Sitting down and studying the Bible on your own can be daunting, especially if you’re a new Christian and have never done it before. In our previous posts, I discussed how to study the Bible and where to begin. In this post, I’ll discuss how to study the Bible with others. Visit AtoZMomm for more Bible study tips!
HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE WITH OTHERS: TOP 3 TIPS FOR BIBLE STUDY GROUPS
- Find a Bible study group. This can be challenging; however, there are excellent Bible study groups out there, such as Bible Study Fellowship, that offer amazing, in-depth Bible study with others. Often, your local church will offer small group bible studies that you can join. A lot of these small group Bible studies are centered around a particular interest, such as sewing, outdoors, or moms with small kids, which makes it easier to connect with people and share what you’ve learned in the Bible when you have something in common already.
- Share what you’ve learned. Group Bible studies are all about sharing what you’ve learned with others. Don’t be afraid to share even if you think it’s wrong. You’ll be surprised to learn that many others are thinking the same thing you are.
- The Bible is the definitive answer. When in a group Bible study, you’ll have to take what others say with a grain of salt. Since none of us are God, we can’t know exactly what God is trying to convey. Bible scholars have dedicated their lives to trying to determine this, and there are passages that are very clear. However, remember you are learning and so are others and that the Bible can speak to others differently than you.
There are many advantages to Group Bible Study, which we will discuss in a future blog post. For now, ask your local church for small group bible studies, such as women’s bible studies, men’s bible studies, or bible studies for kids, look at national bible studies, such as Bible Study Fellowship, or even look online for an online Bible study or for a group in your area. Contact me with questions!
In part three of our series on how to study the Bible, I’ll review some tips on some Bible study techniques you can use to get the most out of your time with God in His Word. Contact me today!
BIBLE STUDY TECHNIQUES
- Come with an open heart. Bible study is not to be rushed through or done just for the sake of doing it and then checking Bible study off your checklist. Bible study is your time alone with God, which gives you a chance to grow closer to God and get to know Him. Prepare your heart and your mind to receive what He has for you.
- Pray. Always pray before opening the Bible. Pray for God to reveal to you what He needs you to know.
BIBLE STUDY TOOLS
- Bible dictionary. You’ll want to invest in a good Bible dictionary that will not only define words such as redemption, but will also tell you what it means in the Bible and where you’ll see it. I use Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary by J D Douglas and Merrill C Tenney.
- Bible atlas. Although this one is not necessary and most study Bibles have maps in the back, but a good Bible Atlas that will show you maps of where all the events you are are reading about in the Bible are happening is a great tool to have on hand, especially if you’re a visual learner. I use Zondervan’s Atlas of the Bible by Carl G Rasmussen.
- Keep a Bible journal. This is important to record all you are learning throughout your Bible study and to jot down any thing God is saying to you in the moment. While you’re reading, ask yourself the common questions of discovery: who, what, where, when, and why to learn more about what you are reading.
- Highlight or write in your Bible. Jotting down thoughts as you read the Bible can be a powerful learning tool, especially when you re-visit that same verse years later and see how far you’ve grown with Jesus.
- Study Bible. A study Bible will offer up notes as you’re reading, which will provide guidance, context, and other useful information, such as where else this person appears in the Bible. A good study Bible is essential in my opinion to understanding the Bible.
- Different versions of the Bible. Invest in different versions of the Bible. Since the Bible came to us in the Hebrew, through Ancient Greek, into Latin, and now whatever language you are reading in, context, meaning, and even whole parts got mistranslated or missing in the Bible. Different versions of the Bible will give you a deeper and richer understanding of what you’re reading as you hear the same thing said in a different way for your Bible study.
- Pay attention to the footnotes. The footnotes in the Bible will give you another great way to learn more about where else these events may have happened as well as an explanation on what’s going on.
Ultimately, you only need a willing heart and a Bible to study God’s Word. Those items listed above are nice to have to enhance your learning of the Bible, but don’t let having them stop you from beginning to study God’s Word. Dive in, and being. Contact me with any questions!
“The sight of the stars always makes me dream.”
Vincent Van Gogh
In part one of this series, we discussed how to study the Bible. Now we’ll discuss where to start your Bible study. After all, the Bible is a big book, and deciding where to begin can be daunting. Below, I’ll go into specifics of where to begin your Bible study journey, and contact me at Atozmomm today for more advice!
WHERE TO START YOUR STUDY OF THE BIBLE
- New Testament. Most Bible scholars recommend you start your Bible study with the New Testament if you are just beginning to study the Bible. The New Testament is easier to understand and covers the life of Jesus who is central to a Christians life. Furthermore, the New Testament has a more cohesive feel to it. Once you’re done with the New Testament, begin on the Old Testament with the Book of Genesis.
- Begin with the Book of John. The Gospels (which are the books of the Bible that cover when Jesus was alive on Earth are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) are the best place to begin studying the Bible in the New Testament, particularly with the book of John. The book of John is the easiest to read, covers who Jesus is, and prepares you for the other three Gospels.
- Read Romans. The book of Romans, written by the Apostle Paul, will give you a great understanding of the Gospels as a whole and the entire book points to the Good News of Jesus Christ. The letters of the Bible, written mostly by Jesus’ disciples to the early Church is a great place to continue your Bible study.
OTHER GREAT PLACES TO START YOUR STUDY OF THE BIBLE
- Psalms. The book of Psalms in the Old Testament is a book of encouragement, and a constant reminder to us that God is with us no matter our sins. The Psalms frequently offer hope and healing. A very poetic book written by various authors, this a great book to read before bed at night if you have trouble falling asleep.
- Proverbs. Another great place to start reading and studying the Bible, Proverbs, written mostly by King Solomon who was blessed with wisdom by God, offers practical tips for living. Short and spicy, Proverbs will give you great advice when you need it the most.
- Genesis. Some of us are very linear thinkers and there’s nothing wrong with starting at the beginning of the Bible and reading it all the way through. You will understand God more and dive into how and why Jesus came when he did.
- Topics. One way to begin to study the Bible, especially if you are struggling with something you need help with right away is to choose a topic, and then study the parts of the Bible that relate to that topic. Most Bibles have subject indexes in the back, or a quick Google search will give you great places to start. Topics such as anger, encouragement, compassion, and joy are all great areas to start.
Reverend Billy Graham once offered up this advice when asked where to start reading the Bible, “Begin by reading the Gospel of John, for it tells us of Christ, of the ‘greatest life ever lived,’ and what He has done for us. Next read Acts, for it tells us what His first disciples did in the power of God’s Holy Spirit. Then perhaps the letters of John and the letter to the Philippians. Then you may want to read Romans as your next step in your Bible study, which sets forth the great doctrines which Paul taught.”
In the end, it truly doesn’t matter where you start your Bible study; just open up and begin. God will be wherever you land. Contact me for any questions!
Most of us read the Bible. We know the stories — Lot and his wives, Abraham and Sarah and Isaac, Moses and the 10 Commandments, and Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. But knowing the details of the stories in the Bible is not the same as studying the Bible. When you study the Bible, you’re seeking to understand the message behind the story, what God is trying to teach the people in the story, and what He’s trying to teach you as you apply the lessons in your own life. Below, AtoZMomm will offer up tips on how to study the Bible.
HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
- Have a plan. Admittedly, the Bible is a huge book that can get quite complicated. You have to have a plan of where you want to start and/or lessons to focus on. Write down a weekly Bible reading plan, so you’ll get excited about what God is trying to teach you. The birth of Jesus is a great place to start as well as the very beginning with Creation.
- Invest in a good study Bible. Study Bibles come with annotated notes, historical background information, maps, and chronological charts that will help you as you read the the Bible. A good Bible Dictionary and Atlas are great to have on hand as well.
- Choose a translation. Part of the reason the Bible is difficult to understand is because it has been translated so many times: from Aramaic to Greek to Latin to English. It’s easy to see how mistakes can be made by scribes and how words can be mistranslated. Get a translation that makes sense to you. NIV (New International Version) is popular as well as The Message Bible.
- Prepare your heart. Don’t approach Bible study as a chore. You are reading God’s very words to you. Maximize your time and enter Bible study prepared to learn. Anything else is not only a disservice to you, but also a disservice to God as well.
- Pray. Ask God to teach you what He wants you to know and what can help you be more like Jesus and be closer to Him. Ask for wisdom to understand and an ear to hear what He has to say to you.
Studying the Bible is something you have to do if you want to grow closer to God and be more like Jesus. Setting aside as little as 10 minutes a day can have a profound impact on your life. Small moments add up to great things. If you have questions on how to study the Bible, reach out to AtoZMomm with a comment below. May God thoroughly bless you as you read and study His word.
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