WHY SHOULD YOU STUDY YOUR BIBLE?
There are many reasons why we study our Bible.
Did you know that the Bible is one of the world’s best selling books, and it has been, in either part or full, translated into thousands of languages!
The Bible is an amazing book and is full of historical and archaeological facts, but the most amazing thing about the Bible is that is the Word of God, and it reveals God’s truth to us.
There are many reasons why we should study the Bible, and I want to just unpack a few of them below.
1. To Know God Better
The Bible is God’s Word, along with sending His son Jesus into the world, it is how He has chosen to reveal Himself to us. Through reading the Bible we can see who God is, His love, His power, His provision, His plans. The Bible reveals how God sees and loves us, how He has revealed Himself to us throughout history, His plans for us and His great love for us and His desire to be in a relationship with us.
Just as we get to know our loved ones more by spending time with them, by reading the Bible and spending time with God in His Word we can get to know Him better as well.
2. To Gain Wisdom
Wisdom is a great asset to have in life. It gives insight and helps us to make good choices, thereby avoiding the regret and guilt that comes from making mistakes and poor choices.
Psalm 19:7 tells us that God’s Word is perfect, that His promises are sure, and that His Word gives wisdom.
By reading God’s Word, studying it, and applying it to our lives we can tap into that wisdom that comes from God.
3. To Receive Guidance
The wisdom found in God’s Word gives us principles and guidelines by which we can live our lives.
In Psalm 119:105 it tells us that God’s Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. When we are not sure what to do, or which way to turn, God’s Word can give light to our path and direction for our lives.
4. To Transform Our Character
In 2 Timothy 3:16 we are told that God’s Word is good for teaching, correcting and for training in righteousness. The Bible is not just God’s love letter to us, but it is also an instruction manual on how to live our best lives. As we read God’s Word, study it and apply it we are transformed by the renewing of our minds, becoming more like Him (Romans 12:2)
By immersing ourselves in God’s Word, living by it’s principles, and growing in our relationship with God we can grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).
5. To Prepare Ourselves For Ministry
When talking about ministry here I am not referring to a vocational calling on a person’s life to become a Minister of the Word, or a Priest, or a Crusade Evangelist.
The Bible tells us in Ephesians 2:10 that we are God’s handiwork and that we have been created to do good works, to serve Him and bring glory to Him, this is our ministry.
God has a plan for each of our lives and He has a purpose for us. As we spend time in God’s Word He is teaching us, training us and preparing us to serve Him better.
God works in us so that we can be a light for Him.
6. To Recognise False Teaching
In order to know what is false it is firstly important to know what is truth.
John 17:17 says God’s Word is truth. Knowing the truth will shine a light on the darkness and reveal false and deceptive teaching.
The Bible encourages us to test all things (1 Thessalonians 5:21) and to hold on to what is true. It also promises us that if we abide in God’s Word we will know the truth, the truth will set us free (John 8:31-32).
7. To Share With Others
We can’t give what we don’t already have.
How can we share God’s love, and the truth and promises of His Word if we don’t know or understand them ourselves.
Sharing what we have learned in our quiet times with God is a great way to encourage others in their faith journey.
In the Great Commission, Jesus last words on earth to His disciples as He was taken up to heaven were that they should go in to all the world and share with others what He had taught them (Matthew 28:19-20). This commission is for us today too. God wants us to be His messengers on earth, sharing the good news of Jesus with our world.
REASONS WE DON’T STUDY HIS WORD
We can look at all the reasons above as to why we should study the Bible but sometimes we can still find it a struggle.
I get that it’s not always easy and that life can often get in the way.
Let’s unpack some of the reasons why we don’t study our Bible and look at how we can overcome these barriers.
1. It’s Boring
If this is you, then you are not alone.
Even for those of us who love studying God’s Word, there can be times in our lives when it can seem dry, and dare I say, boring.
But the Word of God is anything but boring, so how do we get past this block and into enjoying God’s Word?
We can start by asking for help. God has promised to give us the Holy Spirit and that He will teach us the things of the spirit (1 Corinthians 2:12-13). Ask the Holy Spirit to give you a love for God’s Word and to open your eyes to see and understand what God wants to show you in His Word (Psalm 119:18).
Maybe try some creative approaches to God’s Word like Coloring Scripture, or Scripture Journaling to help you break the barrier and get into the Word.
2. I Don’t Have Time
Life is busy, no doubt about it, but spending time in God’s Word needs to be a priority if you want to grown in your relationship with Him.
Bible study doesn’t have to be time consuming, and you can spend as much or as little time as you have available, the important thing is that you are setting aside some time for it.
There are many ways to spend time in God’s Word that don’t have to take big chunks out of your day.
One way is by listening to God’s Word, it’s a great way to soak in Scripture and you can do it while you are driving, cooking, or walking! There are apps you can get to help you work through the whole Bible or books of the Bible, all while multi-tasking.
3. It’s Hard
It can seem hard to study the Bible, especially if you are new to it.
Sometimes the language can be confusing, sometimes it can be difficult to understand the story, or the context. This is where Bible study tools can help.
There are many resources available that can help you to study and understand the Bible. There are study books to help you, commentaries which can explain meanings and contexts, and Bible dictionaries can explain words and meanings.
You many find some of my resources helpful too, you can check them out here.
There are different versions of the Bible too that are written in a more user friendly way than some of the older versions and the casual language may make it easier for you to get more out of your study.
4. I Don’t Know How To
Not knowing how to start can sometimes be the hardest part.
Starting with the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke or John, in the New Testament can be a good place to begin. Learning about the life of Jesus and what He has done for us is a great foundation.
Using tools like Bible Reading Plans or methods like SOAP will give you a place to start.
I want to make it easy and fun to study your Bible by providing you with information and tools to make it less complicated and break down those barriers so that you can enjoy spending time in God’s Word.
The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God stands forever.
Isaiah 40:8 WEB
HOW TO STUDY YOUR BIBLE
There are many ways to study the Bible, and many methods used by different people.
The key is to find the method that works for you.
Try a few different methods and see which one you feel the most comfortable with and which one maximises your time spent studying the Bible.
1. ACRONYM STUDIES
SOAP is a simple acronym which stands for Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer.
It is an easy to remember 4 step process for studying God’s Word.
- Scripture – read and write out the Scripture you are studying
- Observation – meditate on what you have read and ask God to show you something from His Word
- Application – ask God to show you how you can apply His truth to your life
- Prayer – write out a prayer that reflects what God has shown you
The APPLE method of studying God’s Word was created by Arabah Joy and requires you to read through the passage of Scripture a number of times. The first time read through just to get an overview of what is being said. Read through the passage again a few more times and with each reading look for these:
- Attributes of God on your second reading
- Promises of God on your third reading
- Principles for Life on your fourth reading
- Lessons Learned on your fifth reading, and
- Examples to Follow on your sixth reading
It is a simple way of dissecting a passage and making observations about the passage.
The GROW method was created by Artistic Hands of Faith and is an acronym of Greet, Read, Observe, and Write.
- Greet by inviting God to be a part of your Bible study through prayer
- Read through the passage of Scripture at least a couple of times, to gain an understanding of it
- Observe by making observations about the things you read and anything that stood out to you
- Write out the Scripture and any observations you made and then write a prayer to reflect what you have learned.
Another acronym for studying the Bible is HEAR, created by Ladies Drawing Nigh, and it stands for His Word, Examine It, Apply It, and Respond in Prayer. This method starts with prayer, asking God that you will hear His voice.
- His Word is next and requires you to read through the passage of Scripture a couple of times and then recording the verse, or verses, that spoke to you
- Examine It where you observe and record two or three facts that stand out to you. For this step the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How questions can be helpful
- Apply It where you personalize what you have learnt whether it’s a command to obey, a sin to confess, a promise to claim, and write it down
- Respond in Prayer is where you can respond to God in prayer and talk with Him about what you have learned
REAP stands for Read, Examine, Apply, Pray and is not dissimilar to the HEAR method.
- Read the passage and underline anything that stands out to you
- Examine the passage by spending time reflecting on what you have read and asking yourself questions about the passage and writing down one or two key verses or points from what you have read
- Apply where you can ask yourself, “What is God saying to me today”? “How will I live or act differently because of what I have learnt”? and “Is there anything in my life that I need to change as a result of what I have learnt”?
- Pray to finish your time asking God to help you to live out what you have learnt
The POWER method stands for Pray, Observe, Write, Envision, Respond and was created by Kait at Love Mother Blog.
- Pray before reading through the Bible passage you have chosen
- Observe and ask yourself what does this teach me about God and, or, about myself
- Write out a verse from the passage that has meaning to you
- Envision how this can apply to your life
- Respond to God in prayer, talking with Him about what you have learned
In this method PRAISE stands for Pray, Read, Assess, Investigate, Submit, Express.
- Pray and ask God to show you what to study, ask Him to open your eyes and your heart and to enlighten you
- Read the book or the passage and read it in the context of what is being said and who it is being said to
- Assess and mull over the passage, the words and phrases, thinking through what they mean and how they can apply to your life
- Investigate, this is where you can dig a little deeper, looking into the history, the cultures and traditions and the background of the passage, looking up words and their meanings
- Submit your heart, your thoughts, your whole self to God and allow His Holy Spirit to mold you to be more Christ-like
- Express and live out what you have learned so the world around you can see by your words and your life that you are a follower of Jesus
WORD stands for Write, Observe, Relevant, Declare and was created by Erika at A Symphony of Praise.
- Write out the passage you are studying and then read through it a couple of times
- Observe the passage and ask yourself questions about it using the 5 W’s of Who, What, Where, When and Why
- Relevant is looking at how this passage relates to you, how can you make it personal, what instructions or teachings can you apply to your own life
- Declare and pray God’s Word over your life, claim His promises and declare the changes you are going to make in your life from the applications you have made
FEAST was created by Asheritah at One Thing Alone and it stands for Focus, Engage, Assess, Spark, Turn.
- Focus your heart and mind on God, asking Him what He wants you to learn
- Engage by reading the passage and writing it down, making observations as you do and asking yourself what it is saying
- Assess the main idea of the passage and ask yourself what it meant to its original audience
- Spark is asking yourself how this applies to you and asking the Holy Spirit to spark a transformation in you
- Turn your heart and mind toward God and ask Him how you should respond
REST stands for Read, Engage, Savor, Takeaway and was created by Kaylene Yoder.
Read a short passage of Scripture and spend time digging deeper into what it is saying. Engage with the passage by writing it out and underlining any verses that stand out to you or that you feel a connection to
Savor the passage by asking yourself questions about it, and looking into the background, history and context of it. Look up meanings and definitions of words and phrases to give you a better understanding
Takeaway is the main lesson you want to takeaway from your study time. A lesson or revelation that you want to take with you into your day to encourage yourself and to use to encourage others.
2. TOPICAL STUDIES
Doing a Topical Bible study involves studying a specific topic in the Bible.
It could be studying a word or phrase, a thought or a person, anything really where you want to follow a theme or a thread throughout Scripture.
Choose your topic and start researching. Using a Bible dictionary or concordance can help you get started and many Bibles have study tools and footnotes that can also be helpful.
- Pray – Its always a good idea to start your bible study in prayer and ask God to lead you to a topic He wants you to study
- Choose a topic – There are many different topics you can choose from in the bible. It may be something that you have been learning at church or in your local bible study, or something God has pout on your heart to understand deeper.
- Look up – Start by looking up different refernecs for the topic you ave chosen. There are may free online tools t help you do this or if you have a study bible you might find some refeences in the back. You could end uo with a pretty big list so you can just choose a few that stand out to you to write down.
- Read & Observe – Read the passages and take a deeper look at what is being said. This process can take as long as you want it too. You may reflect on one verse a day or go through them all in one sitting. Think about the passage, what you have observed and what you think God is saying and write those observations down.
- Apply – Think about how this can apply to your life and what God wants you to do in response to what He is saying. Write these down for reflection later.
- Pray – pray about the things you have learned and how you can apply it in your life.
If you would like to read more about how to do a Topical Bible study click here.
3. CHARACTER STUDY
The Bible is full of the lives and stories of many people and there is much we can learn from them.
When doing a character study, you choose a person you want to learn more about and start researching them.
Start by writing down all the references in the Bible that refer to that person.
Using a good Bible dictionary and concordance can be helpful in your research.
Meditate on what you discover, write down your discoveries, look at what you can learn from the person, and ask yourself what lessons you can apply to your own life.
4. READ THROUGH THE BIBLE
There are many Bible reading plans available that can lead you through God’s Word in a year, or in two or three years.
You can choose to read the Bible from cover to cover, or you can read through it chronologically, where you follow through the Bible along an historical timeline.
There are also Bible reading plans which give both an Old Testament and a New Testament passage to read each day.
Reading through the Bible in a year can give a great overview to Scripture and, especially when reading chronologically, can give an understanding of the timeline of the history of the Bible.
5. CREATIVE BIBLE STUDY
Studying the Bible creatively can be a fun way to approach Scripture.
It’s a different way of approaching Scripture which can open up and allow us to see God’s Word in a different light.
God’s Word is so exciting, but sometimes we can get in a rut with how we approach it, especially if we do things the same way all the time.
Try mixing things up a bit, put some creativity into your Bible study, it can be a very relaxing way to spend time in God’s Word.
Listening to Scripture
Audio versions of the Bible are readily available and a convenient and easy way to soak up the Scriptures by listening to them and it can be done anywhere anytime.
Scripture Journaling involves keeping a journal where you record the Scripture you are reading along with words, truths, verses and your thoughts about the passage.
Writing Out Scripture
Choosing a passage of Scripture and writing it out is a great way to slow down and focus on what you are reading and writing.
You can be creative with writing out the scriptures by using gel pens, textas, watercolors or paints.
Color coding your Bible is a fun way to engage with Scripture.
You can use colored pencils, felt pens or highlighters to color your Bible, highlighting topics and themes throughout.
Color coding is a fun and practical way to enjoy Scripture.
Draw or Paint Scripture
Expressing your thoughts and feelings about Scripture with drawings and paintings is a beautiful way to engage with God’s Word and can be a very relaxing experience.
Coloring in is very relaxing and a lovely way to engage with Scripture as you color words or verses, allowing time for you to meditate on them as you go. I have lots of Scripture coloring in that you can download for free from my website. As well as a Printable Coloring Through The Psalms book in my shop.
Stickers are another fun way to enhance your Bible study time. They can be used to highlight verses, passages, and truths God is showing you. The can be used on their own or you can use them along with Color Coding your Bible and Scripture Journaling.
6. INDUCTIVE BIBLE STUDY
The Inductive Bible Study method is all about making observations, interpreting those observations, and then applying them to your life.
When making observations ask yourself questions like, who is the author, when was it written, why was it written, what was the history around that time. You can write out the passage in your own words, which will help you to have a better understanding of what you are reading, and make a note of anything you may not understand or would like to follow up on. Make use of the cross references to gain further understanding as you seek to interpret the passage.
Take what you have learned and make it personal by applying the lessons to your own life and write out your application.
7. BY BOOK
Tackling a book of the Bible to study may seem intimidating at first, but it can be very rewarding. It is a very different approach from following a topic and can allow you to go much deeper into the Word. It will require several readings of the book to get the most out of it. It will be helpful to do some research into the background of the book and the context in which it was written.
Resources such as commentaries, Bible dictionaries and concordances can be helpful but don’t let them take the place of your own observations. As you read through the book you will want to make an outline. Often your Bible will have chapter and section headings which can assist you. Look for key words and phrases, themes and ideas and choose some key verses that stand out to you.
Write down the things you learn along the way and make an application to your life. You may even like to try committing some of your key verses to memory.
Whichever method you embrace be sure to begin with prayer.
Using resources such as Bible commentaries, Bible dictionaries and Bible concordances are helpful, but try using them as a supplement after you have made your own observations and applications, don’t allow them to overshadow what God may be saying to you.
Always look to apply the Word of God, as James 1:22 encourages us to be doers of the Word and not hearers only.
Enjoy studying God’s Word and be blessed!