline that becomes an important part of your schedule.
Find a space in your home or office where you can study quietly and without distractions. All you need is a corner, that you can turn into your own, private space to spend time with God. I enjoy having this space set up as it creates the right mindset for me. If space is limited, a large tray that you can slide under a bed with all of the items needed for your study is a great idea.
I think having everything you need in order to really get into your study right at your fingertips is essential. Your Bible, highlighters, colored pens, sticky notes, a journal, or writing paper, are just a few things that can help you prepare your study space. Maybe even an essential oil diffuser and some music to create a beautiful atmosphere. The main goal is to have your area ready to go so you aren’t wasting time searching these items out each session.
Now that you have the tools you need, let’s discuss an actual BIBLE STUDY METHOD that works! Again, you can tweak any method to make it your own. Finding a system that works for you will be the main goal.
BIBLE STUDY METHOD – C.L.A.P.
I taught this easy-to-do method years ago and love it because it is easy to remember and to follow. I’ve said, “Studying the Bible is as easy as clapping your hands.”
Begin with one passage or one chapter as bite-sized chunks are much easier to navigate. We will use John 1, Chapter 1 verses 1-18 as an example.
C – CONTENT:
Who, what, where, when, how, and why are always great methods to understand what you are reading. I like to put this out in the margin of my paper or journal or create an area with this information. So, for this practice: WHO: Jesus, God, the Light, the Word, Flesh. WHAT: the beginning, the Word, to testify. WHEN: In the beginning. WHERE: the world. WHY: to bring the Light of the world (Jesus) so we can become children of God. HOW: Jesus became flesh on earth.
Once you’ve determined which passage or chapter you are reading, go through and read the entire portion first. Then begin bullet-pointing the main content within. So, here are the content bullet-points I used from these first 18 verses of John 1:
- The Light
- For all men to believe
- Gives light to every man
- Is the true light
- John came as a witness
- To testify to the light
- True light was in the world
- The world did not recognize Him
- Those who believed were given the right to become children of God
- Word became flesh
- We have seen His glory that came from the Father
- John testifies of His grace from Christ
- Law came from Moses, grace and truth from Jesus
- The One and only Son, who is God has made Himself known
From those bullet-point content notes, try and determine a couple of MAIN DIVISIONS. I chose to divide these passages in two divisions:
I. Jesus is Described (verses 1-9). II. Jesus THE Deliverer (verses 10-18). Divisions help to organize the content and if you were to teach or preach on a passage like this, it will help you with your overall message. Even if you are not teaching or preaching, however, this method will truly help you understand what you are studying.
L – LEARNED:
Knowing what you are learning as you study God’s Word is super important. Asking the right questions can help you pinpoint the major take-away lessons. I will try and determine at least one or two learning questions from each of my divisions:
I. Jesus is Described (verses 1-9). 1. How am I sharing Christ’s Light with others? 2. What am I doing to KNOW the Light?
II. Jesus THE Deliverer (verses 10-18) 1. Have I truly received Christ’s Light? 2. What does Grace & Truth mean to me personally?
A – APPLY:
Being able to apply these lessons to your own life is paramount. If we just take head knowledge without using it in our lives, we are wasting God’s purpose for us. Therefore, ask “How can I apply these principles to my life?”
- I can share Christ’s Light with my family. 2. I am learning more about God’s Light each time I study His Word.
- If I have received His Light, what am I doing with this Light in my life? What are some realistic methods I can use to share this Light with others?
P – PUT INTO ACTION:
Application is important but where the rubber meets the road is in the actual ACTION.
- I WILL share this message of truth and grace to my sister Ann.
- Living out the Light of Christ means my daily actions and words MUST reflect this Light.
That’s it! Why not get out a piece of paper or your journal and try this method out? If you are artistic, use your colored markers and have fun with your work. I tend to doodle all over the page and use different colors for the various sections. I really believe when you start systematically breaking down God’s Word into bite-sized segments, He will begin to show you more than you ever thought possible with your Bible study!
The main goal is of course to simply get into His Word. The Holy Spirit will be with you as you humbly endeavor to study. Many blessings to you as you seek God in a deeper, and renewed manner. I also have a PODCAST called EXHALE Bible Discovery that you are welcome to follow along as another form of Bible study. I hope that you will join me.