Bible study is an important part of every Christian’s life. However, if you did not grow up studying the Bible, it can also be overwhelming to learn how to start studying the Bible. Thankfully, studying the Bible is something that anyone can learn to do by employing simple tools as outlined in this blog.
One note before you begin: It is important to remember that learning to read and understand the Scriptures is a lifelong pursuit—it’s a marathon, not a sprint! And the most important point: Bible study is not a marathon that you complete on your own. Instead, you have a helper, the Holy Spirit, who is with you each step of the way.
What is Bible Study?
Bible study is the intentional task of seeking to understand God’s word. Bible study involves taking the steps necessary and using the tools available to help you learn what the Bible is saying. Because the Bible is written in ancient languages (Hebrew and Koine Greek), it takes concentrated effort to figure out what the original authors were trying to convey to their original audiences as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 2:1). When studying the Bible, you will want to utilize resources and methods to help you along. You will also want to utilize the community you have with your brothers and sisters in Christ.
Bible Study Tools
Bible commentaries are meant to explain the meaning of the text as it would have been heard by its original audience. Commentary authors take their previous study of Scripture regarding original language, word studies, historical context, and more to draw conclusions about what the text means.
Bible dictionaries are encyclopedia-like publications that cover various subjects of the Bible. Dictionaries incorporate the work of scholars who have studied the material in-depth.
A concordance is an alphabetical index of words or phrases that are intended to guide the reader to a particular passage of Scripture. Concordances are sometimes found in the back of a Bible, or they can be found separately and used on their own.
Maps and Atlases
Bible maps and atlases help you connect the geographical context to the text you are studying. Bible maps give details about a specific region, while Bible atlases are books of maps that give geographical information spanning biblical history.
Study Bibles come already equipped with many of the tools listed above. In most study Bibles, you will find commentary notes, maps, and brief introductions for each book of the Bible contained within the study Bible itself.
Here at The Daily Grace Co.®, we offer lots of tools such as journals, devotionals, pens, notebooks, and other resources available to help you along with your study of Scripture. My favorites are the Bible Themes Handbook, the In the Word journal, and the muted pastel highlighters!
Bible Study Methods
The Bible can be studied inductively, or it can be studied topically. Inductive Bible study consists of three steps—observation, interpretation, and application. Studying the Bible inductively allows you to dig deep into the text by observing what it says, what it means, and how it applies to our lives today. Topical Bible study involves investigating a specific topic to see how the Bible addresses it. Keep in mind that topical study can also be made inductive by observing, interpreting, and applying the text related to the topic you are studying.
Bible Study in Community
Studying the Bible is not just something that you should do alone, but it is also something you should do in community with other believers. In the book of Acts, we see the early Church learning from the apostles together and fellowshipping with one another (Acts 2:42). The book of Ephesians says that God’s love is so vast that it takes all the saints—believers in Christ—to cooperate together in understanding it (Ephesians 3:18). When we take the opportunity to study the Bible in community, we get to hear how another believer is impacted by the Scriptures. We get to be accountable to one another, spurring one another on to continue to pursue God.
Studying the Bible can be intimidating, but it’s not impossible. Learning to read and understand the Scriptures is a lifelong pursuit—it’s a marathon, not a sprint! Until the day you see Jesus face-to-face, you will be learning more about Him. Seek to enjoy the time you spend in the Word and learning to use new tools. It is a privilege and a delight to know God through His Word!
Additional resources for learning to study the Bible