Unless our soul is well – we will always remain unwell. I firmly believe that we all need Jesus in our lives. He came into a broken world to save a broken people. Think of yourself as a vase. When we are born we are a vase with cracks and some missing pieces. When we accept Jesus he is the missing pieces and the glue that makes us whole. Now, as a complete vase we are able to hold the abundance of love, joy, and peace he pours into us. But more than that – he fills us so much that we end up pouring out onto all those around us. However, this doesn’t just happen.
We need to make a daily choice to let him fill us. I get it…so many of us busy women struggle with setting aside time to spend with Jesus on a daily basis. I’ve been there sweet friend. You are not alone. I know what it means to feel like nothing else can fit in the front seat with us and before we know it we look back behind us and there HE is…in the back seat…once again. But I’m here to tell you – it doesn’t have to be that way! Check out these 5 easy steps in establishing an EFFECTIVE BIBLE STUDY METHOD:
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STEP #1 TO EFFECTIVELY STUDY THE BIBLE – A SAFE SPOT
It’s not necessarily always about HOW you study the bible but WHERE. Ok – this may seem a little odd but yes, it starts with a “safe spot”. I promise you this is one of the most important steps in effectively studying the bible! Pick a place where you are comfortable. A place you know you can go and have little to no distraction and simply just have your one-on-one time with Jesus. The spot you choose should have everything you need – ready and waiting.
My spot is on one end of my couch. It has a lamp, a blanket, a side table with a drawer, my bible, sticky notes, prayer journal, and writing utensils (including highlighters) all in the drawer. First thing I do in the morning – get coffee and get with Jesus!
STEP #2 TO EFFECTIVELY STUDY THE BIBLE – HAVE A BIBLE!
Hey – I had to say it! Your bible shouldn’t just be any bible. Your bible should be special to you and provide for your unique needs. My bible is a “study” bible. It has weekly studies throughout, maps, and notes and narratives on the pages. Unless you’ve studied the bible before you might not know which is best. The best you can do is try a few out to see which one is for you. Doing a bit of bible research will help narrow down your options.
Choose a translation that you prefer –
Everyone has their opinion on which translation is best. I prefer an NIV translation because it uses easy to understand grammar while still sticking close to the original text. NLT is another great translation however, it does get a little out of line with the original text. KJV is a little hard for me to understand so I don’t prefer it. There are bibles that have two different translations side by side. These are called parallel bibles. My husband has one that is NIV with The Message (which I don’t necessarily see as a translation but more simply a paraphrase). Here are a few bibles you may consider:
STEP #3 TO EFFECTIVELY STUDY THE BIBLE – CHOOSING A TECHNIQUE
There are several bible study methods and basic study techniques. What’s the best way to study the bible? Finding a technique and most effective bible study method that helps you to understand the word of God in its entirety and one that fits your personality. Here are four techniques that get used more frequently.
Verse by Verse –
One of the most used bible study methods would be the “verse by verse” study. With this method you break apart each verse to get a full understanding of what it means. Using the acronym SOAP is one way this is done. Another way is to simply look up the definition of some of the words used in the verse.
This bible study method is one of the basic study techniques I find most useful. Why? Well, we all have things we deal with in our lives and knowing where the answer lies pertaining to each “thing” is extremely helpful! Just try it – google something like “finances in the bible” or “what does the bible say about marriage?”. Google will stream out a bunch of verses and you can then pop up to the bullet-point above this one and start studying!
Book by Book –
A more in-depth study would be to technique of studying the bible book by book. With this method I would recommend first determining the setting and time-frame of the book. This will help give you a better perspective of what is taking place at the time the book was written. Second I would read the whole book through completely. Then I would do a chapter by chapter study and do research on each chapter by using some of the tools referenced later on in this post.
Bible Journaling –
Here’s something that has recently become “all the rage” as we used to say! Bible journaling is a creative bible study technique that allows a person to get artistic and colorful while learning God’s word. I have tried this bible study method. As a “type A” personality I can say it is not for everyone. But you won’t know until you try! Check out this blog post by Sara Laughed on utilizing this method!
STEP #4 TO EFFECTIVELY STUDY THE BIBLE – USE THE TOOLS AVAILABLE
There are many tools out there to assist us in creating a more in depth study and to help us gain a deeper understanding of the word of God. One of the best study techniques to an effective bible study method is to is to utilize what we already have at our fingertips. Here are some tools that I use every day in my study time:
Blue Letter Bible –
Blue Letter Bible can be found online and is also available in an app for your phone. BLB offers many ways to grow deeper in your study. You can search the bible by word, topic, or verse. You can search in different translations. There are text commentaries (my favorite) available along with topical indexes, maps, a translation for Hebrew and Greek grammar, women’s resources, and books. They have a list of devotionals available if you are looking for a change and they offer different audio presentations if you are driving or otherwise unable to read.
Bible Hub –
I use Bible Hub mostly for commentaries that aren’t available on BLB but they do offer much more. Bible Hub is also available online and through an app. You can search for verses or keywords and in many different translations. You can check out the sermons available along with free downloads and e-bibles. They also offer an awesome topical index! One of my favorite things that can be found on Bible Hub is the layout of the timeline. It shows you the time frame the reading took place in order and where to find it.
First 5 –
This is an app I just love using. It’s available both in the App Store and Google Play. The reason I love this app so much is it takes away the excuse that we can’t make the time to sit with Jesus for a few minutes each day. Within 5 minutes time you get a devotional, scripture reading, and community gathering. In the past they have studies books as a whole. They also provide study guides to purchase in order to help you dig deeper than the 5 minutes allows.
STEP #5 TO EFFECTIVELY STUDY THE BIBLE – APPLICATION!
The most important aspect to an effective bible study method is APPLICATION! The word says:
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. -James 1:22-25 (NIV)
Take a moment after each study or devotional and think about how you can apply it to your life. Better yet, write it down on a note card or use it as a screensaver on your phone. Keep it somewhere you can refer to it throughout the day and hold yourself accountable. Check in before bed time and ask yourself “how did I apply this word today” and “what can I do better tomorrow”.
SO, WHAT DOES AN EFFECTIVE BIBLE STUDY METHOD CONSIST OF?
An effective bible study method means to find your “go-to” spot, find a bible you LOVE, choose a technique you feel you can get the most out of (or mix and mingle like I do!), use all the wonderful tools available to you, and….APPLY! And, as I always suggest, start small. Download this checklist so you can mark off each step until you get to a place where you are ready to effectively study the bible. It doesn’t need to take place all in one day but every small step counts!
We all know that when He is the Lord of our lives and in the front seat (or shall I say at the wheel) our lives work. They WORK! They aren’t perfect but good golly do we get some good ol’ fashioned “this feels right” going on up in here! So – let’s get started on the right track. Give Him 5 minutes. 5 minutes at the beginning of each day uninterrupted. Start here. Then build.
*Different bible translations are frequently used throughout the blog. To see more information about the copyright for each one, please visit the Citations Page.