It can be overwhelming to study the Bible. Where is a person supposed to start? What do all these verses mean? How can I know if I am really understanding it?
The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit “will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). That’s great and He will, but there are some things you can do to help understand where the Spirit is guiding you.
Here are three tips to help you get the most out of your Bible study time.
1. Be Consistent
In order for the Holy Spirit to lead you, you need to have a consistent Bible study time. Too often people open their Bibles only when they need an answer to life’s problems. They open the Bible and pray that God will lead them to the right verse.
Sometimes, God will speak to us like that. But most of the time, that is not how God speaks to us.
In order to learn what the voice of the Spirit sounds like, you need to be daily reading the Word of God. Find a Bible reading program that works for you. There are many Bible studies available. Or, you could choose a Bible reading plan. I like the ones available at Bible Study Tools.
Whatever plan you choose, be consistent. Start reading something every day. Even if it is just one or two verses, get in the habit of reading your Bible every day.
As you start reading your Bible every day, you will be amazed at how quickly the Holy Spirit begins to speak to you. You will begin to remember verses throughout your day. You will begin to make wiser choices. You will begin to have a greater love for people.
The Holy Spirit wants to speak to you! He is just waiting for you to want to listen.
2. Ask Questions
Even with consistent Bible study, you will not understand everything you read. Ask questions! Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the answer to your questions. Often, He will!
If you are wondering why a certain verse was included, write it down. Ask the Holy Spirit why that verse was important enough to include in Scripture.
If something doesn’t make sense, ask the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of your understanding.
If you are wondering how to apply a certain Scripture to your life, ask the Holy Spirit to show you the application for the verse.
If you are needing direction, ask the Holy Spirit to lead you to the truth of His Word.
Reading the Bible can be like reading a book with the author right next to you. The Holy Spirit inspired the words on the page. He knows why He picked them. You can ask!
Asking questions allows you to think deeper about what you are reading. When you pause to understand what you are reading instead of just checking it off your list for the day, you will open your heart to a whole new level of Bible understanding.
You will begin to make connections that you didn’t know were there. You will begin to see the Bible as a complete work from beginning to end, instead of just unconnected verses.
Asking questions will help you to see that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man (or woman) of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
3. Write in Your Bible
It is OK to write in your Bible! If a verse stands out to you, underline it. If you don’t understand something, highlight it. If you receive insight into a specific verse, write what you learned in the margin.
Sometimes you will be reading a verse and it will trigger a memory of another verse that means the same thing. Write the reference for that verse in the margin. It will help you begin to connect the dots of Scripture.
If you have a question, write it down. Then, write the answer when the Holy Spirit reveals it to you. If the Holy Spirit gives you insight into a specific verse, write it down!
Highlight words that stand out to you. I like to use Twistable Crayola Colored Pencils to color different words different colors. For example, every time there is a place, I color it green. Every time it says “God,” I color it yellow. Every time it says, “forgive,” I circle it with a dark pink colored pencil.
I also like to use Post-it Notes in my Bible because I often have more to write than will fit in the margin. Here is an example of one of my Bible pages:
It’s time to get started! Grab your Bible. Set a consistent time to read each day. Ask questions! And don’t be afraid to write down what you are learning in your Bible.