If the Bible is our guidebook, then surely we need to know how
it. However, it’s often difficult to find a practical Bible Study Guide.
that be the reason why many people don’t study their Bible? I don’t
know for certain, as I’m sure there are a myriad of reasons why people
don’t study the Bible. However, I think most are like I was a few years
ago - I just didn’t know how to study the Bible, nor did I really
I took my Bible to church with me every Sunday
and in college it actually rode around in the passenger seat of my car
many days, but read it? - no, it was to follow along with the Pastor on
Sunday so he could explain it to me.
those of you who are like I was, below is a practical Bible study guide
that I’ve learned and used successfully over the past few years.
My Bible Study Guide - A Five Step Process
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that
needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
- 2 Timothy 2:15 KJV
personal Bible study guide includes this simple five step process.
Using it, I’ve discovered my study time is more effective and
understand more about Bible.
Step 1: Pray
Before you even open your
Bible to begin studying it, pray. Ask God to reveal Himself to you in
His Word and give you understanding to apply it to your life. Also, ask
Him to help you to be disciplined to study His Word daily.
Step 2: Decide which Bible study approach and method you
wish to use
are several different Bible study approaches and methods that can be
used. None of which are necessarily right or wrong nor better than the
other, but rather you must select the one that is most applicable to
meet your needs. A description of several common Bible study approaches
and methods is listed below.
Step 3: Get the proper Bible study tools
Having and using the proper Bible study tools is critical. Proper tools
supplement your understanding
from the Holy Spirit
to help increase your enlightenment as you study the Bible.
Step 4: Study His Word
sorry, but you cannot acquire knowledge of the Word by osmosis. You
must open God’s Word and begin to read it. Don’t just take everyone’s
interpre- tation at face value - study the Bible for yourself and ask
to reveal Himself to you. You’ll find the more you read it, the more
you will desire to read it.
Step 5: Pray
Upon completion of your study, thank God for all that He has revealed
to you and ask Him to seal His Word in your heart that you may apply it
to your life. Also, ask God to help you handle His Word correctly.
Bible Study Approaches
There are five common approaches to studying the Bible. The most common
is the Application Approach, where you
will read a passage of scripture and then think about how you can apply
it to your life.
Another common approach for many of us is the Hit and
This approach is just as the name suggests, you read a passage several
times, likely in several translations, but you have no logical pattern
The opposite of this approach is the Methodical Approach.
With this approach, an orderly and logical pattern is followed, often
resulting in more insight.
The Commentary Approach,
while valuable, is probably my least favorite because after reading a
passage of scripture, you read a commentary to explain it to you. I shy
away from this approach until I’ve applied other approaches and/or
methods because I want the Holy Spirit to be my primary teacher, not
the commentary writer.
The last approach is probably my favorite for the reason I just
mentioned. The Holy Spirit Approach
suggests you read a passage, then allow the Holy Spirit to lead you and
reveal insights unto you. This approach can be frustrating for some
because we may not be able to clearly hear the voice of God or may be
too impatient to wait for the Holy Spirit to speak. Also, this approach
should not be used as an excuse for not using a systematic method of
studying the Bible.
Each of these approaches has benefits and can be used to help you study
Bible Study Methods
Just as there are several approaches to studying the Bible, there are
also several methods to actually studying the Word. The first is a Book
in which you study a particular book of the Bible. This type of study
allows you to gain a more in depth understanding of the overall theme
and purpose of a book.
A Character Study is a
study of a particular person in the Bible. In this study you will learn
more about a Bible character’s name, heritage, cultural background as
well as their significant life events.
Since the Bible is not written in chronological order, a Chronological
Study is a study of the Bible based on the sequence in
which events occurred rather than how they appear in the Bible.
A Topical Study
is probably one of the most popular methods. In this study, you will
select a specific topic of interest to research and study. A
concordance will be required and you must be sure to read the scripture
in context when doing this type of study. Read the verses before and
after a particular verse to ensure proper understanding.
Finally, a Word or Expository Study
is an exhaustive study of the Bible word by word and verse by verse.
You will research each word and its meaning in the original text as
well as each verse to understand the true meaning. This type of study
can be very time consuming, but you will gain a deeper understanding of
the Bible by utilizing this approach.
Bible Study Tools
you’ve learned more about Bible study approaches and methods, this
Bible study guide would be incomplete without reviewing the specific
tools you will need. Just like you wouldn’t leave the house all dressed
up without shoes, you can’t embark upon your study of the Word without
the proper tools.
First and foremost, you will need a
study Bible in a translation that’s easy for you to understand.
A Study Bible
contains helpful notes, scripture cross references, book summaries and
more. While a study Bible is a must, it is also a good idea to have
other Bibles in different translations to use during your study. You
can supplement your collection by using online resources to look up
scriptures in different translations.
Another important tool, is a Bible Dictionary.
A Bible dictionary is key in that it has definitions for biblical terms
you may not find in a regular dictionary as well as Biblical references
to the word.
An exhaustive Concordance
is an alphabetical listing of every word in the Bible. It also includes
the original Greek or Hebrew meaning of each word and identifies which
meaning is applicable to the particular scripture reference where it is
The final must have Bible study tool is actually a combination of tools
- Pen, Paper and a Highlighter.
There was a time when I was afraid to write in my Bible. This is Holy
Bible, I thought – I can’t write in this. Boy was I wrong! My mentor
once told me 'anytime the Holy Spirit reveals something to you write it
down'. She said, 'you can’t depend on your intellect to remember
because it wasn’t your thought'.
In order to have an effective
study time, you must take notes and write down what the Holy Spirit is
revealing to you. Today, my study Bible is quite reflective of the fact
that I took my mentor’s advice to heart - there’s writing, notes and
highlighted sections all throughout it. But what’s more, my
understanding and knowledge is far greater for heeding that advice.
Optional Bible study tools include commentaries, Bible atlas and Bible software.
A commentary is an explanation of a text based on a particular
commentator’s interpretation, so the content varies widely from
commentary to commentary. A Bible Atlas provides more information on
locations mentioned in the Bible and Bible software is helpful because
it typically contains many, if not all, of these resources and place
them at your fingertips via your computer.
So ladies, there you
have it – a practical Bible Study Guide. The reality is if you don’t
use the Bible, it can’t change you or help you grow.
you feed will grow. If you feed your spirit, more than you feed your
flesh, your spirit will be stronger. However, the opposite is just as
true. Feed you Spirit by studying the Bible.
Try this tip to help you get started studying the Bible.
Use a concordance to identify applicable
scriptures for something you may be going through this week. Read those
scriptures for help and encouragement.
Example: Look up the word
‘Fear’ in a concordance and you will find that word is mentioned in
Psalms 27:1 and 2 Timothy 1:7. Look them up to find out what the Bible
says about fear.