Do you ever feel like you're not getting enough out of your time in the Word? Or have you ever read a Bible passage and walked away thinking, "That's great, but I don't really know how to apply that to my life"? Or perhaps you've decided to spend a certain amount of time studying the Bible every day... but the time ticks by at a snail's pace.
That's frustrating, but Bible study doesn't have to be grueling, complicated, or boring. In fact, God has given us everything we need to understand His Word and apply it to our lives. Here are 7 tips that will help you get more out of your Bible study:
1. Start with the Right Motivation
There are lots of bad reasons to study the Bible. You can do it to make yourself feel better, to try to impress God, or to guilt your spouse into reading it. Those are all bad choices.
The Bible was written to teach us who God is so that we will love Him and worship Him more. Bible knowledge without heart transformation is pointless, and love without understanding is misguided. We are to love God with all our hearts AND our minds (Luke 10:27). When we study the Bible with this motivation, we will come away transformed men and women.
2. Pick a Time and Place that Works for You
Okay, so this tip isn't exactly ground-breaking, but it's easy to think that "quiet time" has to happen first thing in the morning. And while that's a great time for many people, it's highly impractical for others. Throw out the expectation that your time with God needs to look a certain way, and do what works for you in this season of life.
If you're a night owl, find a cozy spot in your home, grab a cup of tea and your Bible, and spend time with God after everyone else has gone to sleep. If you're a young mom, look for little windows of time to read or listen to the Bible while you're nursing your baby, driving around town, or putting the little ones down for a nap. This mom of seven recently shared how she uses little breaks in her day to open the Bible instead of her phone. It works!
3. Jot Down What You're Learning
Like anything good in life, rich Bible study requires effort and work. Sure, there are plenty of "aha" moments that come from simply reading a Bible verse. But although the Bible is simple enough for a child to understand, it's rich enough to provide fresh insights every time you read it, no matter how many times you've read the same passage before.
When you sit down with a Bible passage, try writing down your observations in a notebook. Like a journalist, ask the 5 W's and write down whatever jumps out to you first. Then dig deeper and look for repeated words or phrases, comparisons/contrasts, key verses, or other connections. Jot these down and then step back and ask, "What is the main point this passage is making?" Look at both the forest and the trees. There's beauty in both.
4. Use Online Study Tools
We're blessed to live in an age when information is at our fingertips. After you've studied the passage on your own, check out what others have said about it. You can find online commentaries, dictionaries, maps, and other study helps to deepen your Bible study. And best of all, most of them are free.
5. Follow Your Learning Style
While an academic approach to Bible study is extremely helpful, it's not the only way to interact with Scripture. Take your study deeper by finding creative ways to use your natural learning style.
Are you a visual learner? Try drawing, doodling, or hand lettering what you're reading. You can find lots of inspiration from other Bible journalers, and you can even buy a Bible with extra large margins made just for this method of study.
If you're an auditory learner, try reading a passage out loud, listening to the Bible on CD, or making up songs that incorporate the central truth of the passage you're reading.
And if you're a kinesthetic learner, get up and move! There's no rule that says learning must take place while seated at a desk. Try reading the Sermon on the Mount outside, pair your Bible study with a prayer walk, or even recreate scenes with your children or spouse, either acting them out or using playdough.
6. Team Up With a Buddy
It's amazing how different things stand out to different people even when they read the same passage.
Find a friend to study the Bible with, and share with one another what you've learned and how it's shaping your view and love for God. Come up with creative ways to apply what you're learning, and follow up to see if each of you has done what you said you would do. If you can't find someone to study with you, there are plenty of online Bible study communities you can join.
7. Find Scripture to Inspire You
If you're still unmotivated to study the Scripture, read what the Bible says about the Bible. Seriously. It doesn't sound terribly exciting, but once you discover what God promises about His Word, you'll want to drop everything and dig deep into the Bible. It's that incredible.
Pick one of these 7 tips to implement today. Before you know it, you'll be discovering amazing truths in your personal Bible study you didn't even know were there.
The good news is, no matter how many riches you've uncovered in your day's study, there's always more to find.
Asheritah Ciuciu is a writer, speaker, and video blogger who helps overwhelmed women find joy in Jesus. She married her high school sweetheart, Flaviu, and they have a blast raising their baby girl in the farmlands of Ohio. She blogs at OneThingAlone.com where she inspires women to sit at the feet of Jesus so they can dwell with Him deeply, love others recklessly, and live their lives fully. Come find a community of grace-filled women there.