Do you remember when you first started reading your bible? I sure do! I would often jump from book to book, opening the bible at random pages and praying that a scripture would jump out at me.
Let’s be honest - this ‘method’ of going through the bible isn't really a method at all. When I was doing this, I was only taking in bits and pieces of scripture. I was reading those pieces of scripture out of context, and I wasn't gaining an in-depth knowledge or understanding of the bible.
Have you ever done this before? Maybe this is what your bible study used to look like too, or maybe it's what it looks like now. Maybe you read short daily devotionals and take in the Word that way. I love daily devotionals, but you and I need more than that. We need more than to consume the Gospel through someone else's experience of it. We need to know it and love it for ourselves.
But reading the bible can be hard. What book do you start reading? How much should you read - a short passage, an entire chapter or a whole book? And how on earth do you study it so you can grow in your understanding of the bible and in your relationship with God.
I've found an effective and enjoyable way to study the bible. This method has CHANGED the way I read the bible - it helps me stay focused, and makes it personal to my life so that I can grow in my relationship with God. Read on for four simple tips for an effective bible study.
1. Choose a book to study
First, research the books in the bible and the sort of topics you’d like to cover - then choose one to get started with! If you're stuck on a place to start, I recommend familiarising yourself with the gospels, as they detail Jesus’ life and ministry on earth. The Gospel of John is a great place to start, as it focuses on who Jesus is, and not just on what he did on earth. If you want a guided study, I've created a free, 21-day bible reading plan to help you navigate the book of John. Enter your email address below to get it sent to your inbox right away.
2. Read a chapter a day.
When it comes to studying the bible, you don't need to overwhelm yourself by trying to read everything. Sometimes less is so much more. This isn't a race to the last page, it's a time to dive deep and understand God.
I recommend starting out by reading one chapter a day. If you find that too much, simply break the chapter down into a few sections. Most bibles use headings to break down each chapter into sections. If you find one chapter too much, try studying one section a day instead.
3. Write your thoughts!
I don't know about you, but I tend to remember things better when I write them down. I also love looking back on the thoughts that I've written to go over what I've learnt and to see what God has done in my life.
I always have a dedicated notebook that I write in while I study the bible. I recommend you get a journal, as well. Choose something that you like, and that will make journaling fun. If you don’t have a journaling bible, this one is my favourite, and this one is great too.
I also like using journaling bibles. Journaling bibles include a blank column on either side of the text on each page so that you can write out your thoughts and underline words and phrases that jump out at you as you study. Make your bible study fun (and pretty) by using coloured pens and highlighters to make your notes. If you’re looking for some bible-safe pens and highlighters, I like these ones.
4. Get out a notebook and pens - I love this journal.
Use the S.O.A.P method to analyse the passage and apply it to your life - it’s a simple and effective way to get more out of your bible study.
S.O.A.P stands for Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer. For each chapter you go through, you're going to make notes about each of these four things. Next to each letter you will write down the following.
S: The 'S' stands for scripture. Next to the 'S', write down the verse or verses that stuck out to you in your reading.
O: The 'O' stands for observation. Next to the 'O', write down what you observed about the scripture. This could be a word, verse, idea, action that caught your attention.
A: The 'A' stands for application. Next to the 'A', write down how you can you practically apply the observation so that it affects your life today.
P: The 'P' stands for prayer. Next to the 'P', write out a prayer to God based on what you just learned and ask him to help you apply this truth to your life.
This method will help you go deeper with your understanding of the bible and its application to your life.
I look forward to hearing about how these four simple steps help you get more out of your bible study time.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
I'd love to hear your thoughts. How do you study your bible? What tips and tools do you find helpful? Comment and let me know.