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How to Study the Bible

So, you’ve decided to spend time in personal Bible study. That’s an excellent goal, but you may be asking, What’s the best way to approach this? The best way to study God’s Word, is the way that works best for you! There are some standard techniques that may be helpful to you as you begin to dig into the Scriptures.

Book Study

Perhaps the most common method of Bible study is to examine one book of the Bible at a time. The use of a good Bible commentary may be of invaluable assistance to you in this approach. Take your time reading through the book, closely examining only a few verses at a time. Read the Bible passage from several translations of the Bible to get a thorough grasp of what the writer is saying. Outline the book and make relevant notes either in a notebook or in the margins of your Bible. The habit of reading and recording information will help you to better understand the purpose and meaning of the book.

Character Study

Another good approach to studying the Bible is by examining the life of a particular character either in the Old or New Testament. Select an important individual, such as David, and use a Bible dictionary to read about the character of the person. Then use a Bible concordance or index to locate the passages of Scripture relating to this character’s story. Remember, the purpose of conducting personality studies of biblical characters is not only to learn about the individuals, but also to learn how God worked through them to accomplish His will. As you study, ask yourself, What does the person’s life say to me about how I ought to live as a believer?

Topical Study

What does the Bible say to us about prayer? Or about fear? Or about marriage? If there is a particular subject you want to know more about, an examination of the topic is yet another approach to Bible study. Use a Bible dictionary or index to locate passages on the topic you have selected. A topical Bible is also a valuable resource. Read the passages and consult other biblical references to help you grasp the full meaning of what the Bible has to say about this particular subject. Take time to write central truths, short summary statements, on each passage. Also, make sure you jot down application statements to remind you the best way to apply what you have learned.