Whether you’ve been saved for several years, or you recently made the decision to give your life to Christ, there are times where studying the Bible can seem overwhelming. Written by dozens of people over thousands of years in multiple countries and languages, the Bible is still the foundation of our faith.
Understanding how to do more than simply read the words contained in Scripture is important. Let this plan help you become a studier of God’s Word.
Whether you read a written copy of God’s Word or use an app on your phone, tablet, or mobile device, it’s crucial that you understand how important the book that you’re holding in your hands is. When we read the truths of Scripture, we’re getting a better insight into the very character of God.
His plans for us are contained within Scripture. His declarations of love for us fill every line. When you open your Bible (or Bible app), you’re receiving a personal invitation to walk into God’s presence, sit down, and listen to Him speak directly to you.
While the Bible is certainly the best-selling book of all time, it can also be incredibly intimidating. Afterall, how are we supposed to truly understand a book that was written thousands of years ago by dozens of different authors in three different languages over?
With the help of the Holy Spirit, and the willingness to use the resources that are available to you, you can gain a better understanding of Scripture.
If you’ve been reading the Bible but are ready to start truly studying it, start out with this 3 step plan. You can tap into the power that God’s Word has for you!
Step 1: Setting Expectations
Hebrews 10:35-36 (TPT)
So don’t lose your bold, courageous faith, for you are destined for a great reward! You need the strength of endurance to reveal the poetry of God’s will and then you receive the promise in full.
One of the most important aspects to starting your journey of Bible study is found in setting expectations. First of all, you’ll need to set your expectations of yourself, and don’t be afraid to keep them reasonable.
You’re not going to sit down and read the entire Bible over the next 7 days. In fact, there’s a good chance that you’re not going to read the Bible within the next 6 months, especially if you take a more strategic, studious approach to it.
Don’t get so hung up on speed that you lose sight of what you’re doing. You’re not in a race with anyone else in your quest to start studying the Bible. This isn’t about starting in Genesis and getting through Revelation. Instead, it is about spending time carefully reading God’s Word and finding ways to apply it to your life.
Make sure that you don’t become so frustrated with a lack of speed that you lose your bold, courageous faith. If you spend multiple days studying one portion of Scripture, that’s OK! Perhaps there is something in that part of the Bible that God wants you to understand.
Make sure that your newfound pledge to Bible study comes with some realistic expectations of yourself. It’s not about how much Scripture you’re studying. Instead, it’s about committing time every day to spending time in the Word of God so the Word of God can get into you.
Step 2: Finding the Right Translation
Hebrews 1:1-2 (TPT)
Throughout our history God has spoken to our ancestors by his prophets in many different ways. The revelation he gave them was only a fragment at a time, building one truth upon another. But to us living in these last days, God now speaks to us openly in the language of a Son, the appointed Heir of everything, for through him God created the panorama of all things and all time.
Unfortunately, Biblical translations have become one of the most hotly debated topics among Christians today. Many well-meaning believers spend all of their time and energy fighting with one another about which version of the Bible that we have today is the “most inspired.”
These debates routinely turn into vicious personal attacks, which fly in the face of everything that God intended for His people.
One of the most important parts of Bible study is found in choosing a translation that you can understand. In the verses that we just read, the author of Hebrews says that God has spoken to different people in different ways over the years.
In the Old Testament, He spoke through prophets, burning bushes, and in one story, a donkey. In the early portion of the New Testament, God spoke to His people through His Son. After Christ returned to the Father, the Holy Spirit came and ministered to people, as did early Church leaders like Paul, John, Peter, and others.
Today, one of the methods that God uses to speak to His people is translations of the Bible that are simpler to understand than some of the versions that people had access to a century ago.
God is not wringing His hands on His throne, anxiously hoping that you pick the right translation of the Bible when you’re filling your Amazon cart or shopping at your local Christian bookstore. Instead, He simply wants you to find a version that you can understand.
Take some time and research different Bible translations. Try to find some samples online, or speak to someone who works in your local bookstore, or a leader in your church. The Bible tells us that God now speaks to us openly in the language of a Son, meaning that He wants us to have an easy time understanding what His Word has to say.
Step 3: Consider Studying with Others
Hebrews 10:24-25 (TPT)
Discover creative ways to encourage others and motivate them toward acts of compassion, doing beautiful works as expressions of love. This is not the time to pull away and neglect meeting together, as some have formed the habit of doing. In fact, we should come together even more frequently, eager to encourage and urge each other onward as we anticipate that day dawning.
Finally, one of the best ways to approach Bible study is by connecting with other believers who are doing the same thing. Even if you’re relatively new to Bible study, consider connecting with other believers who have years of experience.
They aren’t there to judge you for what you don’t know, but they can help you gain a better understanding of the Scriptures that you’re now studying together.
The writer of Hebrews made it clear: God’s people are expected to work together to encourage others and motivate them toward doing beautiful works as expressions of love. One of the most beautiful expressions of love toward God that we can ever display is studying His Word so we can learn more about Him and His plans for us.
Depending on the church that you attend, there may be small groups that you can join where you will come together regularly with other believers to study a part of the Bible and then discuss it. Other churches have regular Bible studies where they all come together once a week and go through a certain book of the Bible or study a certain topic together.
Over the last couple years, as the pandemic raged and people were forced to stay at home more, some churches started using Zoom, Skype, and other video platforms to have Bible studies. The point is that you can find a Bible study approach that puts you in contact with other believers that works for you.
You’re more likely to stick to it if you have others holding you accountable and studying along with you.
A Closing Prayer:
Father, thank You for giving me a written copy of Your Word. I know that the truths contained in Scripture are powerful, alive, and written just for me. Help me to better understand what I’m reading, show me the things that I need in my life so I can better grasp Your Word. In Christ’s name, Amen.