We write about Bible study a lot at Project Inspired because it’s something we’re all learning, no matter where we are in our walk with God! Sometimes we need encouragement and inspiration to get us back on track in our daily quiet time. As creatures of habit, it’s easy to get in a spiritual rut—repeating the same format for devotions or becoming so bored with our study process that we stop doing it altogether.
There’s a possibility you’ve been missing out in your Bible study routine, and that could be the cause of your boredom. If you’re looking for more depth in your study, here are five things you can start doing to make the most of it.
- Take notes. This might seem simple, but many people don’t take the time to do this while reading their Bibles—and it makes all the difference! Just as retention drastically improves when we take notes during lectures or sermons, taking notes on the passage we study improves our retention. It also helps us engage with the passage and journal our thoughts for later processing. Some Bibles come with margins big enough to jot down thoughts next to the words, but I’d encourage also grabbing a full-size notebook. This way, you aren’t limited by space when writing out your thoughts.
- Use a commentary or Bible encyclopedia. You don’t need to be a seminary student or pastor to use these materials when you’re studying. To the contrary, every young woman should own a Bible encyclopedia and/or commentary to help her understand the context of Scripture! They’re available on Amazon or at a local Christian bookstore. (My recommended commentary series is the NIV Application Commentary.) You can find them specific to the book of the Bible you’re currently studying. Bible encyclopedias are helpful for understanding people, places and other significant topics in Scripture that you probably wouldn’t understand just reading at face value. You’ll absorb the passages much more when you understand the cultural, historical and literary context.
- Reread the passage. Another simple step, it’s but easy to skip. Don’t just read the passage once! Read it two or three times, sometimes emphasizing a different word to get a new perspective on the message. As you reread, take further notes if you discover anything new or exciting.
- Use cross references. Those little verse references between the two columns of text in your Bible? Those are cross references! These verses are similar to the ones you’re reading in your current passage. By following the references, you can see what other authors in the Bible had to say about the same topic. You’ll get a broader understanding of the issue your passage covers, and will know where to find other passages on the same topic if asked. These are extremely helpful for witnessing and for deepening your understanding of the book you’re studying.
- Pray for insight. Finally, ask God for insight when reading His Word. This is another habit we tend to skim over in our hurry to get into God’s Word. But since God inspired His Word, we need His Spirit to understand it fully! Ask Him to show you what He wants to teach you in Scripture today—then open your eyes to the truths He shares.
Do you have any tips for better Bible study? Share in the comments!