Do you find it difficult to read the Bible regularly? Unfortunately, many in our culture have a Bible, but do not read it on a regular basis. The result is that we live in a society that has become biblically illiterate. Those who do not read their Bibles have to rely on what others tell them about the Bible, which may or may not be accurate. Some people want to understand the Word of God better. Here are 5 tips for studying that Bible that may help those who desire to come to a deeper understanding of God's Word:
1. Set Aside A Specific Time
If it is hard for you to find time to read the Bible, set aside a specific time to read it. It is more difficult to read the Bible if you try to "fit it in" to what you already have planned. A better solution is to clear your calendar for one hour. This can be done at any time of the day, as long as you set up a time and follow through on it. It doesn't do any good to schedule time for studying God's Word if you don't follow through on studying it. If you are married, you can get your spouse and/or kids involved and have a daily family Bible study. In this way, your entire family is studying the Bible and everyone benefits! The important thing is for you to make this a regular habit. You set aside time for you and your family to eat dinner. Why not set aside time for you and your family to eat spiritually?
2. Put Away All Distractions
Let's face it: We are easily distracted. If we sit down to study Scripture while our phone is right in front of us, we will continue to get distracted. One of the best ways to handle this issue is to remove anything that could become a distraction. Put away the cell phone. You can live without it for an hour. Is your Bible on your phone? Get a print edition of the Bible. If you don't have one, go to your local church. Most churches would be happy to give you a Bible. The point is that you spend time focusing solely on God's Word, away from distractions. Distractions hinder your ability to grasp what Scripture is saying.
3. Utilize Available Tools
After you have read the portion of Scripture that you have set out to read, you should spend some time thinking about the Scripture itself, its meaning, and how you can apply it to your life. Free tools exist to help you accomplish this. Perhaps you have a day where something unexpected happens and it interrupts your Bible study time. I would recommend getting a copy of an audio Bible for these situations. You can find a wide variety of audio Bibles for free through the ministry of Faith Comes By Hearing. The Bible Gateway app also has a wide variety of audio Bibles available to stream for free. Audio Bibles can also allow you to hear what is being said and help you understand the broader context of the passages that you have read. A word of warning though: it is important for you to read the Bible itself, not merely listen to it being read to you. Don't neglect the regular reading of Scripture in exchange for listening to it being read to you. This is a useful tool that is meant to supplement your study of Scripture, not replace it.
After you have read your Bible, you can also go online to Bible Gateway or Bible Study Tools and use their free resources to help you dive deeper into the text. These resources include commentaries, concordances, and a wide variety of Bible study helps. While the material itself is free, Bible Gateway does offer a membership package for less than $5 per month. I myself am a student in Bible College right now, and I can personally say how beneficial the members' materials are. I have used these tools to help do research for papers, including some that I have published on this blog, such as my exegetical papers on 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 and Isaiah 6:1-13. Even if you do not become a member, I highly suggest checking out the resources that these two excellent sites offer.
If you do not want to read a commentary online, you can pick up a hard copy of a Bible commentary. There are several good Bible commentaries available. If you are looking for a solid Bible commentary that will improve your understanding of Scripture and is easy to read, I recommend the Tyndale Bible Commentary Series. This is an excellent commentary series, and I think that anyone would benefit from the insight that these series offer.
THIS IS VITAL! It is always a good idea to couple your Bible study time with prayer. Pray about ways that you can apply what you have read to your life. Pray about how you can reach others with the truth of the passage that you have read. Pray that you come to a better understanding of the passage. You should couple your Bible study with prayer. If you are having a family Bible study, pray as a family. Ask God to show you ways that to apply the passage of Scripture you have studied to your daily lives. And then........
5. Live It
Dwight L. Moody, the famous evangelist, once said that "The Bible was not given for our information, but for our transformation." There is an element of truth to this. It does us little good to know what the Bible says if we do not live according to it. After you have finished reading Scripture, utilizing all of the tools you can in your study of it, and praying, go out and show others what it looks like to live according to what the Bible teaches. After all, you may be the only Bible that some people ever read.