How to Study the Bible

When studying the Bible, it’s important to remember that every text has a divine and human author. God ensured that the words of human authors were as God intended. Peter, for example, writes that “No prophecy has ever been produced by the will of man.” These authors spoke from God as they were carried by the Holy Spirit. As such, the key to studying the Bible lies in asking the right questions, such as how the text was organized, what the author meant to say, and what his purpose was.

Writing out a verse

When studying the Bible, one of the best ways to slow down your process is to write it out. It is a great way to process the meaning of the passage in your own words, and it can give you a new perspective. Whether you write it out in your own handwriting, on a sheet of lined paper, or in a different pattern, writing out a verse will help you process the meaning. Another great way to study the Bible is to draw a picture or paraphrase it to help you understand it better.


The use of cross-referencing in studying the Bible is important to understanding the context of biblical passages. In the Bible, references are often placed before the verse itself to provide context and support for the reading. Using cross-references is a way to help students understand the context of passages without the need to consult the Bible’s notes on the topic. The Faithlife Study Bible includes two sets of cross-references, one with the text of the Bible, and one that is in the study notes. These references provide a complete context for the text of the Bible.


When studying the Bible, you may find that journaling can be an excellent way to express yourself. You can use your Bible journal to write about your faith, including answered prayers, spiritual insights, and praises. You can even share these reflections with others. It’s best to use thicker paper than regular notebook paper to avoid bleeding. This is also important if you plan on using colored markers or painting. But whatever you do, be sure to include an appropriate divider for your Bible journal.

Praying for illumination

A great French theologian called John Calvin said that “praying for illumination” is a necessary element of worship, and it should be offered before reading and preaching Scripture. He recognized that true understanding of Scripture is only possible through prayer, and that it demands humility and submission to the Holy Spirit. This is one of the most important aspects of Bible study and Christian life. Taking a prayerful approach to Bible study is crucial for your growth as a Christian.


When studying the Bible, the first step in any study is observation. Observation involves reading the entire text and looking for the main message. It also involves questioning and writing down your findings. This is different from passive reading, which is a passive form of observation, and you will rarely remember what you have read later. Instead, observe the text and write down the main point of what you find. After you have finished this exercise, you will have a clearer understanding of the text and the message contained within it.


One of the key elements of biblical interpretation is understanding the context. You can better understand the Bible by reading the passages in their context rather than taking the literal meaning. For instance, when the Bible talks about the death of Jesus, we can’t laugh at that joke during the funeral. In the same way, the Bible’s passages often deal with the death of God. Moreover, the Bible contains numerous parallel passages that speak of God’s judgment. Therefore, we can use the passages containing the same subject to understand the question in hand.


There are many ways to make connections when studying the Bible. Many Bibles have book introductions and chapter summaries, study notes, and questions in the margins. These questions are often tagged with icons to identify the type: open, consider, apply, and worship. Open questions are those that encourage discussion, consider questions focus on details within the passage, and worship questions engage the reader in a deeper way. For example, “Is God saying…?” is a great way to start a Bible study.


As with any other study, the best application of studying the Bible comes from the text itself. A passage may be a good starting point for personal devotions. However, if the text is not relevant, an application may be too broad. For example, you can apply the parable of the sower to spreading the gospel seed. You can also apply the text to your life by praying for the lost, sharing the gospel with a friend, or supporting a missionary.

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