Don’t hesitate to mark special passages in your Bible. Underline meaningful words you are thematically studying. Make notes in the margin about insights God gives you about a particular passage. Your Bible is a precious tool – and it is a tool that God wants you to be familiar with through using it!
If you have The Shepherd’s Staff, a concordance, or a Bible handbook, use them to study the Bible. If the version of the Bible you read has study-helps, use them! These study aids can provide a wealth of insights that will enrich your study of God’s Word.
- Set realistic goals for your Bible reading. Most of us would love to read through the New Testament every week, but that would be difficult to say the least! Sometimes we “sabotage” ourselves by trying to fulfill a goal that is set far too high. When we fail to reach that goal, we get discouraged.
The goal of reading a certain number of chapters every day is the wrong goal. Our goal should be to meet with God in and through His Word. We should desire a quality reading instead of a quantity reading. But do not develop the bad habit of skipping around in your reading. That will lead to an inconsistent and undisciplined style that will take away from a solid understanding of the Scriptures.
We should read a book of the Bible all the way through to the end before moving on to another book.
A balanced reading schedule might be to read at least a chapter from the Old Testament and a chapter from the New Testament every day. Reading one chapter from the book of Proverbs every day would be a good addition.
Proverbs has 31 chapters, just as many months have 31 days. So you could read the first chapter on the first day of the month, the second chapter on the second day, etc. Proverbs is the kind of book that can be read over and over again – even twelve times per year – and you will always get something new from it.
- Keep your Bible study plan simple. This is very important, especially at first, while you are trying to establish a good and consistent habit-pattern of daily Bible reading. We should use a schedule that is easy to follow and keep track of. Even if you miss a day, don’t give up; just simply start again where you left off in your reading schedule.
- Memorize the Scriptures. “Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee” (Ref). An important part of any good Bible study plan is Scripture memorization. The truth of the Word dwelling within our hearts can keep us from deception and sin.
There are many helps for memorizing Bible verses. A passage can be written on a card or paper and carried with you to read over and over again. Also, sing the scriptures. A Bible passage set to music will be long remembered.
KEY QUESTIONS TO ASK WHILE STUDYING THE BIBLE
Here are two simple types of Bible study methods that can help us think correctly about the Scripture we are reading. These studies also give the Holy Spirit maximum opportunity to speak to us using the light of God’s Word: “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law a light; reproofs of instruction are the way of life” (Prov 6:23).
THE SEVEN-QUESTION BIBLE STUDY
- What is happening? (or the ideas expressed or results)
- Who is it happening to? (the people involved)
- Where is it happening? (location, situation)
- When is it happening? (historical setting)
- Why is it happening? (the causes, the reasons for it)
- How is it happening? (the process, the flow of events)
- How can I apply it? (how it relates to me and my situation)
THE EIGHT-QUESTION BIBLE STUDY
- Is there a command for me to obey?
- Is there a sin for me to avoid?
- Is there an example for me to follow?
- Is there a promise I am to claim?
- Is there an idea, principle or word I should study further?
- Is there a truth being taught about God, or Christ, or the Holy Spirit?
- Is there something for me to pray about? — If so, then stop and pray!
Using either or both of these study methods can greatly assist us in opening our understanding to the profound truths of Scripture.