What is the one book that you could read over and over and over again? What is the one book that you SHOULD read over and over and over again? The answer is one and the same, the Bible.
We have the living Word of God in our hands and we must not take that for granted. But, how do we actually go about reading it every single day? How do we really study it?
Here are 5 ways to study the Bible.
1. Read The Bible
The first and most important way in which we study the Bible is by reading it ourselves. There is no replacement for owning a Bible and reading it on your own daily.
The example to follow is in Psalm 1, where the righteous man’s “delight is in the law of the Lord,” (Psalm 1:2). Jesus modeled this for us throughout His life by quoting the Old Testament. He even took time aside in the mornings to pray and be quiet (Mark 1:35).
It should be a delight to study God’ Word on our own. While it can feel like drudgery on some days, reading your Bible is the most important pursuit of your day! The Words of Scripture are what God uses to speak directly to us.
Hebrews 4:12 says, “for the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” The Bible is alive and God has given it to us to help us understand Him.
The song that you may have learned in Sunday School is very true: Read your Bible, pray every day and you’ll grow, grow, grow.
So, we must prioritize reading our Bible each day.
Whether you need to wake up an hour earlier, stay up an hour later, take your Bible with you to work and read over lunch, make it happen. Here are some specific Bible reading tips if you are a busy mom like me.
There will always be reasons to not read your Bible in life, so we must make it a daily habit that is unavoidable.
If you don’t know where to start reading, find a good Bible reading plan (here are some ideas), and follow it.
You could also read in Berean style (Acts 17:11) and go through the Scripture that your pastor is preaching through on Sundays.
Bible Reading Methods
There are many acronyms that are used for making observations from your daily Bible reading. Asking yourself questions like, “What does this passage say about God?” “What does it tell me about God’s character?” How does it point to Christ?” can be very helpful when reading through your Bible.
However, I prefer and would like to suggest a simpler approach.
Pray the words that Samuel prayed in 1 Samuel 3:10, “Speak, [Lord,] for your servant is listening.”
Ask the Lord to speak to you through what you are about to read.
To be clear, do not expect to audibly hear the Lord’s voice as Samuel did. But do expect to “hear God’s voice” in the pages of your Bible. He has given us His words in the Scriptures and that is how He speaks to us daily.
When you read your Bible, you are communing with God, so be sure to start off your Bible reading time in prayer.
Then, if you do enjoy journaling, write down any lessons you learned from the Scripture you read that day. Write out your prayerful response to the Lord after reading your verses. Then work on committing some of what you are reading to memory so that you can carry the Scriptures with you throughout the day.
2. Memorize Scripture
The second way to study the Bible is to memorize Scripture.
If our delight is found in the law of the Lord as the Psalmist says, then we need to continue the Psalmist’s example. In the next phrase he says, “and in his law he meditates day and night.”
In our day, that word meditate has been taken and distorted for us by Eastern religions. Their idea of meditation is to quietly and calmly empty your mind as you think of nothing.
For the believer, meditation is quite the opposite.
The Psalmist says to meditate IN God’s law, the Bible. Instead of emptying our minds so that there is nothing, we are to fill our minds with Scripture.
This counter-cultural definition of meditation is the one we need to follow.
The easiest way to memorize Scripture is to choose a passage that you are already reading and studying at church or on your own. For specifics on how to memorize Scripture, check out this blog post.
Keeping Scripture in our minds throughout the day will help you to mull over the truths of God’s Word. It will remind you of His presence with you throughout the day (Matthew 28:20) and also help you in your fight against sin (Psalm 119:11).
Memorizing and meditating on the words of Scripture will help you to study your Bible.
Be Careful of Your Time
These first two points have been all about what you can do on your own, though accountability in both of these areas would be helpful. The following three points are all things that you can do through others who have studied the Scripture for a long time and made resources available to you.
That being said, these last three points are really extras. There are many good books to read, good sermons to listen to, and good podcasts that are helpful, but if you truly don’t have the time to read or listen to them, then that is okay.
The main things that you should focus on if you’re short on time are reading your Bible on your own and memorizing verses. You must be a good steward of your time, so if your days are full with work, child care, or the duties of life, then focus on the first two.
If, however, you have more time or are a good multitasker, then these last three methods of Bible study will definitely help you!
3. Read Commentaries Alongside Scripture
As you are reading your Bible daily, maybe following a plan or reading through a certain book, find a good commentary to read alongside the Scripture.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to use a Study Bible. Study Bibles have notes about the verses on the same page of the verses you are reading. So they make it very easy to read the passage and then read any particular notes about the verses at the same time. I would definitely recommend the MacArthur study Bible. I’ve used it myself and it is very helpful when reading through Scripture. The ESV study Bible is also good.
Beyond reading with a study Bible, finding a commentary on the book of the Bible you are reading is extremely helpful in understanding the Scripture.
Commentaries are different than study Bibles in that they go into more depth and usually break down the books of the Bible verse by verse. Many scholars and pastors have written commentaries on different books of the Bible. Again, I would point you to John MacArthur’s commentaries on the NT. You can purchase them in a set or just purchase one for the particular book of the Bible you are reading. For the Old Testament and more ideas on which commentaries to purchase and read, I recommend taking a look at this post on the Ligonier website that outlines good commentaries on each book of the Bible.
Because commentaries are broken down piece by piece, they may take longer for you to read through than the Scripture. But that is an even better way to further meditate on the Scripture you are studying.
And when you read commentaries, you get to read from a scholar who has spent lots of time and money studying God’s Word. There is a lot to glean from a good commentary because they have put so much effort in. Reap those benefits.
Not only do scholars and pastors write commentaries for us to read, they also preach!
4. Listen to Sermons Regarding What You’re Reading
In addition to reading commentaries about the Scripture you’re studying, you can also listen to sermons.
There are many ways to find good sermons to listen to. There are many resources on the Grace to You website and on the Ligonier website. Searching on YouTube is also a great way to find good sermons. Just be sure that the person you are listening to aligns with what you believe. If you find a pastor online, you can most likely find his church’s website and read their statement of faith. That should help you find someone who would align with your views to listen to.
With modern technology you can find a sermon on every passage in Scripture. So, take a look online and find a sermon about the passage you are reading through. Maybe watch it while you are doing the dishes or folding laundry. Or, if you can, watch it on your couch with your Bible open, pen in hand.
Again, if there’s a chance to listen to someone who has spent many years, maybe even their whole career, focused on studying the Bible, then their sermons will be helpful to you.
Pastors’ and scholars’ sermons are there to help you better understand the Scriptures and God. So take advantage of their study and preparation by listening to them whenever you can.
5. Listen to Podcasts
The fifth way to study your Bible is by listening to podcasts.
Much like listening to sermons, listening to podcasts can also be very helpful in your study of the Bible. And just like sermons, there are many podcasts out there to listen to!
Many churches actually distribute their pastor’s sermons in podcast form, so that is an easy way to listen to sermons.
There are also podcasts like “Help Me Teach the Bible” that take you through different books of the Bible one at a time. There are some that answer Bible questions listeners send in. You can find a podcast about anything and everything.
While it may take some work to niche down and find a podcast that is truly helpful to you, it is worth the effort. Knowing that you can simply pull out your phone and listen to a solid podcast you found is very encouraging, especially in those busy seasons of less quiet time. So download a podcast app and try a few out to see what you like.
Did you know that I have a new podcast about theology for moms? Check it out here!
Studying Our Bibles Long Term
Knowing and loving the Bible is a life-long pursuit for the believer. We will forever be studying the Bible. That should not be a discouragement though. It is a reminder that our God is infinite. There is no limit to Him and the knowledge He can give us through His Word.
So do not be discouraged in your study of the Bible.
Even if you don’t understand everything, you are honoring the Lord in your pursuit of knowledge of Scripture. So take heart and start studying the Bible using these methods laid out for you today.
Then you can be just like the Psalmist and find our delight in the law of the Lord.
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