2 Timothy 2:15 says to, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” Studying God’s Word is necessary but also a great joy! The Scriptures contain the words of life! Proverbs 4:20-22 explains this: “My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.” Did you catch that? The Scriptures bring health and life to your whole body!
Most Christians want to study their Bibles, they just don’t know how. We have Bibles today in hospitals, hotels, doctors’ offices, libraries and many in most homes. You probably own a few yourself. If you have a smart phone you have access to every translation in every language. So why don’t we study more? Why do we need to study? Is it just to know more stuff? It isn’t just for information, but transformation. Two very important reasons to study Scripture are found in 2 Timothy 3:14-17: knowing Jesus for personal Salvation and spiritual growth. If you desire these, you must study the Scriptures. I want to give you some basic “how-to’s” to get you started toward health and life in personal Bible study. That way, you will know the truth and the truth will set you free (John 8:31-32).
Schedule your time to allow for personal Bible study. It’s best for me in the early morning before anyone gets up and my day gets busy. Cut out distractions like television and Internet. Get in a routine of studying the Bible at a certain time and in a certain comfortable place. Study when you are not tired and are most alert and awake. You need a good translation you can understand. I recommend the NASB, ESV, or NIV. Other good ones are NLT and the Amplified. A good paraphrase is the Message. A good study Bible has a concordance, an introduction and outline to each book of the Bible, and cross-references. One with commentary on the page is also extremely helpful. I encourage people to get a large enough print they can read without straining their eyes. Get a Bible with thick paper you can write on without ink bleeding through and wide margins so you can write notes. The Thompson Chain Reference, Naves Topical Bible, and NIV Life Application Study Bible are excellent.
Keep a notebook and journal what you learn. One thing about Scripture is you can read it over and over and gain new insights each time. Find out the context of what you are reading. Ask the “5 W’s and 1 H” – Who, what, when, where, why, and how. Being a good investigator is imperative to good Bible study. Go slow, get some good Bible study tools like a concordance and Bible dictionary. Lastly, pray. Ask God to cleanse you of sin and prepare you for study. Let God search your heart before you search His Word. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into all truth. The best tip – start. I pray you gain the riches Scripture contains for your daily life.