5 Clever Ways to Study The Bible: With Techniques and Tips

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You don't have to be told.

You already know that you need to study the Bible.

But, you stare at a blank page when trying to do a bible study and wonder where to even begin.

To make matters worse 

You have little time to yourself, with everyone and everything pulling you in all directions.

You feel stuck.

All you want is easy ways to study the bible to use in your short quiet times with God, that truly satisfies your hunger for the Word.

In this post, I'll highlight five clever ways to study the bible, then show you how to use each of them efficiently, for tremendous results!

Advice on the Ways to Study The Bible

  1. View these ways to study the bible as foundational training. As you dive into each technique, look out for your preferences! 
  2. Try a personal bible study once per week to sharpen your Bible study skills. I'm sure you agree that once per week is not nearly enough! lol
  3. Stick with a method you like for at least one month ( 4 study sessions) to become comfortable before moving on. 

Five Powerful Ways To Study the Bible

The beauty of these bible study techniques is they can be layered for more extended study, and also create your very own style. And I will show you just how to do this, right here.

  1. Ask Lots of Questions
  2. Use Bible Translations For Comparison and Clarity
  3. Find More Meaning With the Literal Approach
  4. Drill Down With This Tool
  5. Amplify Your Observations
  6. Two More UseFul Tips

1) Start With The Questions Method

This should be the first method used when studying the bible.

If you've read any of my posts or seen my videos, you know already that I'm all about asking questions in bible reading and for bible study.

The Question method is one of the most useful ways to study the bible and a robust technique to unravel the Word and dive into the truth that lies beyond the surface.  

Questions may differ based on the text that I am reading, so don't be boxed in with only 2 or 3 generic questions.

Let me show you how to use this method.

  1. Download the bible study sheet
  2. Read the Verse or Passage, slowly, at least twice.
  3. Be inquisitive. Ask many questions about the book, the events, the customs and traditions, the characters, and the words used in the text. Your questions should be framed around "Who, When, Where, What, Why and How".
  4. Note all your questions on your bible study sheet 
  5. Searching for the answers
  6. Note your discoveries next to each of your questions

Notes:

  1. Wondering how to search for the answers? That's where the next 4 bible study techniques will help.
  2. The answers you find may present other questions. If this happens, then by all means, continue your study, using as many note sheets necessary until all questions have been exhausted.

Indeed, this bible study method can have you studying one passage for days, even months. In the end, you may have enough understanding and clarity to the right your very own book on the subject!


2) Next, Use Bible Translations For Comparison and Clarity

The beautiful thing about the 21st century is the many bible translations that we have at our fingertips. It is ridiculously amazing!

Yes, this abundance of choice can become quite overwhelming.

But here's the thing, you can use these translations side by side to get a greater understanding of the Word of God. 

Here's an example of 5 different translations side by side:

Pro Tip: Including the Amplified Bible Version is a great idea, because it provides even more meaning between brackets. 

1) Download the bible study sheet and note the original text

2) Note any observations and any questions

3) Go to Biblegateway. Look up the text in at least three translations recorded here: a) King James Version b) Amplified Version c) ESVersion d) NIVersion e) and New American Standard Bible  f) New King James Version . Here's a genius way of looking up and compiling all the translation on one page.

4) Note Additional Observations


3) Then, Find More Meaning With the Literal Approach

The Literal approach is one of the many ways to study the bible without actually using the bible. Yet, it is quite powerful. I use it a whole lot.

Often times the speaker/author of the text uses symbolic terms when addressing the audience. Take, Matthew 5: 13 -16: 

"Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? …"

Jesus uses the symbolic term "salt" in this passage to suggest a resemblance in characteristics. Therefore, doing a literal study on salt can help us understand what Jesus was trying to express.

Here are the steps to use the literal approach:

1) Highlight and note the words you will be researching from the passage/verse. 

In this case, it will be "salt."

2) Note all your questions. For this example, I noted five, but the sky is the limit:

  1. What is salt?
  2. What is salt used for?
  3. What are the qualities of salt?
  4. How was salt manufactured?
  5. How was salt customarily used during biblical times?

3) Do a small search for these questions in Google and uncovered so much. I limited myself to four:

  1. What is salt: a crystalline mineral composed of sodium chloride [ side note: just this answer gave me 3 follow up questions, but I will leave that for some other time]
  2. What is salt used for: Salt is essential for life; enhances/season food; preservation; polishes; prized by nations; essential for good health
  3. What are the qualities of salt: although coarse and can with stand natural temperatures, it easily dissolves in liquid; different types of natural salts providing different flavors; pure salt is clear
  4. How was salt manufactured? sea salt was panned from sea water or lakes; rock salt was mined from the earth.

So if we are "salt" of the earth, then we understand that the literal discoveries suggests a resemblance to us! I particularly liked what I discovered for questions 2, 3 and 4.

Amen, Jesus.


4) Then, Drill Down Further With This Tool

One of the best ways to study the bible and dive even further into the Word of God in a short time is with a Bible Dictionary. 

This handy tool reduces your research time by half — if not 3 quartz.

It will help you to see the big picture and then dives into every topic with more detail and tons of supporting scriptural references as you follow along.

I use New Unger's Bible Dictionary.

In keeping with the theme, let's say you wanted to understand more about "salt" from Matthew 5: 13 -16. Just reading a few lines of The New Unger's Bible Dictionary, you'll find:

And I have not even scratched the surface!

You can go even further in understanding by reading the verses included in the summary.

Gathering a historical understanding as well as a summarized biblical perspective on every topic can be a great jewel.


5) Finally, Amplify Your Observations

Wondering how to discover more on a particular Word in the Bible? An Exhaustive Bible Concordance can help. Although I love having a hard copy, you can use Bible Concordances online.

Although noted as the fifth of the ways to study the bible, this handy tool can pack a punch! Stacked with every verse and word of the Bible you can learn tons.

To do this, 

1) Identify a word from the scriptures to research. We'll continue with Matthew 5: 13 -16

2) With the Exhaustive Concordance look for the word, and review the scriptures identified. 

Reading through just a few of the 41 scriptures with the word "salt" here's what you will discover:

  1. Salt was used as a manure to soil and hasten decomposition of dung [ Luke 14:34-35]
  2. Salt was sown on the foundation of destroyed cities as a token of its irretrievable ruin [Judges 9:45]
  3. The meat offering in the tabernacle was seasoned with salt [Lev 2:13]
  4. God commanded that everything that is offered to Him be offered with salt [Lev 2:13/Mark 9:49]
  5. Salt was used for covenants [ Num 18:19]

Oh, the awesome stuff you can find!

Now we have exhausted our research; we can now sit back and review our finding, then finally be able to read the text "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? …" with clarity and better understanding.


Two Useful Tips

#1 Go Back To The Chapter Or Verse Above

The Bible was not originally written with divisions or chapters or segmentation. It was completely one script. As time went by, divisions and chapters were added. So in order to understand the meaning of a verse or chapter, at times you may have to go back to the verse or chapter above for greater clarity or even a better perspective.

John chapter 8 vs 1 says “ And Jesus went unto the Mount of Olives”

At first read, I took those words as normal. But then I jumped up to John 7:53 which says “and every man went unto his own home” and what a whopper of an understanding I received.

Every man went unto their own home, while Jesus often separated himself unto the Lord in the Mount of Olives! They went unto their daily lives, their family, their work, their assignments; the many care of this life but what did Jesus do - turn - and always separated himself unto God 

Then I brought it until myself , “what am I doing with every opportunity that I am given?” Am I separating myself unto God? So going back to the chapter above, and the verse above gives greater enlightenment.


#2 Pay Attention To What Is Or Isn't Said

This  tip is very powerful because there are lots of scriptures that we tend to rush over, thinking that what we read — is actually what is being expressed — when at times it is not.

An example of this is the miracle of the bread and loaves. 

If you look closely, you will realize that the Bible did not say that Jesus fed 5000 souls, it says "5000 men, besides women and children". 

So this means if we were to add one woman with every man, that would be 10000 souls. And if we were to add one child per woman and man, then that would mean 15000 souls.

We may not know the exact number that was there when this miracle happened. 

But we most definitely know that it was more than 5000.

When we carefully pay attention to the words in the Bible, it's between those areas, that we get some eye-opening moments.


It's All Up To You Now

I've given you five ways to study the bible.

The ball is now in your court.

Why waste any more time.

This is our right as Christians to be able to study and rightly divide the Word of truth.

Which one will you use first?

Leave me a comment below. Then come back and share your experience using any of these methods. I would love to chit-chat with you.

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