No matter whether you are new to Bible study or a seasoned Bible student, these six Bible study tips will be helpful. Tip #6 is a bonus for you!
Sometimes we get in a rut and find ourselves doing the same thing over and over just because they are familiar routines. Doing something different every once in a while is a good thing so let’s look at these practical Bible study tips that can be used with any Bible study technique.
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6 Practical & Helpful Bible Study Tips
Here are the six Bible study tips to get you started and then after that, we’ll talk about Bible study styles to see which style suits you best. These Bible study tips apply to both your personal study time and group studies.
– Prioritize Your Study Time
Just like you make an effort to meet with Holy Spirit on a daily or regular basis in prayer, you need to prioritize your Bible study time as well.
Remember the old cliche, ‘one week without bread makes one weak.’ The longer you go without prayer and Bible study, the weaker your spirit will become.
Bible study is about getting to know God and developing and maintaining your relationship with Him. Time spent with God also increases your faith and trust in Him.
So, making God and Bible study a priority in your day-to-day life will benefit you more than you’ll know.
– Set Aside Time
This may seem silly to have to mention this but in reality, if you don’t book your Bible study time on your busy calendar, it’s easy to skip right by it and miss it for that day or week.
Are you working through a daily study or a weekly study? Some studies require you to complete daily work while others require 20 – 60 minutes once a week.
Whatever the time frame is, set aside that time to get your study done by adding it to your calendar or day planner.
– Prepare Your Study Location
Wherever you plan to study, ensure that you have the space set up to accommodate your study material.
You should have a comfortable chair and table that won’t cause backaches or be awkward.
Is there room on the table for your coffee? Is anything missing that you will need in your study spot?
Are there any distractions that will pull you away from your study? If so, minimize them if you can. For example, if you’re facing a window with a gorgeous view, it’s easy to get distracted. To solve this, rearrange your setting to sit with your back to the window.
– Prepare Your Study Material
Gather what you need to study. I’m talking about pen, pencils, eraser, notebook, Bible, oh, and your coffee, too if coffee is your jam.
If you are using a study guide that includes the Scripture text, then you may not need a Bible unless you want to read other versions to compare the text version.
If this study requires additional study reference books, such as a Strong’s Concordance, Vine’s Expository Dictionary, a commentary, or anything else, you should ensure you have these resources available in your personal study spot.
– Prepare Your Heart
It is easy to open your Bible and study book and begin reading right away. However, you should really prepare yourself spiritually before you jump into your study.
Spend a few minutes in thanksgiving and prayer asking Holy Spirit to open the eyes of your understanding so that you may see and hear what He is teaching you in His Word.
When you feel it is time to begin your study, continue talking with Holy Spirit as you work through the study guide. You’ll be surprised how quickly He will answer your questions and respond to your observations.
– Determine Your Bible Study Learning Style
Of the six Bible study tips, I love this one the most! Do you remember your school days? Did your teacher stand at the front and talk lecture style or did she invite classroom participation?
Some teaching styles don’t work well for some people while other styles help the student thrive in that environment. A good teacher will know when to apply each style with her students and can incorporate all three styles as necessary.
Knowing the Bible study style that works for you will go a long way in enjoying and understanding your Bible study. We’ll look at three specific study styles, below, hoping that one of them will suit you.
Pick Your Bible Study Learning Style
Now that you have looked at the practical Bible study tips, let’s focus on the various Bible study styles to find one that works for you.
I have three questions to ask you to help determine your learning style.
- Do you prefer a study where the leader does the majority, if not all, of the talking? This is a typical instructor/lecture/teacher style.
- Would you rather participate in a discussion centered on Scripture? This is a learner-centered style involving discussion where the teacher is both a teacher and a learner at the same time.
- Or, do you like to dig in the Word, searching out the answers for yourself? This style is driven by the desire to dig in the Word for yourself and both the student and the teacher participate together in the learning aspect.
You may have participated in all three of these types of studies in the past and already know which one you prefer over the others. If not, then read these style descriptions carefully to see which study style you prefer.
3 Bible Study Learning Styles for Group Studies
– Instructor/Lecturer/Teacher Style
In the first learning style, the leader teaches through lectures. The student is not often given the opportunity to ask questions or offer a different point of view.
Such studies require the students to listen while taking notes. The possibility of asking questions is minimal.
– Learner-Centered Discussion Style
This teaching/learning style involves both the student and the teacher in a discussion where each offers their opinions about a topic. In a Bible study, all opinions should be supported by Bible truth.
This study group would use a Bible study book where students can write in their answers during the week for discussion in the group. Other hands-on learning may also be involved such as the use of maps, timelines, or other visual or audio aids and reference books.
One caution about this group study style is to be careful not to be drawn away from the Bible into the opinion arena. The discussion needs to be focused on the Word of God and not go off on a rabbit trail.
– Interactive/Participative Content Focus Style
This style is a combination of the first two styles with a strong emphasis on the Bible content. Both the Bible and supporting reference material are the main tools used.
This study group would have the students either work through the weekly lessons ahead of time or together in the group. Students will read the text, search for the answers in the text or in cross-references.
If the work is done ahead of time, students can learn from each other when the material is reviewed in the group setting.
The teacher acts more as a facilitator drawing out the responses from the group as they share what they’ve learned on their own.
The type of study method that suits this style is the inductive Bible study method and variations thereof such as SOAP, PRAISE, READ, etc.
If you want to go deeper in your Bible study, and if you want your Bible study to be meaningful to you, you will need to do the research. The third learning style would be your best choice.
Which of the three Bible study styles do you think works best for you?
An effective Bible study means you dig into the truth for yourself.
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My Fav Bible Study Technique
If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you more than likely know that my favourite Bible study technique is the Inductive Bible Study Method (IBSM).
It is my opinion that the Bible study technique of the inductive study approach fulfills the third learner style mentioned above. Do you think so, too?
This post, 3 Elements of Inductive Study, goes into more detail of the inductive approach. If you decide this is the type of study for you, you’ll definitely want to check out this post. However, for now, we’ll look at the basics of the IBSM.
Oh, and I do have two more favourite Bible study techniques that you may be interested in finding out more about:
- Bible Writing – whole books of the Bible through writing challenges.
- Bible Reading – 1 chapter a day, covering the Bible in 3-years. Right now I’m reading from Volume 3 of a total of 6 Volumes of the Small Chunks Bible Reading Plan.
– Begin with prayer
First, the thing you should always do before starting any kind of Bible activity is, begin with prayer. I know you knew that!
– Decide on a book of the Bible
Decide which Bible book you are going to study. There are 66 choices but if this is your first time using this method, you may want to start with a short book like Obadiah, Jude, or Philemon. They each contain 20 – 25 verses so it would be a great place to start your introduction to an inductive study.
The Study in a Nutshell (Quick Study) is like the name implies. They are quick studies as they cover the main focus without going in-depth.
And if you would like some help working through the book of Obadiah, be sure to download this complete Study Guide to walk you through the inductive study process.
– The Inductive Bible Study Technique Simplified
This Bible study technique is all about reading the text over and over again as you work through asking and answering questions.
- note who wrote the book and to whom it was written
- search and mark the keywords
- dig deeper by asking the six important questions – who, what, where, when, why, and how
- interpret the Biblical meaning of the book
- seek how to apply the truths to your own life so you may be transformed by the Word.
We call this Observation, Interpretation, Application, and Transformation and is the basis of inductive study.
To learn the details, read this post, 3 Elements of Inductive Study, to help you work through your own study.
And don’t forget to get your free download from Kari King Dent for marking keywords.
And you know what? Even when you do all these tips and figure out your learning style, you still get frustrated. That’s understandable.
I’ve been there, too, and so has Kelly R Baker. She offers some great tips when frustration sets in. Read her post 5 Tips for When You Don’t Understand Your Bible Study if this is where you’re at.
Wrapping This Up
Well, that’s a wrap for today. I hope these 6 Bible study tips, 3 Bible study styles, and 1 Bible study technique has been helpful for your next personal Bible study.
So, what is your Bible study style? And, which of the six Bible study tips will help you the most? Let me know in the comments, please.
Cindy Barnes has been called by God in the early 80s to be a teacher of His Word. She is a serious student of the Word, focusing on the Inductive Bible Study Method since 2007. Her passion is to teach women how to study the Bible using this method. In addition, she desires for women to develop an intense yearning to draw closer to God through reading and writing out the Bible.
Cindy teaches hundreds of women in her private online Bible Study Group who express their joy of growing deeper in their spiritual walk.
You can stay in touch with Cindy on Facebook through 215 Ministry.