If you are looking to get a more in-depth and personal bible study session, then you’ve come to the right place. I often find that just reading a simple devotional is not enough for me to feel truly satisfied. It lacks depth and often times I leave my quiet time not feeling like I got anything from it.
I realized that my issue was that I was just reading the bible just to read. But to truly get something out of my quiet time with God, I had to read with a purpose.
Before we start: Some things to consider
1. Set aside time to study the bible
Before we get into my bible study method. I think going over the importance of discipline and making time for God takes precedent.
I know a lot of the time we would rather just go to church and get the Word there. But it is also important to read the bible for yourself and consistently. So that you can develop your own understanding and relationship with God. I have a post listing out all the reasons why reading the bible is important, titled Why Reading your Bible is Important. ( clever, huh?)
Go into your planner and scratch off 30 minutes to be with God. And at first, this isn’t going to feel natural. It might even feel like a chore and that’s okay. Building discipline and learning to love the process is all apart of our journey with Christ. Remember God loves us first, and then we begin to love him back.
God can handle your negative feelings toward reading the bible. As long as you go into it looking for growth and a personal relationship with Him. He will change your mind as you grow in your relationship. Don’t be discouraged or condemned by your feelings.
Just do it! And do it consistently. Missing a day is okay, but remember to just get back on track.
2. Set aside a place to study the bible
One of the keys to making bible study a habit and a staple in our daily lives is by being consistent. Not only with the time, but also the place.
Not having a clear space where you feel comfortable digging into the word isn’t helpful for creating a habit. You should plan out a specific space that you will use for reading the word.
I don’t suggest your bed. Only because your mind already associates your bed with sleep. I suggest trying out a spot on the floor where you can get comfortable. Or a desk, if you’re averse to the floor.
Just make a space that your brain can begin to associate with reading the bible.
3. Get a bible you actually like and don’t mind reading.
This is a big one. All bibles are NOT made the same. I suggest downloading the bible app. Go through a couple of scriptures in the different translations of the bible. And see which one you like. Personally, I like New Living Translation, The Amplified Bible, New International Version, and The Message. Keep in mind that, The Message, version of the Bible written in the most relatable English and is, therefore, the furthest away from its original text. It’s not always the most concise.
The translation that is the closest to the original text is the King James Version. But that version is hard to read as a beginner and takes time to get used to.
Also, I suggest you look into the type of bible you want. There are art journaling bibles, regular journaling bibles, study bibles, bibles that have a lot of pictures and artwork. Bibles that look like magazines. Bibles that are meant for devotionals.
Each bible caters to a specific person’s needs. I suggest doing some research. Look up videos on Youtube. Search on Pinterest, “Bible reviews.” Then decide which one will work for you.
I personally like using a journaling bible. I like having the lines on the sides of the text that I can write in.
Okay, so now that I went over all of that it’s time to jump into the actual bible study method!
DISCLAIMER: Please don’t feel overwhelmed or pressured to read your bible a certain type of way. I am just sharing what works for me with the hopes that it may help someone else! Please know that you will not experience this grand emotional reaction to the bible everytime you read. The important thing is just that you read. Although this method has taken my bible study to new heights. Seeking to get great big FEELINGS every time is just not realistic. Seek to get closer to God, and seek to allow God’s message to get inside you. Even if you don’t have those grand feelings, having the knowlegde of The Word inside of you is the important part.
My Bible Study Method
Step 1: Read Scriptures that are related to your current situation
I think utilizing a bible reading plan and reading the bible all the way through from cover to cover is an amazing goal to have. I also think that devotionals are great for getting a little bit of the word in when you are busy.
However, sometimes we need to focus our readings on things that are more applicable to our current situations. In order to really get the answers and healing, we need from God. And one way we can do this is by reading scriptures that are related to our current struggles.
I find that when I read the bible searching for an answer rather than just reading just to read, I am more engaged with the text. I am more focused on the text and it’s more enjoyable.
Reading bible verses about marriage, when I know I have anger issues. Isn’t going to give me the spiritual mana I need to overcome my problem. I need to know what God says about anger, how He feels about it. And what He says to do about it.
Ask yourself, ‘what questions do I have?’ ‘What am I struggling with?‘ Then find a text that relates to your question.
A way that you can find a text that can help you is by using a good ol Google search. Or even a Pinterest search. Search, “Bible verses for …..” You can search for anything! For example, search for verses for anxiety or verses for deepening your faith. Verses for encouragement or even verses about God’s character. Verses for getting to know Jesus. Verses for trusting God.
Once, you find a couple of verses. Narrow it down to one that really sticks out to you.
This usually takes me 5-7 minutes. Don’t go crazy with it. Just search for verses, read a couple, and choose one that really stands out to you.
Step 2: Read the whole chapter, not just a sentence
Once you have a verse or scripture that intrigues you and pertains to your issue, then it’s time to actually open up your bible.
Often times it’s easy to just read a simple scripture or verse and think. Whelp! That was nice. But honestly, that’s not an effective way to get the most out of your quiet time.
So once we have our verse, we are going to go to that chapter in the bible and read the whole chapter. Find out the context of what is happening. Why is this scripture being said? Who is saying it? And how can you apply this verse to your life?
Step 3: Use outside resources to help you understand what you are reading.
If you are new to reading the bible, I suggest that you use Blue Letter Bible’s text commentaries. In the commentaries, they break down the bible line by line into understandable and relatable English. My favorite commentary to read is by David Guzik. He really makes the bible easy to understand and brings in other Christian scholar’s quotes and musings to give their views on certain scriptures.
I recommend reading the chapter once by yourself. Form your own ideas about the text first. Then use Blue Letter Bible commentaries for clarification and to deepen your understanding.
Also, if you are reading a book in the bible that you’ve never studied before. I suggest watching The Bible Project’s Youtube Channel. They take each book of the bible and give an overview of it. They explain who’s the narrator. What is going on in the story, they give a time frame, and the major themes in the book. They also explain, what happens in the story and how it ends. And you get all of this information in 10 minutes or less.
I find their videos especially helpful when you skip around the bible as I do. Using this method of bible study, you will be skipping around a lot, so having this background information about the books in the bible helps.
I have a post that lists out some other resources that Christians can use to get closer to God, it’s called Bible and Faith Resources. In it, I list out some helpful resources and tools God gave us to get closer to Him.
Step 5: Take Notes
Whether you are an avid bible journaler or someone who can’t even fathom the idea of putting an accidental pen mark on your bible. You should write down what you’ve learned somewhere.
I tend to keep two journals. One for my notes and one that I like to use as a diary.
The one I use for my notes is a little chaotic. I will write my church notes in there and my notes for when I privately study the bible.
I don’t write my notes down in any particular order. I just write down the main things that stood out to me. Things that I would like to carry into my own life.
For example, I was reading 2 Corinthians 12, and one of the key takeaways I had was about Paul’s hatred towards boasting. And his desire to take the focus off of himself and put the focus on to Jesus. It reminded me to humble myself at all times. Be like Paul and not be so needy for the approval and praise of others.
In my notes, I copy down one or two key verses from the chapter. Then write out my understanding of the verse. This is of course after I read the blue letter bible commentary. I like to have a good understanding of what happened before I write my notes.
My note-taking doesn’t take too long. Reading the text takes longer. I write down what I find most important at the time. And what’s amazing about the bible is that later on I can read that same passage and get a different message. It’s based on how the Holy Spirit moves me and what spiritual season I’m in with God.
Should You write your notes the same as me?
Now how you choose to write down your notes is up to you. Some people like to use the SOAP method. Others like to use the Cornell Note-taking method. Some people use the REAP method. There are literally so many bible note-taking methods out there.
I highly recommend for you to hop on Pinterest and do a little search about the various methods. Just search, “How to take bible notes,” and a bunch of pictures and examples will pop up! Try some out and see how you like it!
Should you write your notes in your bible or in a Notebook?
I like to write in my bible. But I only re-phrase what’s already written in the bible. Or I clarify the meaning of a word. The notes in my bible are not opinions, but rather a condensed and easy to read explanation of the text. I also like the idea that I can go back into my bible years from now and have an easy to read summary in the writing space of my bible.
I write my personal thoughts or interpretation on a post-it note and place the post-it in my bible. I personally don’t like the idea of putting my personal feelings permanently into the writing space of my bible. But that’s my personal thing.
Step 6: Journal
Now, this step may not be for everyone. But I find that journaling to God brings me so much peace. It’s almost like a release for me. I write down all my worries and all my fears. If I am angry with God, then I write that down. If I’m feeling thankful than I write it down.
I talk about the passage, or how my day went. My future plans, my friendships. Literally whatever I want to talk to God about I do it in my journal.
Journaling has been such a game-changer when it comes to how I communicate with God. And as someone who suffers from anxiety, journaling helps to slow down my thoughts and helps me to really focus on what I want to say.
I actually have a post listing some amazing quotes from the bible for dealing with anxiety called, Bible Verses to Defeat Anxiety. Also, if you are interested in learning how I’ve been conquering my anxiety then check out my post, How to Let Go of Anxiety and Let God Work.
I truly recommend trying out journaling as a way to really pull together your quiet time sessions with God. It’s great for practicing mindfulness.
Step 7: Pray
After doing the steps above, I usually pray out my feelings. I think it’s more powerful to speak your prayers out loud. God didn’t just think the world into existence, even though He could have. But He spoke it into existence. There is power in the spoken word.
I’m going to be honest here and say that praying for over 5 minutes and being completely focused on prayer and nothing else is a challenge for me. There are always other thoughts vying for my attention in my mind. So a simple and to the point prayer works best for me. And if a new prayer pops into my head, then I will just pray about it right then and there.
For me, prayer isn’t a production. It’s a conversation between God and myself. And I pray constantly throughout the day. Whether for myself or for others. If I see a homeless man on the street, I will send up a quick prayer. If I need help keeping my peace, I pray. It’s simple and easy.
Remember that quiet time and bible study is all about getting closer to God, not about the method.
I just want to conclude by saying that having a great study method, a nice bible and fancy supplies is great! They help make the experience even more enjoyable. But the true purpose of all of this is to connect with God.
Lastly, do what works best for you! If 7 steps is too much for you than simplify it. As long as you feel connected to God than that’s all that matters. Take what you want from my method and leave the rest. Figure out what works for you.
I hope that the tips I listed are helpful in helping you to develop your own quiet time routine with God. And that these tips lead you to create a deeper relationship with God.
If you are looking to further develop your relationship with God, then check out the post “How to Grow Your Faith.” It lists some great ways you can deepen your relationship with God.
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