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Make Your Bible Study Time More
FRUITFUL & EFFECTIVE
Enjoy these 10 highly effective Bible study tips that will bless your personal study time! We hope to provide you with content you can use over and over again. Below, you can download this content as a PowerPoint. This document is for educational use only.
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Pray, Pray, Pray
When we’re studying the Word of God, it is not based on our own intelligence, logic, or efforts. To truly understand God’s holy book we must ask the Author to open up His Word to us. In Luke 24, Jesus went through scriptures with His disciples, and the Bible says “then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures” (Luke 24:45). We take the time to study but we must pray that God open our understanding by His Spirit. We need His help! Prayer is asking for it.
Get the Right Tools OR Use the Right Resources
After praying, make sure you have your Bible on hand (whether physical or digital) and resources to help you dig into it.
- Strong’s Bible Concordance and Dictionary organizes the Hebrew and Greek words the Bible was written with in alphabetical order and offers definitions.
- Blue Letter Bible, PC Study Bible, and Bible Hub are reference sources you can use to explore the actual texts and original words of scripture.
- A great English dictionary is the Merriam Webster Unabridged that allows you to look at older definitions of the translated words. Don’t just google words since the modern meaning of an English word is not always what was meant when the Bible was translated hundreds of years ago.Though these
Though these resources can be helpful, none of them are equal to the Word of God. Visit www.justwordministries.com for a host of Biblically sound charts, outlines, videos, and notes to use as you study.
Have a system for notes
When you decide to study the scriptures, you’ve decided to do more than read it; you are digging deeper to get understanding (Proverbs 4:7) and so you want to have a plan for how to take notes about what you’re learning, what you want to remember or revisit, and how it applies to your life. Keep a notebook on hand or your computer, tablet, or phone close. Apps like Evernote allow you to organize your digital notes, search through them, and access them on different devices. If you take notes digitally, beware of distractions and turn off, log out, or remove any notifications, apps, or websites that could steal your attention from the Word of God. Download this free printable resource to take your notes on a character, sermon, event, and more!
Have a system for notes
In a day when many people are misinterpreting and misapplying scriptures, we must aim to be the ones who rightly divide and correctly explain the Word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). In order to do that, we must look at the context of a scripture and not take a single verse out of the context God put it in and make it seem like it means something else. Not sure what a scripture means or want to make a point from it? Keep reading! Find out what was happening, taught, or explained before or after the scripture you are studying. Many times earlier or further in the chapter more clarity comes. For example, many read Exodus 14:13-14 and preach “Stand still” but if we read the next verse (Exodus 14:15) we find out while Moses told them “stand still,” God instructed Moses to tell them to “go forward” into the Sea, an Old Testament example of water baptism (1 Cor. 10:1-6). Bottom line: Keep reading!
Pay Attention to Punctuation
- Everything in the Word of God is important, down to the smallest letters or markings (Matthew 5:17). If you see a comma (,) or semicolon (;) rather than a period (.), keep reading! The sentence and thought is not finished. When you see a colon (:), keep reading! The explanation is coming, after the colon, if you continue reading. For example, in Acts 1:8 we find the words of Jesus, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you:” but this statement ends with a colon because the purpose of that power being given is explained in the next statement: “and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” To effectively study and better understand the Bible, punctuation matters!
Learn About the Little Words
Jesus made it clear “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4; cp. Deut. 8:3; Luke 4:4). Sometimes as we read and study the Bible we may forget that we live by EVERY word of God and skip past shorter words, but every single word God allowed into His book is significant. Ye and thee are different in the King James Version (KJV) Bible: thee (thou, thy, etc.) are always singular while ye is always plural. That is why Jesus said to Nicodemus: “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again” (John 3:7). Even though Jesus was speaking to “thee” (one person – Nicodemus) in that moment, his message about the necessity of the new birth was for “ye” (everyone). Will and shall are also different in that will speaks of God and things that are certain or definite while shall speaks of something that should happen. That is why in James 4:13-15 we are instructed to say, “If the Lord will, we shall” instead of proclaiming “To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year…” Small words make a big difference!
Recognize Conjunctions Have a Function
Conjunctions like and, for, but, so, or, and therefore make a big difference in the meaning of scriptures and can help us a lot when studying. Conjunctions often are important signals to keep reading. They are key words that shape the lesson we should take. For example:
- AND: While teaching on the New Birth, Jesus told Nicodemus that in order to enter the kingdom of God, he must be born of water AND spirit (John 3:5). He could have said OR but he said AND because both are necessary (not optional).
- BUT: Looking at 1 Corinthians 2:9, we often rejoice about the things God has prepared that we have not seen or heard or had enter into our hearts but the next verse starts with BUT to continue the thought and tell us a key caveat: “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10).
- FOR: When you see the word FOR in so many verses (including the one just mentioned), it often highlights an explanation of what was just said. THEREFORE and SO also give more information to what was just said.
They may be just 2 or 3 letters but as you study, make the right connections with conjunctions.
Pick a Topic or Character Relevant to You
Psalm 119:105 says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” His Word teaches us how to walk through life in a way that pleases God, so when you study pick a topic relevant to you. You can dig more into the subject God gave your pastor to feed you with knowledge and understanding (Jeremiah 3:15), something you’re personally dealing with (ex. direction, anger, fear, money, etc.), or the stages and situations of life (marriage, work, childhood, ministry, etc.). Bible characters are also wonderful to learn from because they were real people whose life stories and experiences God chose to include in the Word of God “for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4; cp. 1 Corinthians 10:11). The Word has answers for everything in life.
Find the Real-Life Application
The purpose of the Word of God is not simply to know more and we never study just to intake information for ourselves or others. The Word is meant to transform our lives so we should study with the goal of application! James 1:21-25 makes clear that as we receive the Word which can save our souls, we should not just be hearers but doers of the Word. As you study (and pray), use the Word as your measuring stick, examine yourself to see what you can work on to line up with it, and look for ways to apply the lessons to your everyday life. Take note of what you can learn from the passage AND what you should DO or NOT DO based on the Word you’re learning. Hear, learn, DO!
Make it a Habit
The Bereans are a group that was commended in the Bible because “they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so: Therefore many of them believed…” (Acts 17:11-12). They set an example of studying because after they heard the Word, they searched the scriptures DAILY. They made examining, digging into, and asking questions about the Word a daily habit. To effectively study, studying can’t be something you do every once in a while or only under special circumstances. If you make studying a lifestyle and apply what you learn, you can grow in faith, understanding, godliness, and ministry. You can schedule a set time on your calendar, put a reminder on your phone, write it on your to do list, study with a group or partner, find a system for accountability, and you probably will have to cut back on distractions and time-wasters. Ask God to help you love His Word and make it a priority.
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