Five ways to study the Bible
All of us know how important it is to read / study the Bible. We talk all the time about the priority of taking in the word of God, and finding time to read scripture. But what is seldom talked about is HOW to study the Bible. Let me share with you what I think are the (5) most effective ways to study the word of God.
Book Study -- this is when we choose a particular book of the Bible and read through the entire book. The four gospels (Matthew – Mark – Luke – John) are great to study because each of them show us the details of the life of Christ. Everyone has their favorite books of the Bible. My favorite is the Psalms. The book of Philippians and the book of James are also great little books to read. I think the “book study” is the most common and one of the most effective ways to study the scriptures.
Chapter Study -- this is when we take a particular chapter in the Bible and spend time on those one or two chapters. The greatest collections of the teachings of Jesus are found in Matthew 5-7, I Corinthians 13 is the love chapter of the Bible. Psalm 25 is a particular favorite of mine.
Character Study**--this is when we take a particular person in the Bible and read all the scriptures on that individual. It might be a bit overwhelming to start with Jesus or Paul, but there are less well-known individuals that are interesting (i.e., Enoch - Nicodemus - Hezekiah - Philip, etc.)
Topical Study**--this is when we do a word study of a particular subject in the Bible that we are interested in (i.e. love, marriage, jealousy, divorce, heaven, forgiveness, fear, prayer, etc.)
One Verse Study -- this is when we spend a considerable amount of time on one particular verse(s). There are some incredible verses where it is possible to spend a few days thinking about each phrase in the verse. Some of my favorite verses for this are: Romans 12:1-2, Deuteronomy 31:8, Hebrews 12:1-2, Isiah 41:10.
Probably one of the more common ways that people read the Bible is what I would call the “shotgun approach”. That is when we just open the Bible and we start reading wherever. There is nothing wrong with this—all of us have done it. And there are times that God leads us to a scripture that we need for that particular day. This approach is better than never reading the scripture, but is probably the least effective way to read the Bible.
Try these different approaches in reading / studying the Bible. I think you will really enjoy it.
** You would need to have a complete or exhaustive concordance to do this particular study. Any Christian book store would have a concordance. Be sure you get a concordance in the particular translation of the Bible that you use. (KJV, NIV, NLT, etc). This is an invaluable tool in studying the scripture. You might think of a particular verse, but have no idea where it is located. If you know one word in the verse, you can find it with a concordance.