Below are five tips to make your study of God’s word more effective.
1. Find a passage that deals with your current situation. Do you open the Bible and have no clue where to read? Ask yourself the following questions to help direct your study: Do I need encouragement for something? Am I struggling in a certain area? This is where google can be extremely helpful. For example, if you are worrying a lot and find it difficult to have peace do a google search for “scriptures about worrying?” Use these scriptures to guide your study.
2. Get a journal for Bible study time. I am a huge fan of writing things down so I have a journal that I use to record all that I have learned in my time of study. Having my thoughts and notes in one place provides the opportunity for constant review and encouragement when I need it.
3. Summarize the passage after you read it. I try to make a habit of summarizing a passage after I read it to see if I really understand what it means. There is something about writing things down that helps us to retain it. If I am unable to summarize what I read this means I really did not get it. I go back and reread it and even look up certain words in the passage or read the passage in different translations. I especially like the New Living Translation, New King James Version and Amplified. I utilize biblegateway.com to access these different versions. Remember the point here is to study the word not just read it.
4. Ask yourself questions to make the passage more personal. Make connections from your own life with the passage. After reading a passage, ask yourself questions such as: How am I measuring up to this passage? Am I living this passage out, or am I falling short? Be honest with your answers. For example, Proverbs 14:1 says a wise woman builds her house while a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands. I ask myself the following questions after reading this passage and record my answers. Am I a wise woman? What does it mean to build my house? What are some practical things I have been doing to build my house? Or have I been foolish? How have I been tearing my house down? What practical changes can I make TODAY to start building my house? What can I say to my husband to my children, etc.? Is there are a need for me to repent?
If it is a promise that is being made in the passage, ask yourself, “Am I meeting the conditions laid out in the passage to receive the promise?” Have I been obedient or have I been walking in rebellion?
If you are reading about a certain character, ask yourself, what qualities about this character pleased God or displeased God? Do you have any of these qualities?
Take some time and ask the Lord to show you how to apply what you have read. The scripture tells us to be doers of the Word and not hearers only (James 1:22).
5. Incorporate what you have studied in your prayers. As I have mentioned before, you can never go wrong praying the word of God because we know the word is His will. I view my prayer time as an extension of my Bible study. I like to pray what I read and again I take the scripture and personalize it. For example, I want my marriage to mirror what is laid out in scripture. I have made a habit of praying Ephesians 5:22-30. I may not quote the entire scripture but my prayer may go something like this, “Lord I thank you that I am a wife that submits to Tyrone and that he loves me like you loved the church and gave yourself for it. I thank you for a sacrificial love, one that honors you.” In my prayers I speak the word because I want that to be my reality!
Incorporating these steps take time, but remember when studying the word of God it is about depth not breath. In other words, the focus should be on how much you retained and how deep you went as opposed to having bragging rights to reading 20 chapters in one day but getting absolutely nothing from it. On some days, I am only able to study two verses because there is so much in it. Slow down and take your time, the word of God is rich!
What do you do to make your Bible study effective? Please leave a comment and let me know.