Attempting to get into the Bible can be intimidating, right? It’s a huge book, and we might not know where to start, but the Bible is so important. It is God‘s word to us.
We can't know who God is without reading His Word?
In it, we find His nature, character, what He likes, and what He dislikes. We find out who we are, how we should live, the Gospel of salvation, and the Person of Christ.
It is our food and our weapon that we fight against the enemy with. So, even if it is hard, we should be studying His word.
Where do we start?
I suggest the book of John if you have never read the Bible before. I know... the Bible is a book and you’d think to just open to the first page and go to Genesis, but it can be very confusing when you hit the book of Leviticus and wonder, “Where is Jesus? He is not here! I don’t see Him yet!”
And, you won’t see Him until you get to the New Testament...unless you are looking for Him intentionally in the Old Testament. So, I suggest that you start in The Gospel of John.
If you were reading the Bible before, but have stopped and you have already read the book of John... read it again. Or, prayerfully consider what the Lord might be leading you towards.
I don’t Have Time
I know a lot of people say that they don’t have time to read the Bible. We have so much to do: work, church stuff, family, and kids. But, here is the truth, we have so many things...that’s why we need the Word of God.
We don't have to spend two hours in the Bible every day. We can spend 30 minutes. Even 10 minutes with the Lord can be spent well. I do suggest that you pick a time limit. This way you will know that specific time will be for God.
Pick a spot
A lot of times we choose to read in bed. Then, we oftentimes fall asleep. Sometimes people reading in the bed is fine... it works for me. But, many times we need to get out of bed and to go find a spot that is quiet enough to concentrate but won’t help us fall asleep.
Put away the phone!
This is a necessity. When we are supposed to be studying, we oftentimes are checking our phones, looking on Instagram, looking on Facebook, and looking to see if we have a text message. Before you know it, we have to get up and go about our day.
We must make our time with the Lord special- set apart. One way is to put away the phone. So, girl, put away that phone!
The importance of prayer
One thing we often forget is prayer. The Bible is spiritually discerned. Before we rush into it, we need to stop and pray, asking the Lord to open our eyes to see spiritual things. Asking the Lord to soften our hearts to be able to bear good fruit instead of the Word falling on a stubborn heart. Asking the Lord to open our spiritual ears. We need prayer... so pray!
Stay In One Book
When reading I will strongly suggest that you stay in a book instead of skipping around, because at times we will stop feeling good emotions and will be tempted to go searching. We may be studying a book, but then run to another book that we know will give us those good and happy feelings again.
That is going to give us spot knowledge of the Bible and we are not going to understand the Bible as a whole story. The Bible is made up of 66 books, but it is one book and it tells one whole story- the Gospel of salvation and redemption.
It tells of Jesus coming to earth and Him coming back. We need to constantly be trying to read the whole Bible so that we can get the whole story. Instead of jumping around, try to stay in one book. When it gets hard pray through it.
Frustration during studying
One thing that may make us prone to skipping around the Bible is when we get frustrated in our quiet time. We might not be hearing a specific Word from God. We want to hear God say things like, “I am speaking directly to (insert your name.)” “I want you to do this specific thing.” This is tempting especially when we hear people saying, “God told me this; God told me that.”
Also, frustration can come when we are reading passages that we are very familiar with. It’s easy to think, “I already know this. I’m not learning anything new.” Well, sister, reading the Bible isn’t always about learning something new. And, more importantly, the Bible isn’t primarily about us. This time is not meant to be “me” focused.
It should renew our minds and it should teach us about God... even if we aren’t having the feel-good emotions (many times we need conviction). If we aren’t having a new profound revelation we should keep reading.
A lot of times, we will find ourselves in difficult situations where the Holy Spirit will remind us of passages that we were reading and didn’t even think it would have fruit. So stay in the passage, sis!
Context Is Important
When we are in the passage, remember that the books of the Bible were first written to someone else. So let’s take the letters for example. In the New Testament, the letters were first written to churches or people not to us. So, we need to be careful not to start assigning everything to us. This is taking things out of context.
Maybe even before we start reading we need to do a little bit of research and ask
1. Who was the book written to
2. Who is the author of the book
3. What was happening during that time that the book was written
4. When was it written
5. Why was it written
When we do this, we have a less likely chance of taking things out of context, which we do so often. Let’s rightly divide the Word of God.
Here are some tips for when we are actually in the text, while we are reading. We have our Bible, our coffee, and everything else set out... let's go!
Read the passage several times.
We can become so familiar with hearing the passage so often that we miss details that are important and details that really can help us. We can think, “I’ve read this; I know this..” and then start skimming the Bible instead of truly reading it. So, stop and read it, and read it again, and read it again, and maybe read it again.
Next, look for the characteristics of God. Does it say that God is good, righteous, or faithful in love?
Look for things about man. Is man weak is? Is man sinful?
Look for glimpses of Christ. This can even be in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament, there are glimpses of Christ everywhere! He is the Rock, the Ark when the flood came, the Seed in the woman in Genesis 3. There is so much Christ everywhere look for Him.
Look for shadows of the gospel. Even ask how does this passage fit into the story of the Gospel. The creation, fall, redemption, and restoration.
Keep at the forefront of your mind that Scripture is first about God, not about me. This will help you to not pick words out of context from “me-centered” reading. Look for God. Then look for the application.
So, then how does this affect our lives?
Many times we read and we get good treasures? But we fail to apply it to our lives.
Not applying it? What good is that?
Is there a command to follow, something that we need to repent of? Is there a way that Jesus walked that we need to walk in as well? Are there ways that we need to praise God? Is there something that we saw in ourselves in light of the gospel towards Christ?
Then... asked the Lord to help you apply it in your everyday personal life. Make it specific, not general!
Journaling in Bible Study
This might be helpful if you make notes in the margins of your Bible. Underline. Highlight. Write.
Some people don’t like this and that’s totally fine. You can also journal. You can journal alongside note-taking in your Bible or you can just do everything in a notebook. That’s cool because you can look back and see what you’ve learned.
I have used the ESV single column journaling Bible for a long time. I love it! I was recently gifted a CSB note-taking Bible, and it has the same set-up as the ESV Bible except that it has a different translation. Also, there are entire blank pages throughout the Bible for note-taking. Another good one is the ESV Study Bible.
You might be thinking, this is a lot and that you don’t have time for it. Again, you can do this with one verse. You can do this with short passages. You do not have to read one chapter a day. Just so you know, I rarely read one chapter at a time.
You can read a lot if you’re trying to get through the Bible in one year or in a specific amount of time. But, if you’re not in a season where you can't do that, just read small sections with your mind and your heart.
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These were some ways of how to study the Bible. Comment here or direct message me on Instagram your thoughts.
The next post is on how to grow closer to God!
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PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSING FLOW!