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There are many, many ways to study God’s word, but oftentimes it’s hard to know where to get started. In this post you’ll discover three every-day ways to make the most of your Bible time. Having these Bible study techniques tucked away in your toolbox will help you dig deeper into any passage from God’s word you’d like to explore.
What Bible Study Method Should I Use?
I’ve heard some Christians say there is only one “right way” to study God’s word and that is by tackling entire books of the Bible at a time. While I agree that this is a great way to study, there’s no single “perfect” way; there’s not even a “better” or “worse” way.
Your study method will greatly depend on the particular passage you are studying. Some passages naturally lend themselves to using certain methods, while others may best be studied using an entirely different approach. Furthermore, different approaches can draw out unique findings, so why wouldn’t one want to use a variety of methods?! I certainly do!
Your method will also depend on your needs, the questions you are looking to answer, and what your goals are. For example, if you have a goal of gaining general bible information, or acquiring an overview of a book, the method you choose to study God’s word is going to be very different than if you’re looking at, say, a character trait you want to develop in your life. So, your study method will largely depend on the passage you choose and the goals that you have.
If you are brand new to study, or you are looking for some different study techniques, I invite you to check out the course I created on Bible Study Methods.
The course has seven different ways of studying God’s word. It includes topical study, word study, chapter analysis and more, as well as some of the more devotional types of study, and it will give you a good core set of study methods that you can use for passages.
But for today’s post I’m going to share three general things you can do to study ANY passage more in depth. I love using these techniques because they help me retain, understand, and process what I’m studying, even if I only have fifteen minutes to spend with the Scripture.
3 Bible Study Techniques to Get More from Your Daily Bible Reading
Before we dive in, I’d like to say that my approach to daily Bible reading has changed dramatically over the years.
Ten years ago if I had 15 minutes to spend in the Scriptures, I would spend all 15 reading my daily passage. However, as I’ve become more easily distracted (and perhaps older? Lol!), I’ve learned I need time to digest and meditate on what I’ve read in order to pull the meat off the bones.
I now spend about five of my 15 minutes reading through the passage and the other 10 on the activities shared below. This helps me put hooks into the passage and gives me something to grab hold of and take with me that day.
Bible Study Technique #1: Observation: The Critical Foundation
Okay, so I realize this sounds suuuuper boring but I’ll let you in on a secret: Observation is a critical first step to any kind of Bible study. You’ll be amazed at what you glean from a passage simply by intentionally observing what it says.
If you’re like me, you think observation is something that happens naturally as you read… and you’d be right… to an extent.
I discovered that until I specifically look for certain things in the text and actually write them down, I don’t pick up as much as I think I do. Yikes!
So, how do you make observations about a passage of Scripture? The easiest and best way is by simply asking questions! Easy peasy! This is where I kind of geek out a little bit so if you need a place to start, I highly recommend checking out this video with favorite questions I use.
Bible Study Technique #2: Cross-References: A Closer Look
A good cross-reference Bible allows you to explore a topic or theme found in your chosen passage across multiple books and authors. These related references expand your understanding of the passage as well as the overall teaching of Scripture. It’s a great way to slowly build up your biblical knowledge!
As I look up cross references, I like to take notes on what I discover and use the same observation questions as above. Over time you’ll be amazed as the info you glean from just adding this one simple step.
Bible Study Technique #3: Keyword ID: Digging In
Now we get to my favorite study tool- word studies! As you read through a passage, it’s very likely a word or phrase will grab your interest or jump out at you. Perhaps there’s a word that’s repeated or one you don’t fully understand. When this happens, you’ve ID’d a keyword to look at further.
You don’t have to do a complete word study either, just defining the word is so insightful! Start by looking up the word in the Webster’s dictionary (you can do it online too). Then, if you have access to Blue Letter Bible, type it into the search bar and let that bring up info on your word.
You can then jot down the definition of the original word as well as where and how many times the word appears in the Bible and all the cross-references that contain the word. You can choose to look up those cross-references and write a summary of each, or only go as far as you have time for. You can even spread your study over several days if you need to- so make it work for you!
Word studies have been so transformative for my spiritual life, I highly recommend making them part of your every-day study. And by the way, I’ve compiled a list of 31 amazing Bible words every Christian should study here. These words are a great way to get started with word studies so be sure to check them out!
There you have it: three ways to easily dig deeper into your daily Bible reading. I hope these tools help you explore God’s word in fresh and exciting ways. Let me know how it goes!
Arabah Joy is wife to Jackson, adoptive and biological mom to 4, missionary, and world traveler. Her adventures span far and wide, from eating pig snouts to giving birth in three different Asian countries. AJ has experienced the life transforming power of grace, something she writes about in her books, resources, and prayer challenges, including her best-selling 40-day devotional, Trust Without Borders. You can connect with Arabah and sign up for her free spiritual growth resources at ArabahJoy.com or shop all her resources at the Arabah Joy Store here.