How To Study Your Bible Properly

You too can hear God.

Yes, during your Bible study. There is a “how to” that ensures that.

Read along as we take you on a step-by-step journey on how to study your Bible effectively. Get ready with your Bible open, a pencil in hand (because highlighting and doodling are totally allowed), and a heart ready to receive. There is so much to learn!

What’s The Big Deal About Bible Study?

Many often see Bible study as a scholarly activity meant for apologists who have constant face-offs with atheists and unbelievers. This is not the case. Bible study is as important to you as a person as it is to a theology professor. In fact, it is not a study for mere intellectual discussion, but an activity to unravel the treasures Christ has made available to us, Christians.

Effective Bible study isn’t about checking off a to-do list. Nor is it about impressing anyone with your knowledge or getting through chapters at lightning speed. No. It is a deep, meticulous study – adding Scripture upon scripture; line upon line- wrestling with the text, questioning, seeking, till you find answers to life’s questions.

A good picture to carry would be of you sitting at a table with sages, prophets, and disciples from ages past, engaging in discussions that span generations. Bible study is about immersing yourself in their stories, grappling with their questions, and celebrating their triumphs; allowing the words to speak to your joys, struggles, doubts, and hopes. It is about discovering what God says about you in the stories of ordinary people who encountered the extraordinary. It is embarking on a quest to unravel the mysteries of faith, life, and the One who crafted it all.

Get the point?

So, you see, it is a very big deal to study the Bible, especially if you are part of God’s Army.

Why Bother With Bible Study?

As you have seen, Bible study is very necessary if one must grow from babyhood to maturity in Christ. Even for the more surefooted Christian, Bible study brings reminders, uncovers new truths, etc. there is no end to the things one can unravel in the word of God.

Some of the things you will find in the Bible include:

  • Battle strategies – 2 Chronicles 20: 14-17; 22-30

Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph, as he stood in the assembly.  He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.’ “…

As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. The men of Ammon and Moab rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another. When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked toward the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped. So Jehoshaphat and his men went to carry off their plunder, and they found among them a great amount of equipment and clothing and also articles of value–more than they could take away. There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it.  On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Beracah, where they praised the LORD. This is why it is called the Valley of Beracah to this day. Then, led by Jehoshaphat, all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem, for the LORD had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies. They entered Jerusalem and went to the temple of the LORD with harps and lutes and trumpets. The fear of God came upon all the kingdoms of the countries when they heard how the LORD had fought against the enemies of Israel. And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.

  • Life lessons – 1 Corinth. 10, Romans 15:4, Proverbs 6:6

Now these things occurred as examples[a] to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry.”[b]We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did–and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test the Lord, as some of them did–and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did–and were killed by the destroying angel.  These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. 1 Corinthians 10:8-13

For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.  Romans 15:4

Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!  Proverbs 6:6

Encouragement/Hope – Romans 15:4, Hebrews 11:39

For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”[a]For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.  Romans 15:4

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. Hebrews 11:39

  • Give Health & Soundness to your Body – Proverbs 3:5-8

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.  Proverbs 3:5-8

Rhema v. Logos: Something You Must Understand In Bible Study

The distinction between “rhema” and “logos” lies in how they represent different aspects of the written word of God in the Bible. “Logos” refers to the entirety of God’s word as a whole – the comprehensive and universal truth contained in Scripture. It encompasses the entire Bible and its foundational teachings.

On the other hand, “rhema” refers to specific, individual words or verses that are illuminated to a person by the Holy Spirit in a particular moment. It’s like a personalized message from God that becomes relevant and impactful in a specific context.

While “logos” encapsulates the entire revelation of God’s word, “rhema” captures those special moments when a specific passage or verse resonates with someone in a unique and timely way, speaking directly to their circumstances or heart. In essence, “logos” is the full spectrum of God’s written word, and “rhema” is a dynamic, personalized application of that word to an individual’s life.

Here is a good example:

A preacher once shared of how 1 Peter 4 ministered to him directly when he was sad, wondering at the ridicule from his old gang. This is a rendition from the Message Bible:

You’ve already put in your time in that God-ignorant way of life, partying night after night, a drunken and profligate life. Now it’s time to be done with it for good. Of course, your old friends don’t understand why you don’t join in with the old gang anymore. But you don’t have to give an account to them. They’re the ones who will be called on the carpet—and before God himself. (Verse 3 – 5).

It was like God answering him at that moment. That illumination of the written word is what ‘rhema’ is.

A Step-by-Step Guide For Effective Bible Study

Step 1: Find Your Spot #

First things first, find a good spot, free of distractions where you can focus. It could be your favorite corner, a quiet park bench, or that comfy armchair in your living room in the early hours of the morning. Just do not stay in a place that will promote sleep. Creating a peaceful environment helps you connect with the Word.

Step 2: Get Rid Of Distractions #

A major distraction to look out for is your phone. Put it on airplane mode or turn it off. Keep it far away from you or turn it upside down if you will have some self-control.

Music – worship music can be a distraction too. Just rid of things that will pose any threat to your mental involvement in the study.

Step 3: Grab the Right Bible #

There are a ton of different translations out there. Some are like reading Shakespeare, while others are more like chatting with a friend. Pick one that speaks your language – literally. But here is a note of caution: Bible study is most effective when done with a translation rather than a paraphrase.

Let’s pause here and explain something you must know – the difference between a Bible translation and a paraphrase.

The Difference Between A Bible Translation and A Paraphrase #

Here is a simple way to explain them:

Translations are like dedicated translators. They take the original text, which was written in languages like Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic, and carefully convert it into another language, like English. Translators focus on staying true to the original meaning and capturing the essence of each word. Imagine trying to carry a delicate glass sculpture across a bumpy road – that’s the challenge of translation. There are different types of translations – some stick closely to the original wording, while others aim to capture the ideas in a more readable way.

Paraphrases, on the other hand, are like storytellers. They take the heart of the original text and rephrase it in a way that’s simpler to understand and relatable to modern readers. It’s like someone retelling a captivating story using their own words. Paraphrases aim to capture the essence and ideas of the Bible, making it easier for those new to the language or concepts to grasp. Imagine a friend enthusiastically sharing a story with you, making sure you get all the juicy details and emotions.

So, translations stick to the original text, preserving its unique flavor, while paraphrases retell the story in a way that’s easier to digest. Both have their place – translations for those who want a close look at the original words and meanings and paraphrases for those who want to get the general idea of the story.

So for Bible Study, versions like NIV, ESV, or NKJV are great for starters.

Get A Center Reference Bible – Here Is Why … #

Center-reference Bibles can be incredibly useful tools for studying the Bible because they provide a unique advantage over non-center-reference Bibles. Here’s why they’re often considered better for in-depth study:

  1. Easy Cross-Referencing:

Center-reference Bibles come equipped with a center column or side column that contains a variety of references related to specific verses. These references help you connect related passages and themes throughout the Bible. This feature makes it much easier to explore different parts of the Scriptures that touch upon the same topic or concept.

  1. Contextual Understanding:

One of the challenges of reading the Bible is understanding the context of each passage. With center references, you can quickly look up cross-references to gain a deeper understanding of the context, historical background, and theological implications of a particular verse. This promotes a more holistic comprehension of the message.

  1. Thematic Exploration:

Center references often categorize cross-references thematically. This means you can follow a theme or topic across different books and chapters of the Bible. It allows you to see how various authors and passages contribute to a broader understanding of a specific subject, enriching your grasp of the Bible’s teachings.

  1. Deeper Insights:

Studying the Bible is not just about reading verses; it’s about unlocking deeper meanings and spiritual insights. Center-reference Bibles help you discover layers of wisdom by pointing you to related verses that enhance your understanding of the text. This can lead to “aha” moments and a richer experience with the Scriptures.

  1. Efficient Study:

The convenience of having cross-references within the same Bible saves time and effort. You don’t need to flip through multiple pages or search through various resources to find related verses. This efficiency is particularly valuable during personal study or group discussions when you want to explore different angles of a topic without interruption.

  1. Personal Growth:

Using a center-reference Bible encourages personal growth by encouraging you to dig deeper and explore the interconnectedness of the Scriptures. As you connect the dots between different verses, you’ll develop a more comprehensive understanding of God’s message and how it applies to your life.

In essence, center-reference Bibles empower you to engage with the Bible on a more profound level. They’re like a GPS guiding you through the intricate network of God’s Word, helping you uncover hidden gems and connections that can truly transform your study experience.

Step 4: You Need A Notebook & Pens #

Wisdom from the Scriptures never gets old. Get a sturdy notebook that can stand the test of time. Get pens and highlighters if you are the kind that likes seeing colours or you like highlighting things that pop out on your notebook. Do whatever will help you retain what you study.

Step 5: Pray for Understanding #

Before you dive in, take a moment to pray. Ask for wisdom, understanding, and an open heart to receive the message. The Holy Spirit was given primarily to teach us the words of God:

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. John 14:26

Here is a good prayer to personalize before every study:

…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might Ephesians 1:17–19 (ESV)

Step 6: Choose a Starting Point #

Listen for the prompting of the Spirit. Apart from this, you can decide to study:

  • Different Books of the Bible (wholistically)
  • Different Books of the Bible (chapter by Chapter summarization)
  • Characters of the Bible
  • Sections of the Bible e.g. The Law, The Prophets, The ‘New Testament
  • Concepts in The Bible e.g Fruit of the spirit, Giving
  • Studying Specific words in the Bible e.g. Glory, Light, etc.
  • Scriptures side by side with a Christian Book
  • Expound more on a sermon

And so much more.

There is no fixed pattern. Choose one, and stick with it.

Suggestion: As a New Christian, the Gospel of John would be a good place to start. It’s like getting to know Jesus from the very beginning.

Step 7: Read with Purpose #

Read the passage slowly. Don’t rush – this isn’t a race. As you read, ask yourself:

“What’s happening here?”

What’s the lesson to be gleaned here?”

“What are the characters commended or rebuked for?”

“What does the weight of Scripture from other passages say about this?” (this is where that center-reference Bible will come in very handy).

Step 8: Take Down Notes #

At this stage, you are probably thinking faster than you can write. That is perfectly fine. Get as much as possible down; they will come in handy. Now, calm down and follow the rabbit trails. You may have to make side notes on things you will like to study some more when you are done with a particular trail. Take your time.

Step 9: Meditate On What You Have Down #

Pause, and note how the things you have written down apply to you. You have the rest of the day to chew on that. Meditating the Jewish way actually means muttering to one’s self. That is you reinforcing the words you have heard again, and again. Take more notes if need be, on the practical things you need to imbibe the things you have learned.

Step 10: Pray About The Things You Studied #

Talk to God about the things you have seen in His words, especially the areas the Holy Spirit convicts you of. Ask for His help to carry out the things written in His words. Do not worry; there is no need to playact. Just keep putting the word inside you. It will act like an internal force willing you to do the will of God:

…for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Philippians 2:13

Step 11: Practice! Practice!! Practice!!! #

Remember how we started defining Bible study? This is not mere intellectual activity. The word of God is to be your way of life. It will do you no good if you study the whole Bible and every single jot and tittle yet there is no change in your thought processes and actions:

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. James 1:22-26 ESV

Besides this, the more you do; that is practice the word of God, the more it opens up to you:

the more you do, the more revealed. He that is faithful in little, more will be given (Luke 16:10).

Should You Use a  Devotional? #

Devotionals are like little daily doses of spiritual inspiration and insight. Think of them as your morning coffee for the soul. They are short readings, often based on specific themes or verses from the Bible, designed to kick-start your day with a reflective mindset.

While devotionals offer a moment to pause, reflect, and connect with your faith before diving into the busyness of life, from what we have seen so far, it is much more fun to feed from the main source than pre-chewed nutrients. Don’t you think so?

We advise that you study the Bible directly. That way, you can distinguish false from true teaching.

But if you must use a devotional because of your life circumstances, make sure it is from a sound teacher/preacher. Cross-check statements made with what the Scriptures say, and provide for. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide/direct you. Also, seek the counsel of solid Christians who uphold the word of God. Their recommendation will most likely be from the best available options.

Get Started #

Do not delay!

Join a community of people who prioritize God’s words above all else at

Want To Know More About How To Study Your Bible Effectively? Check These Out: #

Books: #

  • How to Study The Bible by Watchman Nee:

Videos #

  • Bible Project:

–  What Is The Bible:

– How To Read The Bible Overview:

–  How To Read The Gospel:

Audios #

  • Ita Udoh

–          Study on Galatians:

❖      Part 1:

❖      Part 2:

❖      Part 3:

–          Food Sacrificed to Idols:

❖      Part 1: Food Offered to Idols —

❖      Part 2: Food Offered to Idols —

❖      Part 3: Food Offered to Idols —

–          Extra Oil For Dark Times:

❖      Part 1: The Price of Oil and Love  (Fri 01 02 2019)

❖      Part 2: Align With God’s Timing (Sun 03 02 2019)

❖      Part 3: Abundance of Rain: Giftings & The Prophetic Ministry  (Mon 04 02 2019)

Songs: #

  • GMT

–          Memory Verse on Deuteronomy 6:4-9

–          Memory Verse on John 1:1-5

–          Teach Our Hands To War: Teach Our Hands To War (Spontaneous) – w/Video || Ita Udoh || God’s Lighthouse Music

–          Shining Jesus:

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