Faith

The Best Way to Study the Bible

The Bible may seem daunting and awfully complex. But by approaching its study in a systematic way, you can comprehend God’s Word in the way He intended us to.

H1 What’s a Rich Text element?

H2 What’s a Rich Text element?

H3 What’s a Rich Text element?

H4 What’s a Rich Text element?

H5 What’s a Rich Text element?
H6 What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

H4 Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

H4 How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

  • List Item 1
  • List Item 2
  • List Item 3

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

The Best Way To Study The Bible

The Bible reveals God’s divine spirit to humanity in a way that informs, transforms, and ignites our love for Him. It also teaches and propels us to live a life according to His will. 

Learning how to properly read and interpret the Bible can help us better understand its meaning, intent, and application in our own lives. In the following article, we’ll give insight on the basics of how to properly read, study, learn, and teach the Bible.

What’s in this guide?

How To Use A Bible

Before we discuss the different ways to study the Bible, we’ll talk about the purpose of reading the Bible. When studied correctly, the Bible gives us the following spiritual benefits:

  • Deeper understanding of who God is and what He has done for us
  • Development of commitment to our Savior from understanding His love, mercy, and gift of salvation
  • Increased peace, wisdom, purpose, and emotional and mental nourishment in life
  • Clear guidance and direction regarding how we live in light of God’s glory

The Bible says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

In other words, we use the Bible as the foundation of who we are and how we live for Christ. 

Let’s discuss several ways in which you can study the Bible with wisdom. 

Best Way To Learn The Whole Bible

God works in mysterious ways that we can’t fully understand. He can encounter anyone at any time through Scripture, regardless of how educated or informed they are. But it will be easier for you to read the Bible if you know how to approach it from the get-go.

Here are a few steps to begin your journey of reading the Word of God:

  • Choose a Bible translation that’s easy to read. Unless you can read the Bible in its original language of Hebrew and Greek, we suggest that you choose one of the simpler translations like the New Living Translation (NLT), English Standard Version (ESV), or New International Version (NIV).
  • Pray before you begin. Remember that the Bible is the Word of God. Approach the Scripture with an open heart and mind, being sensitive to what God wants you to learn. The Bible is God’s love letter to His people, which includes you. So, read with all your heart, and you’ll find God.
  • Don’t start from the first page. As we’ll discuss more later, you don’t have to start from the book of Genesis to understand the Bible. In fact, we recommend that you begin with the Gospel of John instead, which is John’s eyewitness account of Jesus’ earthly life.
  • Go through one book at a time. If you jump around reading single verses here and there, you’ll miss out on the context and overall picture of the story. Instead, go through one book at a time. After reading John, move on to the rest of the gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) to Philippians, Ephesians, and Colossians for encouragement and instruction on living the Christian life.
  • Follow a reading plan. If you’d rather stick to a schedule, sign up for a Bible reading plan. There are plenty of physical and online options out there for you to choose from, like this one from BibleGateway and YouVersion.

Additionally, we suggest that you write all your notes down in a notebook. This will help you absorb the lessons more, make it easier for you to review past learnings, and keep you encouraged. 

Based on our experience, this is the best way to study the Bible holistically and comprehensively.

Step By Step Bible Study

There are many techniques out there that teach you how to approach studying the Bible step by step. Some of them take a more academic approach such as inductive study, while others are more creative, such as Bible journaling. 

We recommend that you start with the simple-yet-effective SOAP method:

  • Scripture: Read the Bible at your own pace and try to understand it to the best of your ability.
  • Observation: Be sensitive to what God is saying and see which verses catch your eye.
  • Application: Understand how the derived lesson applies to your personal life.
  • Prayer: Pray for wisdom and strength to apply the said lessons accordingly.

This method will form a strong foundation for you to eventually discover new ways to study the Bible. The goal is to break the huge task of reading Scripture down into smaller, more manageable tasks. Read casually, identify which verses are standing out to you, dive deeper into what it’s saying, and apply it to your life.

Best Order To Study The Bible

This may come as a surprise to many, but the Bible is not compiled in chronological order. That’s why there are different publishing versions of the Bible that rearrange the books according to the time they happened (without changing any of the content), and several Bible reading guides that help you to read it in chronological order.

The reason for this is because the Bible was written by more than 30 authors over thousands of years – all inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16-17) – and arranged by literary genre instead of in sequence. Here’s how the Bible is laid out:

  • The books of Moses: Genesis through Deuteronomy
  • The books of wisdom: Job through Song of Songs
  • The books of history: Joshua through 2 Chronicles
  • The Gospels: Matthew through Acts
  • The prophets: Isaiah through Malachi
  • The epistles: Romans through Jude
  • The final prophecy: Revelation

Still, the Bible is in chronological order at the very beginning. If you read from Genesis to Deuteronomy in the order that they appear, you’re actually reading biblical history in the right sequence. But you’ll eventually get to some places where the timelines are jumbled up. When Scripture is “out of order,” it’s providing the reader with a larger context and more insights into the historical narrative before continuing.

There is no “best order” for you to read the Bible. It all boils down to personal choice and how familiar you are with the Scripture. However, we suggest that you read the Bible in its given sequence before re-reading it in chronological order. You’ll allow yourself to dive deeper into the Scripture after learning all the key moments.

For example, read Psalms 51 after 2 Samuel 12 so you gain more insight into Nathan’s confrontation with David regarding the Bathsheba issue, so you’ll see the extent of David’s repentance. You’ll see the cause-and-effect relationship between Nathan’s rebuke and David’s response, so it’s easier for you to grasp the entire story.

How To Study A Passage Of Scripture 

Another way to study the Bible is by focusing on certain passages instead of reading the Scripture back-to-back. Without undermining the importance of reading the Bible from start to finish, the truth is that the Scripture doesn't “work” only if you read everything in sequence. Every word of God is powerful, even when they are standing alone. 

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to divide soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

Still, take note of the following steps in studying certain passages of Scripture:

  • Read the passage in context. To really understand a passage, you have to read the surrounding chapters and verses to understand the context. Take the time to know who the author is, who the passages are written to, and why they were written. When you look at Scripture as one big story inspired by God, you’ll have an easier time understanding it correctly.
  • Take it slow and ask questions. Remember that you’re not going to understand it all in one day. You need to have a curious, learning heart that asks questions – just like how we’d encourage young students to ask their teachers when the subject becomes too complicated. 

The more you read and study the Bible, the easier it will be to understand the big picture. The Scripture will slowly but surely come to life in your hands, and you’ll feel less confused by individual verses.

Bible Verses To Study For Beginners

If studying single passages sounds good to you, you can start with the verses below. We’ve picked these because they’re easier to understand and apply in your life and require less context than other verses:

  • Keep your thoughts holy. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).
  • Don’t worry; God is always with you. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead” (Isaiah 43:2-3).
  • Remember the mercy and forgiveness He has shown us. “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived, and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:3-5).

There are plenty more where these came from. The important thing is to see that the Bible can be easy to understand. Even individual verses can help uplift and encourage us in our everyday lives. 

How To Give Bible Study

Once you’ve gotten the hang of studying the Bible, consider starting a Bible study group. Depending on your church culture, you might even start a ”discipleship group” that focuses more on using the Bible for practical application. 

Regardless of what kind of group you start, here are the key factors you’ll want to focus on:

  • Tackle the Bible with a plan, which can be based on a book, a program or series provided by RightNowMedia, or even one that you create yourself. Stick to an existing plan if you’re not too confident yet. You can always tweak existing materials according to the needs of your group.
  • Meet regularly. The Bible is an avenue to hear God speak to us, so you’ll want to dive into the Scripture as often as possible – just not to the point of information overload.
  • Include a healthy number of members. Gather enough people to have an active learning discussion but not so many that some don’t have the opportunity to interact and contribute their own thoughts.

Instead of focusing too much on material, focus on creating a support group that helps everybody tackle the Bible step-by-step, consistently and systematically. 

One additional tip is to not be too rigid about the study system. In other words, if there is a certain topic that your group fixates on during the session, let the conversation flow there naturally and trust the leading of the Holy Spirit.

How To Bible Study On Your Own

Finally, you can study the Bible on your own. There are multiple ways for us to use the Bible in our daily lives, like the following:

  • For daily devotions: God wants us to meditate on His word day and night (Psalm 1:2). Think of daily devotional times as regular nourishment. 
  • For in-depth studying about God: One of the most important parts of the Bible is the revelation of God’s characteristics, which is critical for us to truly understand the reasons behind everything He’s done and continues to do. 
  • For equipping ourselves: It’s true that the Bible tells us what to do and what not to do. But these aren’t just “rules” for us to follow mindlessly. Instead, the Bible is filled with lessons for us to become more Christ-like and able to handle any of the challenges He’ll have us go through in life.
  • For answering the call to full-time ministry: The Bible is the main source of information and insight for anyone called to serve in full-time ministry. This may include becoming a preacher or pastor, a missionary, or even a teacher in a Christian school. You’ll find everything you need to learn and teach from the Scripture – the undeniable, irrefutable source of God’s Word.

You can conduct any of these Bible studies according to your personal needs and schedule. 

Finally, “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” (Joshua 1:8). 

Studying, Understanding, and Living for God

The Bible is a living compilation of words that came from God Himself. Take your time and don’t think about how you can learn the Bible fast – it’s not a race. Spend your days reading and studying everything He has told us, and you’ll increasingly understand and love Jesus. He is within those onion-thin pages; you just have to take the time to read it.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2a).

podcast transcript

(Scroll for more)

H1 What’s a Rich Text element?

H2 What’s a Rich Text element?

H3 What’s a Rich Text element?

H4 What’s a Rich Text element?

H5 What’s a Rich Text element?
H6 What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

H4 Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

H4 How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

  • List Item 1
  • List Item 2
  • List Item 3

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

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The Best Way to Study the Bible

The Best Way to Study the Bible

The Bible may seem daunting and awfully complex. But by approaching its study in a systematic way, you can comprehend God’s Word in the way He intended us to.

Show notes

The Best Way To Study The Bible

The Bible reveals God’s divine spirit to humanity in a way that informs, transforms, and ignites our love for Him. It also teaches and propels us to live a life according to His will. 

Learning how to properly read and interpret the Bible can help us better understand its meaning, intent, and application in our own lives. In the following article, we’ll give insight on the basics of how to properly read, study, learn, and teach the Bible.

What’s in this guide?

How To Use A Bible

Before we discuss the different ways to study the Bible, we’ll talk about the purpose of reading the Bible. When studied correctly, the Bible gives us the following spiritual benefits:

  • Deeper understanding of who God is and what He has done for us
  • Development of commitment to our Savior from understanding His love, mercy, and gift of salvation
  • Increased peace, wisdom, purpose, and emotional and mental nourishment in life
  • Clear guidance and direction regarding how we live in light of God’s glory

The Bible says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

In other words, we use the Bible as the foundation of who we are and how we live for Christ. 

Let’s discuss several ways in which you can study the Bible with wisdom. 

Best Way To Learn The Whole Bible

God works in mysterious ways that we can’t fully understand. He can encounter anyone at any time through Scripture, regardless of how educated or informed they are. But it will be easier for you to read the Bible if you know how to approach it from the get-go.

Here are a few steps to begin your journey of reading the Word of God:

  • Choose a Bible translation that’s easy to read. Unless you can read the Bible in its original language of Hebrew and Greek, we suggest that you choose one of the simpler translations like the New Living Translation (NLT), English Standard Version (ESV), or New International Version (NIV).
  • Pray before you begin. Remember that the Bible is the Word of God. Approach the Scripture with an open heart and mind, being sensitive to what God wants you to learn. The Bible is God’s love letter to His people, which includes you. So, read with all your heart, and you’ll find God.
  • Don’t start from the first page. As we’ll discuss more later, you don’t have to start from the book of Genesis to understand the Bible. In fact, we recommend that you begin with the Gospel of John instead, which is John’s eyewitness account of Jesus’ earthly life.
  • Go through one book at a time. If you jump around reading single verses here and there, you’ll miss out on the context and overall picture of the story. Instead, go through one book at a time. After reading John, move on to the rest of the gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) to Philippians, Ephesians, and Colossians for encouragement and instruction on living the Christian life.
  • Follow a reading plan. If you’d rather stick to a schedule, sign up for a Bible reading plan. There are plenty of physical and online options out there for you to choose from, like this one from BibleGateway and YouVersion.

Additionally, we suggest that you write all your notes down in a notebook. This will help you absorb the lessons more, make it easier for you to review past learnings, and keep you encouraged. 

Based on our experience, this is the best way to study the Bible holistically and comprehensively.

Step By Step Bible Study

There are many techniques out there that teach you how to approach studying the Bible step by step. Some of them take a more academic approach such as inductive study, while others are more creative, such as Bible journaling. 

We recommend that you start with the simple-yet-effective SOAP method:

  • Scripture: Read the Bible at your own pace and try to understand it to the best of your ability.
  • Observation: Be sensitive to what God is saying and see which verses catch your eye.
  • Application: Understand how the derived lesson applies to your personal life.
  • Prayer: Pray for wisdom and strength to apply the said lessons accordingly.

This method will form a strong foundation for you to eventually discover new ways to study the Bible. The goal is to break the huge task of reading Scripture down into smaller, more manageable tasks. Read casually, identify which verses are standing out to you, dive deeper into what it’s saying, and apply it to your life.

Best Order To Study The Bible

This may come as a surprise to many, but the Bible is not compiled in chronological order. That’s why there are different publishing versions of the Bible that rearrange the books according to the time they happened (without changing any of the content), and several Bible reading guides that help you to read it in chronological order.

The reason for this is because the Bible was written by more than 30 authors over thousands of years – all inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16-17) – and arranged by literary genre instead of in sequence. Here’s how the Bible is laid out:

  • The books of Moses: Genesis through Deuteronomy
  • The books of wisdom: Job through Song of Songs
  • The books of history: Joshua through 2 Chronicles
  • The Gospels: Matthew through Acts
  • The prophets: Isaiah through Malachi
  • The epistles: Romans through Jude
  • The final prophecy: Revelation

Still, the Bible is in chronological order at the very beginning. If you read from Genesis to Deuteronomy in the order that they appear, you’re actually reading biblical history in the right sequence. But you’ll eventually get to some places where the timelines are jumbled up. When Scripture is “out of order,” it’s providing the reader with a larger context and more insights into the historical narrative before continuing.

There is no “best order” for you to read the Bible. It all boils down to personal choice and how familiar you are with the Scripture. However, we suggest that you read the Bible in its given sequence before re-reading it in chronological order. You’ll allow yourself to dive deeper into the Scripture after learning all the key moments.

For example, read Psalms 51 after 2 Samuel 12 so you gain more insight into Nathan’s confrontation with David regarding the Bathsheba issue, so you’ll see the extent of David’s repentance. You’ll see the cause-and-effect relationship between Nathan’s rebuke and David’s response, so it’s easier for you to grasp the entire story.

How To Study A Passage Of Scripture 

Another way to study the Bible is by focusing on certain passages instead of reading the Scripture back-to-back. Without undermining the importance of reading the Bible from start to finish, the truth is that the Scripture doesn't “work” only if you read everything in sequence. Every word of God is powerful, even when they are standing alone. 

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to divide soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

Still, take note of the following steps in studying certain passages of Scripture:

  • Read the passage in context. To really understand a passage, you have to read the surrounding chapters and verses to understand the context. Take the time to know who the author is, who the passages are written to, and why they were written. When you look at Scripture as one big story inspired by God, you’ll have an easier time understanding it correctly.
  • Take it slow and ask questions. Remember that you’re not going to understand it all in one day. You need to have a curious, learning heart that asks questions – just like how we’d encourage young students to ask their teachers when the subject becomes too complicated. 

The more you read and study the Bible, the easier it will be to understand the big picture. The Scripture will slowly but surely come to life in your hands, and you’ll feel less confused by individual verses.

Bible Verses To Study For Beginners

If studying single passages sounds good to you, you can start with the verses below. We’ve picked these because they’re easier to understand and apply in your life and require less context than other verses:

  • Keep your thoughts holy. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).
  • Don’t worry; God is always with you. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead” (Isaiah 43:2-3).
  • Remember the mercy and forgiveness He has shown us. “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived, and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:3-5).

There are plenty more where these came from. The important thing is to see that the Bible can be easy to understand. Even individual verses can help uplift and encourage us in our everyday lives. 

How To Give Bible Study

Once you’ve gotten the hang of studying the Bible, consider starting a Bible study group. Depending on your church culture, you might even start a ”discipleship group” that focuses more on using the Bible for practical application. 

Regardless of what kind of group you start, here are the key factors you’ll want to focus on:

  • Tackle the Bible with a plan, which can be based on a book, a program or series provided by RightNowMedia, or even one that you create yourself. Stick to an existing plan if you’re not too confident yet. You can always tweak existing materials according to the needs of your group.
  • Meet regularly. The Bible is an avenue to hear God speak to us, so you’ll want to dive into the Scripture as often as possible – just not to the point of information overload.
  • Include a healthy number of members. Gather enough people to have an active learning discussion but not so many that some don’t have the opportunity to interact and contribute their own thoughts.

Instead of focusing too much on material, focus on creating a support group that helps everybody tackle the Bible step-by-step, consistently and systematically. 

One additional tip is to not be too rigid about the study system. In other words, if there is a certain topic that your group fixates on during the session, let the conversation flow there naturally and trust the leading of the Holy Spirit.

How To Bible Study On Your Own

Finally, you can study the Bible on your own. There are multiple ways for us to use the Bible in our daily lives, like the following:

  • For daily devotions: God wants us to meditate on His word day and night (Psalm 1:2). Think of daily devotional times as regular nourishment. 
  • For in-depth studying about God: One of the most important parts of the Bible is the revelation of God’s characteristics, which is critical for us to truly understand the reasons behind everything He’s done and continues to do. 
  • For equipping ourselves: It’s true that the Bible tells us what to do and what not to do. But these aren’t just “rules” for us to follow mindlessly. Instead, the Bible is filled with lessons for us to become more Christ-like and able to handle any of the challenges He’ll have us go through in life.
  • For answering the call to full-time ministry: The Bible is the main source of information and insight for anyone called to serve in full-time ministry. This may include becoming a preacher or pastor, a missionary, or even a teacher in a Christian school. You’ll find everything you need to learn and teach from the Scripture – the undeniable, irrefutable source of God’s Word.

You can conduct any of these Bible studies according to your personal needs and schedule. 

Finally, “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” (Joshua 1:8). 

Studying, Understanding, and Living for God

The Bible is a living compilation of words that came from God Himself. Take your time and don’t think about how you can learn the Bible fast – it’s not a race. Spend your days reading and studying everything He has told us, and you’ll increasingly understand and love Jesus. He is within those onion-thin pages; you just have to take the time to read it.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2a).

video transcript

(Scroll for more)