My first attempts to study the Bible were not very successful. Actually, my first attempts to read it weren’t either. I remember sitting in the living room of my grandmother’s house, and taking a wide book from the shelf, I was between 7 and 9 years old.

On several visits, I opened it and began to read. It was nothing like other books I had read before. The structure of the books was different, and the story I read didn’t make any sense. I remember that in big letters it said: GENESIS, and I didn’t get past that first page. After various attempts, I gave up.

Since I started attending church, I have spent many hours reading the Bible without understanding it or not knowing what to do with what I have been reading. After more than 20 years in this process of studying the Bible, I feel much more prepared to study and teach it.

Perhaps you are just as lost as I have been before, and you are asking yourself some of these questions: How do you read this book? Why, ever since I started attending church, they have been so insistent that I read it? I read the Bible frequently, but I don’t understand it, what do I do?

I will share 12 tips that will be very useful to you, whether you are just starting to study the Bible or need to understand it better. Studying the Bible impacts every area of ​​our lives. That’s why it is important to get better at the discipline of studying the bible.

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What do we mean by studying the Bible?

I love reading, and we can read for many reasons, for entertainment, to learn, etc. When we talk about studying the Bible, we mean more than just reading it. We refer to making an intentional reading with the purpose of knowing God, understanding what we read in its context so that we can then apply it to our daily life.

Studying the Bible is a process and a discipline, it will be easier, and we will do better the more we practice it.

Why is it important to study the Bible?

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.  2 Timothy 3:16-17

The Bible is the word of God, and this is enough to know him. It is through the Bible that we know Christ and his redemptive work for us. Scripture has the authority to transform our lives. As we read it, we will be confronted with our sins. In addition, we will see that the more we study it, we will find the balance that we long for in our lives.

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How to start reading the bible?

Let’s make this clear, when you start studying the bible you will not have all the answers to your questions, you won’t understand everything, and that is ok. Expect the process to be a difficult one; so you can move forward use the tips below.

First, if you are part of a local church, start with those books that are being taught at your church. If you don’t already have a local church, start your search. Second, talk to a sister in Christ to be your accountability partner in your progress. You can ask her questions about any doubts that arise, you can ask her for suggestions on which book to study and share with her what you are learning. Ask her to be praying for you while you exercise in this discipline.

What do you need to study the Bible?

We recommend having these tools available:

  • Printed Bible. Although you can read the Bible on your phone or computer, it can also be easily distracting, so rather use a paper one.
  • Notebook and a pencil. This will be very useful for you to take your notes, including questions that arise during the reading. Although markers and colors are useful, as we will see later, they are not essential for the study. After you develop your discipline and learn other study methods, you can incorporate them.
  • English dictionary. During your reading, you will find words that we do not use on a daily basis. Use a dictionary to help you check them and make sure you have the correct meaning in mind while reading.

12 Useful Bible Study Tips

Create a study plan

As a guide, you can select a plan or a reading challenge. But more than looking for an ideal plan, you need to make three decisions: which book of the Bible are you going to study, what time are you going to do it, and where are you going to do your study.

These decisions will vary according to the season you are in, the most important thing is that you are realistic in your plans. Prepare a plan that you can fulfill, the least we want is to start a plan that we cannot follow and that leads us to discouragement.

Be Consistent

This goes hand in hand with the study plan you establish, whether you decide to do your study two days a week or every day. The important thing is that you are consistent. Also think about how much time you are going to dedicate to your study. Set reminders or alarms to help you, separate the time in your agenda as if you had to attend work or a critical appointment.

Pray: before, during and after your study time

Antes de comenzar tu estudio para que el Señor te dé sabiduría y hambre por su Palabra. Durante el tiempo de estudio, cuando te sientas confrontada, haz una oración de arrepentimiento. ¿Te sorprendió algo del carácter de Dios? Levanta una oración de adoración. Cuando cierres tu tiempo de estudio, pídele al Señor que su palabra pase de ser conocimiento a transformar tu corazón.

Before beginning your study, pray for the Lord to give you wisdom and hunger for his Word. During study time, when you feel confronted, say a prayer of repentance. Did anything about God’s character amazed you? Raise a prayer of worship. When you close your study time, ask the Lord that his word will go from being knowledge to transforming your heart.

Use a method of studying the bible

We already mentioned that we don’t just want to read the Bible, but we want to be intentional about knowing God and understanding what we read in its context. To achieve this, we need to follow a study method so that we do not fall into the error of giving our own meaning to the Bible. We recommend trying one of the following:

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Take Notes

As you answer the questions in the method you select, make notes in your notebook, so you can refer to them later. You can also take notes in the margin of the Bible or mark some verses. For me, the most important thing is that the notes are legible so that I can use them on another occasion.

I like to take digital notes in this Bible Study Journal, but as we mentioned before, use what you have available at the moment.

Consider the context

If you haven’t yet chosen a method to follow, still try to consider the context of what you’re studying. Answer the following questions about the book or portion you are studying:

  • Who wrote it?
  • When was it written?
  • Who was it writing to?
  • Why was it writing to them?
  • What is the literary genre?

Look up definitions

We already mentioned that you need access to a dictionary. It is necessary that we clarify the meaning of words, so that we can better understand what we are reading. Having the correct definition of the words is of great importance to understand the original message of the text. It’s a simple tip, but don’t overlook it.

Cross-references and concordances

Almost all bibles have notes or references in one form or another. After doing the tips above, take a look at those references. They can help you understand past stories, learn more about the characters, and see other passages on the same topic.

I don’t advise you to do it at the beginning of your study, to give yourself the opportunity to answer the questions in the methods by yourself. Then, use the notes and references to confirm or expand on what the main text says.

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Identify the Meta Narrative

The bible consists of 66 books that seem to be 66 different stories, but these are actually parts of one great story: the story of redemption. The Big Story has four parts: Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration. I invite you to read more about The Big Story of the Bible.

Be Patient

It will take time for you to develop the discipline of studying the Bible, and you must be patient. Someday you will not have the encouragement to do it, other the days it will be difficult to complete your study plan. Adjust the plan if necessary, and return to being consistent. You may think or feel that you still don’t understand what you read. It is there that you will seek the help of a mature sister, leaders, or your pastor. One step at a time, you will notice how using these tips and methods will be easier.

Meditate on the Word

In the study, we are intentional not to simply read, but to understand what we read. By meditating on the Word, we go from learning data and facts to applying it to our daily lives. We pray that the word will move from our minds into our hearts. We are honest when the word confronts us, and we pray that the Lord transforms us. Review your notes, read the passages several times, and keep the Word in your mind even outside your study time.

Memorize Verses

We can’t be reading the Bible all the time, so we need to memorize it. While we do it, we will continue to meditate. Memorizing scripture will encourage us in difficult moments to remember God’s truth and will help us share the gospel with others. In addition, it will remind us that we live every day before the Lord. I share with you 7 helps to memorize the Bible.

Recommended Resources

FAQ about Studying the Bible

Yes, in Psalm 1:2 he tells us: But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night. Although you should set aside specific times to study the Bible, you should read the Bible daily.

You can start at the beginning and read it in order. If you are reading or studying the Bible for the first time, I recommend that you read the book that is being preached in your local church or one of the gospels.

Conclusion

Studying the Bible is not an optional activity for Christians, it is a necessity. It must be part of our daily life. There will be days when it will be easier than others. Even so, we must be consistent and grow in this discipline.

Just as an athlete trains and exercises to be better each day in his sport, we should exercise ourselves in studying the bible for each day, “rightly handle the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2 :15

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