Four Steps to a Transforming Bible Study
The Bible has always been part of my life, so it’s easy for me to assume that it’s been part of everyone’s life. Obviously, this is not true. Some people are total strangers to the Bible, and getting started in Bible Study can be intimidating. So, here are my “helpful hints” in getting started.
First, get a Bible. No, I’m not being funny, just honest. By this I mean get a Bible you feel comfortable reading.
There are several good translations. I use the Holman Bible. It’s easy to read and understand. Find a Bible that feels good in your hands, the print is easy on your eyes, and one that you can carry around with you easily. If you get a “study Bible”—a Bible with a lot of study aids added to the text—you’ll end up carrying around a book that weighs about 5 pounds.
Yes, you can get the Bible in a digital format. I use Bible software that is very rich. Most pastors do.
For everyday reading, however, I prefer a paper version of the Bible. Studies are now showing that we remember reading words on paper better than reading words on a screen. One reason for this is that reading words on paper involves more of our senses than reading words on a screen. We turn the pages, we trace the words with our fingers, we underline the text—we’re totally engaged with the text. As a result, we remember more.
Second, establish a time and place to study the Bible. We are creatures of habit and forming a habit of time and place will reinforce your study. It can be early in the morning or late at night. Just find the time and place that works for you.
Third, use some kind of system in reading. Jumping from verse to verse won’t allow you to grasp the full meaning of the verses you’re reading. Read through a book of the Bible. Read the Bible all the way through. There are several plans available. Again, find one that fits your needs.
Now, let’s get started with the text. Read slowly. There’s no race or finish line. The goal is to know God better, not to be the fastest reader. Read until something causes you to think…and then…think about the passage. Keep a notebook handy and write down your thoughts and how the verse impacts your life. Think about the verses you read throughout the day. Apply what you’re learning to your daily choices. Remember, some things are learned only in obedience.
Fourth, stick with it. Even on those days when you don’t think you’re getting a lot out of your study, you’re getting more than you think. We want the Word of God to be in our thoughts and conversations enough so that what we’re learning becomes who we are.
Remember, becoming more like Christ—the transformative process called “sanctification,” is a life-long journey. Speed isn’t as important as pace and persistence. Day-by-day and step-by-step is how the long journey from who we are to who we can be in Christ is accomplished. But, trust me, the journey is worth it.
Now, go get your Bible and get started. You’ll never get there at all until you start.