Every sincere Christian wants to engage in more meaningful personal Bible study to better understand the Bible. Although Bible study is a joyful, lifelong task, I would like to offer some suggestions that might enrich your Bible study.
Bible Reading Plans or Bible study?
First, recognize that Bible Reading Plans and Bible study are important but different. To make progress, you need to read the Bible daily as part of your fellowship with God – your devotional or quiet time. During your daily communion with God, I recommend prayer, Bible Reading Plans, praise, thanksgiving, confession, and reflection-these are ways to turn to God in your spirit. Reading the Bible is a way to let God refresh your mind and speak to your spirit.
If you really want to study the Bible, I recommend reading broadly rather than narrowly. Reading a single verse may be quick, but it won’t help you really understand the Bible. I try to read one chapter from the Old Testament, one chapter from Psalms or Proverbs, and one chapter from the New Testament each morning. If I am consistent, I go through the Old Testament once a year and the New Testament twice. This is an example of extensive reading, which takes five to ten minutes per day – 15 minutes for long chapters – per day.
But reading the Bible as part of daily activities must be separated from Bible study. Let me explain.
Blocks of time for in-depth Bible study
Unlike reading, Bible study focuses on one topic, one biblical person, or one book of the Bible for in-depth study.
For example, in the New Testament, I am reading the Letter to the Hebrews. I realize that although I have read it several times, I still need to deepen it and understand what it is really about. That is the purpose of Bible study. Bible study requires extended, uninterrupted time. You can set aside 30 to 45 minutes on Tuesday and Thursday evenings for in-depth Bible study, or an hour on Saturday mornings while the family is still awake – or perhaps more. Blocks of time are very important for Bible study.
Don’t forget the most important step!
You may be so busy studying the Bible that you forget the most important goal of Bible study. It means not knowing the Bible for its own sake, not being able to quote verses or formulate orthodox doctrine. Ultimately, Bible study is about learning exactly what the Bible teaches so that you can apply its teachings to your life.
Perhaps the simplest approach to Bible study is to use three basic inductive Bible study questions that you can ask a Bible passage:
What does it say?
What did it mean to the people who read it in Bible times?
What does it mean to me as I try to apply it to my life?
I pray that your Bible study will result in your heart being willing to listen to what the Spirit is telling you through Scripture, and your will being determined to put what you learn into practice in your daily life.