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How To Study The Bible Effectively

Let’s face the facts: Most people have walked through seasons in the Christian life where reading the Bible gradually makes its way to the bottom of the daily agenda. Sometimes, believers can go days, weeks, months, or even years without touching their Bible. This can be due to misunderstanding it, busyness in schedule, boredom, or, quite frankly, forgetting that we can find God through the scriptures. This leaves us feeling dry, empty, and distant from God. It is so important to stay connected to Him through studying His word. Otherwise, over time, we will fall away.

Perhaps you’ve tried every in-depth Bible study, study guide, and topical study out there, yet you still find it hard to understand the Word or have a hard time desiring to read it!

You might be wondering:

How does one even begin to study the Bible effectively? 
How can someone prioritize the Bible in their daily life? 
How do we keep the Bible from getting lost in our day? 

The answers might be a lot simpler than you’d guess! The good news is that we are all on a journey of learning how to study the Bible. Whatever season any Christian is walking through, God might have them reading the Word in a different way each time because there are always new things to learn! Hopefully, through reading this blog, you might find yourself one step closer to learning how to study the Bible for yourself!

Now, in order to answer the questions listed above, you might want to consider the questions below. Reading is learning, and you can learn how to study the Bible! Knowing how you learn best could be an essential key to keeping your life of reading the Word sustained.

How do you learn best? 

Environment is everything when you have a book in hand. Depending on where you are living your day-to-day life, it might not always be possible to find the perfect location to read, but it can be helpful to know you have a space in mind to go to read the Bible.

Reading Environments:

  • Do you love being in quiet spaces alone? For example, being cozied up on your living room couch, sitting outside in a hammock, or maybe in a library.
  • Do you prefer somewhere with background noise? Maybe you enjoy the busyness of a local coffee shop with jazz music playing in the background.
  • Do you find it enjoyable to study with others? This could be in a quiet location or somewhere like a coffee shop where it’s a little bit busier. It’s possible that when hearing someone else read, it’s easier for you to absorb what the book is saying.

Jesus often went away from the crowds to be alone with the Father, but He also spent time in the temple with others. Perhaps you are someone who could benefit from a mix of different environments to help you in the process of learning.

There are countless creative ways to study the Bible! We don’t have to believe the lie that it’s boring. While with most books, it’s easy to hit a bump of boredom and get stuck there for a long period of time, it doesn’t have to be that way with the Word. Your reading of the Word can only be sustained by God’s Spirit! So, before you even begin to read, even if it takes extra time, pray and ask God to draw near to you, give you grace, and reveal Himself through whatever it is you’re reading. 

Practical Tips for Reading:

Once you’ve settled down into the ideal environment, a few other steps and questions to get the ball rolling in your reading might be just what you need.

Perspective:

Maybe it would be helpful for you to read the Bible through the lens of some questions you’ve already asked yourself prior to picking it up. For example, if you’re wanting to grow deeper in receiving God’s love, you could ask yourself the question, “Where do I see God’s love displayed throughout this chapter?” You could even ask the Holy Spirit to help you see and feel His love as you read. He loves to reveal His character through the Bible.

Preference:

It’s good to know if you typically enjoy stories or practical teachings. If you end up reading too much of one that is typically more difficult for you, you could end up slowing down your reading and feeling discouraged. That being said, having a balance between an easy read and something a little more challenging can always be a good way to fast-track your growth.

Context:

This is so important! Sometimes we can miss huge parts of a story because we don’t fully understand the context in which the story is being told. Would it be helpful for you to know the historical or cultural context before you begin a new book or chapter? (A great resource for this is Bible Project). You can watch these videos, which explain an overview of the context of each book of the Bible. 

What to Read:

Think about some things you are hungry to learn about God in this season of life. If you’re tackling topics like His justice, might, and discipline, the Old Testament covers those areas in a variety of ways. If you desire a deeper revelation of submission to the Father and the servant heart of Jesus, you will easily find that throughout the New Testament.

Meditation & Chapter Study:

Do you want to know how to study a book of the Bible? Start by reading one chapter at a time. At the end of your reading, look back and meditate on the main themes or lessons you noticed throughout that chapter, and write them down. We often move on so quickly that we forget to absorb what we just read in one chapter. Later down the road, you can look back on all the themes and lessons you learned while reading different chapters.

Understanding the Word:

So, you now have the mood set and a few pieces to help you along the way, but what happens when you’re simply having a hard time connecting the dots and understanding what you’re reading? Simply put: We will never have all the answers. But God does love our questions! Something you could do while you’re reading is write down those questions and take them to your pastor or someone who has studied that portion of the Word in greater depth. Creating community around the Word of God can always be fun and also give some answers that could bring greater understanding to what we are reading.

Starting Your Own Bible Study:

Speaking of “creating community”… YOU can start your very own Bible study. How do you structure that? It’s easy! All you need to do is gather some friends to a location agreed upon by everyone, pick a chapter of the Bible, and spend some time reading and discussing it together. You could come into the time with questions prepared to ask everyone at the end of your time of reading. If you’ve never led a Bible study before, don’t worry about the structure being perfect. God desires that we would seek Him through His Word. If you do that, you’re on your way to success!

Further Studies:

The Inductive Bible study method is a great resource if you desire more of a nitty-gritty type of study! It will teach you all the ins and outs of observation, interpretation, and application. It really does create a space for you to take the time to get all that you can out of the Bible. Check out the blog above for more information about where to start, and continue reading to learn where observation, interpretation, and application came from.

The Discipleship Bible School (DBS) is a YWAM Lancaster favorite! Utilizing the inductive Bible study method, which you read about above, the DBS provides an immersive approach to reading the Bible.

Unique to the typical DBS, YWAM Lancaster is offering a newly developed version of the program. Our traditional three-month school is undergoing a significant revision process, resulting in what we will now call our Catalyst Bible School (CBS): a six-month intensive training program that grounds participants in the Word of God, immerses them in the culture of YWAM Lancaster, and equips them for their calling. This specific school consists of three primary elements: Train, Apply, and Go. Throughout the six-months, these elements are intermixed, creating a space for participants to be equipped through side-by-side teaching, ministry experience, and taking the Word of God to the nations. Our heart is that through this school, you will be rooted in the word of God while simultaneously being equipped with practical skills and opportunities to disciple others in God’s Word. 

If you are interested in diving deeper into the Bible in this way, click the link above. 

Finding God & letting Him Lead:

You are now officially well-prepared to read the Bible in several different ways. We’ve covered a lot of thoughts, suggestions, and questions, and maybe, just maybe, these could be the key to unlocking a new love and wonder for reading the Word in your life. Remember, these are simply helpful tools to guide you to a place where you’re reading the Bible more consistently. Our own ideas, structures, and even learning methods must all submit to His voice above all. So, as you try out new ideas and study methods, remember that the main goal is to find God and grow closer to Him. If He wants to break your boxes, let Him do it!

Take Action:

As we come to a close, remember this: after investing consistent time in the Word, you may find that your life overflows with so much peace, joy, and trust in the Lord. You will come closer to the Lord because the book that you have chosen to read is full of words from His very heart and mouth. As you long for intimacy with Him, you can find Him in this book that He wrote. So take control of your time in the Word. Be as active as you are curious. Seek God, involve others, and never stop reading the Bible!

A member of the discipleship training school teaching a child how to read the bible.

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The Discipleship Training School is for anyone wanting to be equipped for impact. Practical, personal, powerful, this 6-month intensive missions training will provide you with tools, focus, and real-life experience to fulfill the Great Commission.

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“… (DTS) showed me that this life isn’t just for me to live but to bring other people in this relationship with God.” 

– Kephas, 2016 DTS

“It was extremely encouraging in my walk with the Lord because my identity and calling were being solidified and called out.” 

– Kailey, 2016 DTS

“God has reminded, reaffirmed, and reoriented me in a number of areas. “Prioritizing” turns up the spiritual volume in your life.”

– David, 2016 DTS

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