When I first became a Christian 5 years ago, I had no idea how important Bible study was. It wasn’t until I read the book Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver that I began to understand.
If you are not familiar with the story of Mary and Martha, I highly encourage you to read Luke 10:38-42. Like Martha, I was so busy cleaning the house and doing the laundry and trying to be a good mom and wife that I was neglecting the most important thing. Sitting at the feet of Jesus.
It is such a blessing to be able to read God’s word and enter into His presence. There are so many, myself included, who often take that privilege for granted. But if you’re reading this post than there is a desire in you to spend more time in your Bible and to grow closer with the Lord and that’s the first step.
Bible study isn’t difficult. You only need three things to get started, a Bible, the Holy Spirit and the desire. But if you are feeling a little overwhelmed and need some advice I would love to share with you some Bible study tips and tools that have helped me develop a Bible study routine that I look forward to everyday.
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Bible Study Tips & Tools
1 | Understand your why
Why do you want to study the Bible? This is the question you need to ask yourself. Your why is going to be the thing that gets you out of bed every morning before you kiddos wake up to read your Bible. Your why is what is going to help you forget about that huge to-do list and sit at the feet of Jesus instead.
My why basically boils down to four words. Without Jesus I suck! Seriously. Whenever I try to be a good mom, a good wife, a good friend, a good Christian in my own strength, I fail miserably! It’s only when I spend time in God’s word and in prayer that I have the strength, patience, self control and wisdom to do life. It’s kind of amazing.
If you’re struggling to figure out your why, read this post about the importance of reading your Bible. Hopefully it will give you some perspective on how awesome and powerful God’s word is and why we should read it everyday.
2 | Always Pray before Reading Your Bible
The Bible is so deep and there are so many layers to it. Don’t try to read it or understand it without praying first. God wants to help you. So before you begin say a prayer and ask for wisdom and understanding.
3 | Limit Distractions
This can be a hard one for some people, especially those with small children. But do your best to limit distractions. Turn off the TV. Turn off your phone. Go someplace quiet. It may be impossible to eliminate all distractions but do the best that you can.
4 | Do It Even If You Don’t Feel Like It
You are not always going to feel like reading the Bible. Do it anyway! We cannot trust our feelings. In my experience the times where I don’t feel like reading my Bible are the times I need to the most.
5 | Have A Designated Study Place & Time
Choose an area in your home and a time that will be distraction free. It doesn’t matter if it’s in your living room, bedroom or back porch. It doesn’t matter if it’s morning, afternoon or night. The perfect time and place is different for everyone. All that matters is that there are few distractions.
6 | 5 Minutes is better than not all
Don’t think you have to spend an hour everyday reading the Bible. If you have that kind of time than by all means go for it. But if you only have a small amount a time to devote to Bible study than that is better than nothing. Just spending 5-10 minutes a day in God’s word can have a profound effect on your walk with God.
7 | Be Consistent
Try to be consistent with your Bible study time. 5 minutes everyday is better than an hour once a month. Consistency helps you to become disciplined and to make Bible study a habit.
8 | Be flexible
I know I said to be consistent and have a designated time and place but you also need to be flexible. Life happens, things come up, kids get sick, people drop by unannounced. Most things in life we have no control over. Don’t be so rigid about your study time that you become bitter or frustrated when it’s interrupted.
Jesus was interrupted constantly. Read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. When interruptions happen try to move to another location or study at a different time. And if you can’t get to it at all that day it’s okay. You have to give yourself grace.
9 | Don’t get overwhelmed
Bible study should not be overwhelming. It should be life giving. There are so many Bible study methods which are supposed to make things easier. But in my experience they can sometimes over complicate and overwhelm you to the point of paralysis. Although there are tools I recommend and use, they are not necessary. Like I said earlier, all you need is a Bible, the Holy Spirit and the desire. If you become overwhelmed go back to the basics.
Bible Study Tools
On to the fun stuff. Below are my favorite Bible study tools that I use on a regular basis. They have really helped me to go deeper into God’s word and develop a good Bible study routine.
Of course, you are going to need a Bible. There are so many different versions of the Bible and according to my research, they are not all created equal. You can read this article to learn more about the different translations. I believe the NASB, NKJV, KJV and ESV are the most reliable and accurate versions. And I personally use all four. If you are looking for a new Bible I highly recommend you buy a study Bible. The ESV study Bible, the NASB Life Application Study Bible or the KJV Womens Study Bible are all great options.
I love to highlight different verses in my Bible. But because pages in the Bible are so thin some markers and pens will bleed through so you have to be careful. I love Accu-gel Bible highlighters. They don’t smear or bleed through the paper. Colored pencils also work great! I personally use both.
A notebook or journal
Bible tabs are a must for Bible study beginners. They help you locate books in the Bible much easier and faster. I personally use the Majestic Rose Nouveau Bible tabs but I just saw these ones on Amazon. Aren’t they the cutest? I think I need to get them!
A concordance is for those who are wanting to take their Bible study to the next level. A concordance contains an alphabetical index of words used in the Bible and the main Bible references where the word occurs. I personally use The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.
A Bible commentary isn’t necessary but it does come in handy. If you have ever come across a verse that confuses you or doesn’t make sense than I recommend you get Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible. Although I firmly believe the Holy spirit teaches us and gives us understanding I also know God has blessed certain individuals with the gift of teaching. And these individuals can share their wisdom in a way that gives us better understanding and insight.
I like to use a color coded bookmark when studying my Bible. I actually created my own which you can download below. A color coded bookmark is a bookmark which has several Bible categories/topics listed on it. Each category/topic is assigned a color. When studying the Bible you highlight or underline each category/topic with the corresponding color.
This not only makes your bible super colorful and pretty but it also helps you to go deeper into God’s word by identifying topics and categories you might have otherwise overlooked.
Bible Bookmark Directions:
1. Print on white cardstock.
2. Color in each circle with a different color of your choice. I personally use colored pencils & gel Bible highlighters.
3. Cut out bookmark.
4. Laminate bookmark. I use self adhesive laminating sheets.
5. When studying the Bible highlight or underline the topics/categories with the corresponding color.
A book I recommend for learning how to properly study the Bible is Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin. I love this book and I highly recommend it to Bible study beginners!
I really hope these Bible study tips and tools help you to develop a Bible study routine. If you have any Bible study tips or tools that you recommend, please share in the comments below 🙂
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