Studying Scripture is a great way to grow in your faith, learn about God, and develop wisdom. There are lots of ways to study—but it can be hard to know where to start.
No matter your season of life, how long you have been a Christian, or how you are wired, there are ways to read the Bible that will deepen your love for God.
- Guided study through books of the Bible
A guided Bible study from gifted teachers can help you grow in biblical literacy and better understand God’s character. As you dive into the Bible book by book, you’ll stay rooted in the context of the passage, have time to dwell on each truth, and draw application for your life.
There are countless studies, and Lifeway is a trusted resource for finding theologically sound ones. These studies are often eight to ten weeks long and work well in the context of a group. Your local church may offer studies, or you can grab a few friends to join you. Many studies also include video teaching time that you can watch as a group or that you can use as a guide throughout the week. (Anyone else watch their Bible study while they slog away on the treadmill?)
- Dive deep into one passage or section
By dwelling in one section of Scripture for an extended period of time, you can both increase your understanding and your retention of that passage. Read through the thirty-one chapters of Proverbs over the next few months as you pursue wisdom. Read through the Gospels to reconnect with Christ’s life.
Review the context of the passage you are reading, and journal or think through the passage’s meaning to the original audience. What theological principles do you find? What personal application do you discover? Read different translations of the passage and research definitions of repeated words.
- Read through the Bible in a year (or two)
This overview of Scripture will reveal the wider story of God’s creation and redemption of the world. Reading the Bible in a year will help you see the bigger picture of God’s plan and encourage you to read sections you might otherwise avoid. You will also learn new truths about who God is and expand your understanding and appreciation of the vast nature of God’s character.
This is a long-term commitment, so ask a friend or family member to join you and be sure to review how to set up a daily Bible-reading habit. There are many plans and Bible translations available both in paper form and digitally. Here are a few that might be worth exploring:
- Five Day Bible Reading Plan – great bang for your buck, you read your own Bible, and it has a mix of Old and New Testament each day.
- The Bible Recap – this has a quick daily podcast along with the reading plan. Read your own Bible or use the YouVersion plan.
- The One Year Bible Online – choose between a daily mix of Old and New Testament or chronological plans.
- Topical Bible-reading plan
Many of Jesus’ teachings throughout the Bible helped his followers to understand truths that would affect their day-to-day lives. Throughout the Old Testament, God was faithful to provide specific instruction for what his people were facing. Scripture is full of insight that will help you navigate specific seasons.
If you are looking to grow in a specific area of your faith, look at studies focusing on those areas—subjects like prayer, leadership, parenting, or forgiveness. As you find your thoughts racing back to one subject, concern, or question, consider finding a topical study to discover what Scripture has to say on that subject.
Three plans you might like:
- Memorize a section of Scripture
Really knowing a passage will help it come to mind more easily. You probably still remember all the words to your favorite songs from high school, so you know you have the capacity to memorize. The first chapter of James will remind you of what it looks like to truly live for Christ. Psalm 46 will help you when you hit hard times and serve as a reminder that God is good.
As you work towards memorization, use all of your senses. Write the passage in your own handwriting, listen to it read to you, put a sticky note of the passage in a place you will see daily, or set a reminder on your phone to read the passage once a day.
- Scripture-based journal
If you are in a season where you need more reflection and soul care, consider a guided journal. By taking time to pause, you can discover God’s deep love for you as you slowly examine his truth. These journals can help to cultivate gratitude, process grief, and focus your mind. Journals can help you discover (or rediscover) God and how he cares deeply for you and what you are going through.
A few journals to consider:
- Experiencing God Day by Day – deeper devotionals to guide your spiritual growth.
Romans 15:4 says, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope” (NIV).
No matter how you choose to study the Bible, remember the purpose is to grow more in love with your Creator, to better understand his plans and purposes, and to be able to share the hope of Jesus out of the overflow of your study.
Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com. The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™