How to Study the Bible Effectively
Faithful, daily reading of Scripture is a practice many Christians ascribe to or one they have at least been encouraged to implement into daily life. But the mere reading of Scripture only takes us so far as members of our faith community. What makes all the difference is intentional Scripture study, when we sink into God’s word, wrestle with our understanding, and ask God how we might allow it to affect our lives on a daily basis. So how do you begin studying Scripture intentionally? Following the steps below is a good place to start!
How to study Scripture effectively…
First, prepare your heart and mind for success:
Like any other study session, it works best to be in a quiet space.
Choose a topic relevant to where you’re at on your spiritual journey or a topic that interests you. Most Bibles have a glossary of topics (grace, forgiveness, repentance, etc).
Speaking of a glossary…look up what you don’t understand! A study session is most effective when you make an effort to understand what, at face value, may cause confusion.
Be persistent. Scripture study takes dedication and commitment, as what you read won’t always make sense the first time, nor will its application to your life. But there is always a plan and a deeper meaning to God’s word.
Once you’ve prepared a successful space, you can follow the SOAP acronym for further guidance on studying Scripture.
Start with Scripture
Of course, right?! There are many different places and tools we can use to access God’s Word when studying Scripture, but none replace Scripture itself. It doesn’t matter if you start at the beginning of the Bible, with the Gospels, or an Old or New Testament book that has been recommended to you. Don’t get bogged down by where to start; instead, just jump in. The Holy Spirit will guide you through. As you read, make an effort to write out key verses that stand out to you. It's amazing how much more is comprehended when you personally write Scripture out.
As you work through your Scripture study, pay attention to the different details in the writing:
Who is the author?
Who is the audience?
Who are the main characters in the story?
Is there repetition of words or phrases?
Why was this written?
Is there a cross reference somewhere else in the Bible?
Is there anything that stands out to you?
These observations can help connect you to the Scripture more thoroughly. When you engage in your Scripture study in this way, you invite God to speak to you through the fine print. It is in these very details that God might speak to you - making His words new to you each day.
Consider the Application
Your observations alone help you understand Scripture more thoroughly. But to allow your Scripture study to impact your life to the fullest, it’s important to take your observations and see how that Scripture can be applied to your personal life. Ask yourself:
What is God saying to me today?
What changes do I need to make?
Is there an action that I need to take?
Is there a command that I need to obey?
Applying Scripture to your life is where the rubber meets the road. The whole point in studying Scripture, after all, is for God to impact your life and, in turn, others’ lives by making you a more faithful follower of His Word.
Close in Prayer
Scripture is God's Word that He shares with us, and He desires for us to communicate back to Him. After studying Scripture, spend some time in prayer. Praise God for who He is, and all you know Him to be through His word. Confess to God if there is something He revealed to you through your Scripture study. Thank God for His wisdom, His faithfulness, and – of course – His Word. Ask God to remain with you, to guide you, and to continue to reveal the truth of His Word to you as you let your Scripture study mold and shape your days and who you are as a person.
Learning how to study Scripture is an ever-evolving process along your spiritual journey. But being intentional about how you dig into God’s word can help create good habits around the practice and success in God speaking to and working through you. Explore more spiritual development tips from Uncommon Sports Group.