God speaks to us through His Word, the Bible. It is an incredible privilege to have the Bible in our language and readily accessible.* We have a responsibility as Christ-followers to read the Bible, understand it, and put its truths into practice in our lives. God will help you. Reading and studying the Bible is not just for pastors, seminary students and Bible teachers. God wants to speak to everyone through the Bible.
Here are a few simple tips as you read and study the Bible.
Tip #1: T-P-T-P
Time – set aside a particular time to read the Bible every day. Pick a time that fits your schedule, when your mind is alert and you can be focused on what your are reading.
Place – determine a regular place that you will read and study. It may be inside or outside, wherever works best for you.
Tools – gather your tools for Bible study. Your Bible and something to make notes may be all you need. These can be printed copies or through digital media on your smartphone, tablet or computer. Additionally, you may want to have other resources, such as a study Bible, a Bible dictionary or commentary. Free online resources can be found at YouVersion, BibleGateway and MyStudyBible.
Plan – Have a plan for Bible study. Maybe read one chapter of the Bible per day. Or read one verse and really meditate on it. You can find several good suggestions for Bible study plans at YouVersion and BibleGateway. More on the plan in the next tip.
Tip #2: P-R-E-P
Pray – Open your Bible study time with a simple prayer. It will help you focus on the Lord and His Word. It can be a simple prayer such as, “Lord, speak to me through your Word today. Amen.”
Read – Read the selected verses from the Bible. Pay close attention to each word, to really grasp all that God is saying in that passage. Make sure you notice the other verses and chapters around that passage, to understand the Bible in its context.
Evaluate – At this point, you will want to begin to determine how to apply the verses you are reading to your life. More on this in Tip #3. During this time of evaluation, write down or type the following: what verses you read, what those verses mean, and how they apply to your life.
Pray – as you close your time of Bible study, you may want to write down what are some things you are praying about that time. This will act as a spiritual journal for you. Also, pray that the Lord will help you as you apply His Word to your life (the things you have just been reading).
Tip #3 – S-P-A-C-E
When you read the Bible, look for one of these five ways that the Bible verses may be applied to your life.** Is there a…
Sin to confess?
Promise to keep?
Attitude to change?
Command to obey?
Example to follow?
Write down how the verses apply to your life. Begin to align your thoughts, your words, your attitudes and your actions in line with God’s Word.
You may be wondering when is the best time to begin reading and studying the Bible? Any day is a great day to begin. How about today?
Praise God that He speaks to us through His Word.
* This is why the work of Wycliffe Bible Translators and similar organizations is so important. We need to get the Bible translated into the heart language of every people group on the planet.
** Hint: if none of the five ways of S-P-A-C-E seems to fit, then ask the Lord in prayer, “How does this passage apply to my life?” He will speak to your heart and mind and show you. The five ways are not the only ways, just five common ways that Bible verses apply to our lives.