Have you ever wanted to really study your Bible? After you’ve looked online, you’re just confused about what to do and where to go. How to study the Bible has many answers but, if you look at this adventure like a treasure hunt, you can have some fun and figure out what type of Bible Study works best for you and then get started on the adventure.
The Bible is filled with all the wisdom God wants to impart to His people. As you search, you will find God’s wisdom, even in areas you might not expect. Bible Study truly is a treasure hunt designed to make you rich in faith, hope, and love.
Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. Colossians 3:16 NIV
Why Should I Study The Bible?
You might be asking yourself why should I study as opposed to just reading. Reading is wonderful. However, since reading the Bible is not like reading any other book, it’s important to learn how to study the Bible so that you can gain important life lessons and wisdom from it.
The Bible is the best-selling book ever written because it contains a treasure of wisdom, history, development of civilization, and mankind, along with the foundations of life for mankind and living as a community of believers.
It documents the Ten Commandments which are a universal code for all of mankind. The historical accounts of the Jewish nation in the Old Testament are also records of the development of mankind. The rich history contained in the New Testament shows us the development of the Christian faith and gives the very precepts Jesus wants us to live by. All these reasons are why we need to learn how to study the Bible.
What Is Bible Study?
Held within all of that is the treasure of who and what we are meant to be:
- If you want to know God’s will, it is in the Bible.
- If you want to know how you should live, that is in the Bible also.
- Everything we need to know about living as Christians and as the human beings God intended us to be, is contained in the Bible.
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 2 Peter 1:3 NIV
We increase our ‘knowledge of Him who called us” by reading His words and gaining a true understanding that is based on our own study, prayer, and focus on Him. Learning how to study the Bible opens the door to God’s wisdom and knowledge.
Ways To Study the Bible
- Some people study the Bible by doing verse-by-verse studies.
- Others prefer to research a topic such as grace, forgiveness, end times, or other subjects of the Bible.
- Bible Study can also involve word studies which include research into literal and implied word meaning.
- Historical studies are also an option.
- For others, studying a book or chapter of the Bible is their preferred method. As you try various types of study, you will learn how to study the Bible with the Holy Spirit speaking and guiding you.
The simplest explanation is that “Bible Study” is a process of learning and knowing the Word of God. Knowing the Word and making it part of you in your daily life will do the following:
- Build Your Faith
- Increase your knowledge
- Find wisdom
- Know God’s will for your life
- Protect you from false teaching
Each point is a vital reason to learn how to study the bible and to seek to be conformed to the image of Christ.
Bible Study is an individualized process. You may find that you dislike reading historical accounts or that you don’t care about the Greek and Hebrew meanings of words.
You need to study in the way that fits you, your goals, and what God is saying to you. If the Holy Spirit is talking to you about peace, do a topical study on peace.
The most important factor is that you start somewhere, find your own pace and style, and then go deep into the Word of God allowing it to go deep into you.
- How to study the Bible is a progressive endeavor.
- How you study the Bible will probably change over the coming months and years.
- What you study will certainly change along with the content that is important to you in each season of life.
How To Study The Bible
Now, let’s look at Bible Study methods, and I will also tell you how I like to study the Bible. I’ve been in ministry in varied positions for most of my life including today. I’ve taught since I was in my twenties and done countless hours of research and study using many different methods.
When I first began in-depth study, I had stacks of Concordances, Bible Dictionaries, Commentaries, and Bibles around me and I wrote everything out by hand!
Today, of course, I do all my writing online on a computer and use resources like BibleGateway and BibleHub as research tools because I can find a variety of authors and information all in one free location.
I also have my Bible next to me along with a couple of reference books I can’t find online. Currently, I am using the NKJV Spirit-Filled Life Study Bible, Third Edition. It is filled with references, maps, historical information, and even personal application tips. I purchased the leather cover but it is available in other covers. It has comfort print which is slightly larger and easier to read.
I’ll give you an example of my process for this site.
For most of my research, I start with a topic or a phrase. For instance, for this blog, I started with Bible Study as my topic. I went online and typed in “Bible study” I usually look through several pages of sites but there are a few I have learned to trust the most. I generally already have a few scriptures in mind as the basis for my study.
I begin looking up each Scripture, reading it in multiple translations, and looking at word meaning. What does ‘in-depth study’ mean? I go to BibleHub, pull up the Scriptures, and then go to Strong’s Concordance. I search for things like the history of the Bible and look at sites with information about that.
As I compile my list of Scripture verses, I also look at the people involved and, if necessary, look up historical information on the author or the people the scripture was written by and for.
In the case of this particular study, my goal was to help you by giving you the reasons for in-depth study along with a simplified method of doing so.
If you’re starting a study on peace, you can find a Bible Study on a blog or in an online app (I give you this information below). Then, as you read the Scriptures the author has used, you can begin to search and verify using your own Bible, online Bibles, Commentaries, Dictionaries, and Concordances.
Trust But Verify
There’s an old saying – trust but verify. This applies to Bible Study as well. While I may completely trust the author, it’s good for me to verify and, in the process, learn what God wants to teach me as an individual. In addition, research helps you remember and solidify the concept in your own heart and mind.
How to study the Bible is important in protecting yourself and others from deception. In the New Testament, there are many warnings about false teachers and, they still exist today. In order to protect yourself from teachings that are tantalizing, you need to know how to study the Bible so that you can recognize false teaching. If you know God’s precepts, ways, and words, you’ll be kept safe from those who take the Word and twist to it to make it say what they want. Learn how to study the Bible so that this doesn’t happen to you,
Steps of Action
Here are your starting steps:
- Choose a subject, topic, single scripture or book of the Bible.
- Begin reading it in a variety of translations.
- As you read, take notes.
- Look up word definitions – you will often be surprised at the actual meaning of words.
- Read what comes before and after the Scripture you have chosen.
- Find a method that works for you – there are three explained below.
- Continue to write your thoughts and observations. What are you learning? What is God saying?
- Read commentaries and look at related scriptures.
- Finally, write out what spoke to you and how you can apply it in your life.
Bible Study Methods
Choose a method of study and remember, you can switch to a different one anytime you want. Of course, you can simply read! But, if you want a deeper understanding of the context, history, word meaning, and associated verses or topics, you can choose a method of study. Here are three and you can also google ‘bible studies on peace’ or whatever subject you have chosen.
SOAP stands for Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer and is a simple way to start.
S – Scripture – choose a verse, section, or chapter of the Bible. Then write out the verse(s) that stands out to you.
O – Observation – What do you think about the verse? What is God saying to you about it?
A – Application – How can you apply this truth of the Word to your life?
P – Prayer – Pray about the verse, what God is saying, and how it applies to you.
To add to this, you can then go online and find free commentaries, bible dictionaries, and Concordances along with maps and historical information about that section or chapter of the Bible.
Inductive Bible Study Method
The Inductive Bible Study Method started by Kay Arthur is very popular and similar to SOAP. There is actually an Inductive Bible you can purchase that provides room to take notes and study all while reading your Bible.
You can purchase an Inductive Bible at Christian Book – Click Here.
The Inductive Method of Bible Study involves these steps:
- Observation – What does the text say?
- Interpretation – What does the text mean?
- Application – What does this text mean for me?
Kay Arthur, the creator of the inductive method, has written a book that teaches you How To Study Your Bible using the Inductive Method.
6 W’s and 1 H Bible Study Method
I created this Bible Study method for myself. It combines some of the steps of the most popular study methods. I’m attaching the method so you can download it for free! The download includes a page for each step. You can then use it to create your own journal. Click Here to download the PDF of 6 W’s & 1 H In-Depth Bible Study Method.
Here are the steps:
- WRITE – find a passage, verse or chapter and write it out. If you are studying a chapter, you might want to just pick the sections or verses that most impressed you.
- WHO? – Identify the people involved. The author and the audience to begin with. Do some reading about the author. Google the author and the audience. When we put a person’s words into the context of their life, it often changes our attitudes toward them and what they have said or written.
- WHEN? – When was this written? This matters because, as you study the full context of the verse(s), when helps you understand the author, the audience, and the context of what you are reading. Write down what you have learned about the time and the people.
- WHERE? – Where does this take place? If you’re reading the book of Philippians, it will help you to understand more about Paul (the author), the Philippians (the audience), the conditions people were living in at the time, and what the city of Phillipi was like. What struggles were the people facing? Can you identify with them?
- WHAT? – What is the author trying to communicate? What is God saying to you right now? What does this have to do with your life? What can you apply to yourself?
- WHY? – Why does this matter? Why did God send this message through this author? Why does it matter to you right now at this moment? Write out all your why’s and discoveries.
- HOW? How does this apply to you right now? How can this verse become part of you? How can you use it to grow, change, mature, and help others? How does it help you understand God’s will and love for you?
Pray and put some thought into this because the point of studying the Word is application in some form. How can you make this part of you and your life? The Bible is alive and active and should be fully at work in each of us.
Bible Study Tips
How To Study The Bible To Know God’s Will
The Bible is a book that is meant to be studied, understood, made part of you, and to be lived. It is not just a static combination of words.
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 NASB
For these reasons, learning how to study the Bible will open up the kingdom of God in an ever-greater way for each person who sets their heart to know the Word of God.
When you are considering how to study the Bible, context matters. What is context? It is everything surrounding a particular verse. Some verses of the Bible can stand alone and give a clear meaning. However, there are many that have been used to twist the true meaning of the verse to fit one person’s view of what they think the Bible should mean.
Dick Iverson of City Bible Church often told us this – “a text without a context is a pretext.” A pretext is something placed in front of the original in order to appear to be the real thing, Pretexts are deliberate deception, so be sure that as you study, you keep the verse or topic in context.
Context includes the historical setting, writer, intended audience, and the text before and after the particular verse or section. I would strongly encourage you to include context as you study.
Of course, many verses are used alone for encouragement and faith-building and that too is a wonderful use of Scripture. Here are a few examples where one verse, even without context, still carries great meaning,
I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13 NIV
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NIV
So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty. Zechariah 4:6 NIV
An added aspect of studying the Bible is to journal. I’m including links to some ready-made journals but you can also just use a simple notebook or whatever you want. You can keep an online journal as well that can be accessed anywhere and anytime you want to.
Why journal? It is your historical record of the journey of your spiritual growth and understanding of the word of God and, as you learn how to study the bible, you’ll have a personal record of its benefits.
As you journal, record what you’re learning, areas where you are changing, and how your faith has been strengthened. Over time, you’ll see a positive progression in your own life and faith.
I want to encourage you to have fun and enjoy studying this incredible book. Don’t stress over which Bible or method to use. Start out online with a free version of the Bible so that you can find one you really like. Then, go online and look up some Bibles, read what the features are, and do a little comparison before you jump in. You might find you just want to use an online Bible and do some journaling to record what you’re learning,
I like to write in my Bible as well as doing color-coded highlighting. There are lots of ideas for color-coded highlighting. At first, I had a hard time writing or marking my Bible, but, as I learned how to study the Bible, I realized how helpful it was in finding a verse. Color coding helped me immediately identify the subject of the verse at a glance, Here is my color-coding method:
Pink – Praise and Worship
Orange – Growth, Commands, Laws, Fruitfulness, and Obedience
Blue – Prayer and the Holy Spirit
Purple – Attributes of God and Names of God and Jesus
Red – Christ’s Work and the Heart.
Green – Promises and Who I Am in Christ
Brown – Names, Dates, Locations, Place, and Numbers
Yellow – Any Verse That is Special to Me, Eternity, and Heaven
Search for bible color-coding on Google and you’ll find lots of other ideas and tips.
Perhaps you need a Bible. You’ll get many different answers if you Google – how many versions of the Bible are there? BibleGateway.com has over 55 different translations. Some are translations of the original languages and others are paraphrases and there is great debate as to which are the most accurate translations.
New American Standard, English Standard Version, King James, and New King James are considered to be some of the best word-for-word- translations.
In order to find a translation you like and understand, it would definitely help you to go to BibleGateway.com and begin reading portions of Scripture in a variety of translations. In this way, you can then purchase one you enjoy reading and that will enhance your reading as you learn how to study the Bible.
I personally read a variety of translations with the New American Standard as my base. Many of the newer translations give clarity to sections of the Bible that might be confusing.
Another consideration is what type of Bible you want. In other words, do you want a Study Bible, one for just reading, a journaling Bible, a Concordance, or a large text Bible? Again, go to the Internet and look at each type of Bible. Amazon allows you to look at the pages of some Bibles. Christian Book.com also has a variety of Bibles and you are able to view some of them. Here is a list of links to a few Bibles you might want to look at:
- The Amplified Bible NASB
- HCSB Illustrators Notetaking Bible
- Thompson Chain Reference KJV
- MacArthur Study Bible NASB
- Life Application Bible NIV
- The Inspire Bible NLT
Where Can You Find Bible Studies?
Free online studies are readily available. Youversion.com, Biblegateway.com, Blueletterbible.org, and others have multiple studies you can use for no cost. They also have apps for your phone so that you can read and study wherever you go. The apps are free as well.
There are hundreds of blogs with free and paid Bible Studies available for you to download or study online.
There are also online schools where you can engage in studies and even receive certification. Some are free and others have a cost associated.
If you just do a search for ‘free bible studies,’ you will find pages of resources on all different topics, books of the Bible, and principles of Christian living.
There are also books available on Christianbook.com, Amazon, and other retailers. Of course, these will not be free but will cover a multitude of needs. All of these will help you decide how to study the Bible and even develop your own method.
Bible Study Apps
Whatever method you choose, there are many options and helps available. For instance, YouVersion.com offers studies on topics like Love, Anxiety, Healing, Anger, and more. There are also Through the Bible reading plans, studies on Marriage, Dating, Leadership, and many others. They also offer Audio and Video Study plans on many of the same subjects.
Other sites like BibleGateway.com and BlueLetterBIble.org offer similar studies and most are topical studies. In addition, there are free apps for all three of these resources and the content is free,
Bible Studies Online
There are literally hundreds and hundreds of Bible Studies online. They range from short studies to longer, in-depth studies. Because there are so many, it will help you to narrow your search. For instance, maybe you want to study more about King David. Lingonier Ministries has a multi-part series on The Life of David that is free and you can listen to the series of lessons.
There are other online studies that require payment and/or subscribing to the website to receive the study, Growing Thru Grace offers an online study called Life of David Inductive Bible Study for $9.00. It has 10 Chapters that are designed to be used 6 days a week with questions and insights to help you.
Books are available on Christian Book and Amazon such as Beth Moore’s study on David – Seeking A Heart Like His. Christian Book has studies written by John MacArthur on 1st and 2nd Samuel where you can learn about David and his history – 1 Samuel, John MacArthur Study Guides. Christian Book has a huge selection of Bible Studies broken down by audience, best sellers, authors, and more.
In future blogs, I will be going into detail about places to find Bible Studies and more information regarding study itself. As you investigate each resource, you’ll develop your own style and be comfortable with how to study the Bible.
Bible Schools Online
There are free online bible schools you can enroll in. Most do not offer any type of certificate but you may receive a certificate of completion. One example is the WVBS Online Bible School (this link is not secure). They offer studies on every book of the Bible and the course is free to watch. You can purchase other materials.
Christian Leaders Institute also offers free courses and they include many subjects, not just leadership topics. You can also earn a college degree from them but there is a cost involved that is minimal in comparison to most colleges. Click Here to go to the page that explains their fees for degrees.
Here. is a summary of the steps you can take to start studying the Bible:
- Pray and determine what you would like to study. Start small with a verse, a section, a chapter or a topic you are interested in.
- Get online and do some searches for Bible studies about the word, verse, or topic you are interest in.
- Go to your own Bible or to an online Bible source, and read all you can about your chosen area of study.
- Decide on a method – you can use S.O.A.P., Inductive, or the 6 W’s & 1 H or any other method you find that fits your needs.
- If your Bible is lacking in resources, look for a Study Bible. Some are listed above.
- Go to the online resources noted here and do research. Read Commentaries, look up definitions, and read various translations.
- While you are doing this, take notes or follow the steps in your Bible Study method.
- Pray and write out what you are seeking from God and what He is saying.
As you see, there are many ways to study the Bible but, the important thing is to begin a regular reading schedule incorporating your study time. Through this you’ll find the Word of God becomes deeply engrained, guiding your life, decisions, and future in the most positive way possible. Document your treasure hunt and the valuable things added to your life through learning how to study the bible.
If you have questions, I would love to hear from you – firstname.lastname@example.org. I pray that you are blessed and helped as you pursue the treasures of the Word of God and learn how to study the Bible.
Inspiration For Life Today uses verses from different Bible translations. To see more information about the copyright for each one, please visit this page – Scripture Citations.