Here are some tips on how to make the most of your time spent studying scripture, as well as some recommended resources that can help you get started!
What is studying the Bible?
Studying the bible is reading the bible with a particular purpose. Studying the bible focuses more on being open to what God might say, rather than wanting or needing a specific result from God. Studying the Bible helps you understand why things are said and done in certain ways. Studying scripture helps build faith and internalize teachings that help us become.
This practice is more about spending time reading or listening to scripture for the purpose of gaining insight into what it means, how it applies to daily life, and why it’s being shared. Studying goes a little deeper into reading in that you examine the cultural context, the background of the author, check out the text in the original language, and more. This can look different for everyone depending on the goal.
Currently, I am taking Greek and Hebrew for my M.Div so when I open my scriptures I am looking at the original text to see how to translate the scriptures. I’m learning new things about God in an exciting way simply by learning that the Greeks had numerous words for love with all very different meanings. Studying the bible is meant to take thought, time, work, and effort.
Studying does not have to be complicated or overwhelming either-it can look like simply reading through your scripture for 5 minutes before bed every night while also looking up words you don’t know (and their context) or understanding the literary style of the book you are reading. I personally love a good word study where I can cross-reference other verses for a clearer and more whole picture of what God is trying to teach me. It just makes more sense to me this way. I do the same thing when I do a topical study.
Studying can come in all different forms! Trust me, you don’t need to be in seminary to study the bible.
I recorded a podcast with my friend Naomi on this very subject to explain some of the literary styles in the bible and how to do a deeper study from that stance. You can listen to it here.
What is reading the Bible?
Reading the bible is what most of us feel lucky enough to do. Reading the Bible is one of the most important things a Christian can do. It’s not just a book of stories, but it contains God’s word to us.
This is much more familiar to us as we learn more about God and Jesus Christ. When we read the bible, we are looking to see what this passage can teach me personally and look for some spiritual growth in a more immediate context. There’s nothing wrong with reading the scriptures to simply read the scriptures.
I love going through all my old bibles and seeing what passages spoke to me at different times in my life and what the Holy Spirit was working through me at that particular time in my life.
Reading the bible is more about familiarity with God and His character and less about the details. And that’s okay! Especially if you’re a new believer. Diving into Greek culture or the symbolism of the tabernacle can feel so overwhelming when you’re starting out so I promise there is a time and place for reading, not studying.
The Bible was created to be read. God wanted us to read His word and praise God in the process as we learn more about Him. However, we must strike a balance between reading for familiarity and studying God’s word as it was meant to be studied.
Grab a concordance
My concordance is my best friend when it comes to an in-depth bible study. A concordance is simply a book with every possible topic covered in the Bible and a list of every scripture reference for that topic. This is incredibly helpful when comparing concepts from the Old Testament and New Testament or when I just simply need a clearer understanding of a topic and need a whole picture.
My concordance has been so helpful when it comes to helping me make sense of what I’m reading and studying. I think is super helpful for new Christians who aren’t entirely sure where to go in the bible for specific verses when asked about a particular topic. The concordance is going to help breed familiarity with the scriptures and help you see the Bible as a source of truth on any subject.
Here is my favorite concordance. This is a great resource and it honestly never leaves my desk.
Part of studying your scriptures is doing a background check. Who is the author? What was their life like? What was happening in the area at that time? What literary style is this text in?
Finding out some of the background of what you’re reading and who is writing it is a very practical way to derive deeper meaning from the text. Studying the text this way ensures that you don’t simply skim over it or misinterpret what was written.
I’ve seen verses taken way out of context by non-Christians because they simply didn’t understand the culture and what the author was actually saying. Studying the scripture for its background will help prevent this from happening to you as a believer.
Learn from other Bible Scholars
Honestly, this was instrumental for me. As I came from a church that had a skewed theology, I didn’t really know how to read my scriptures let alone study them. So I found myself trusted theologians and that made all the difference.
I turned to sources like:
- Women in Apologetics
- Alisa Childers
- Lee Strobel
- J. Warner Wallace
- John MacArthur
- Sean McDowell
- C.S. Lewis
- & many others
And just reading their analysis helped me to understand what I was reading. Studying your Bible can be done all on your own, but if you’re stuck and don’t know where to start, these resources will help immensely! They’ll bring new insight that you may not have considered.
One piece of advice, just because they are trusted theologians does not mean you need to accept what they say at face value. Take the information and digest it. Take that insight to the Lord and study it for yourself and verify the accuracy.
Because I come from a place where we were told to trust the leaders blindly, I do believe in just checking and verifying what you’re told by others. We’re all capable of making mistakes and I’d hate for you to take a mistake by a theologian and take it as gospel. Okay, I’m off my soapbox!
Remember, this is an ever evolving process
Studying the Bible is a powerful tool for improving your spiritual life. However, this is an ever-evolving process. We will always be learning and growing. Our bible study methods will change. Sometimes we will study the entire bible. Sometimes we pick a random verse to study. Sometimes we’re focused on the Greek and Hebrew (like I am right now) and sometimes it’s about the Deity of Jesus Christ. Know that it doesn’t matter what your study time looks like. It doesn’t have to be something formal. It’s really just about you and a deeper relationship with your Creator.
Studying the Bible is a great way to get to know God and His Word better. It can help you learn more about who He is, what He has done for us, and what His plans are for the future. Reading your Bible is a good way to get started, but don’t stop there! Studying scripture will give you a deeper understanding of the Bible and how it applies to your life. There are many resources available to help you get started, so don’t hesitate to dive in! Mama, you can do this. I know your time is limited. I know you’re busy. But I promise, just 5 minutes a day can make a difference in your world and your relationship with God.
If you need some help studying, download my free study sheets that you can print and use over and over again.
Just know, you don’t need to go at this alone. Studying the Bible doesn’t have to be a scary or overwhelming thing. You can do this mama.