How to Study the Bible—and Understand It
1 Set Aside a Regular Time for Study
Schedule study time in advance, or other things will interfere. Bible study should be something you look forward to every day.
2 Pray for Understanding
Study the Bible in a prayerful attitude, asking God to lead you by His Spirit and to reveal His will to you. True understanding comes from the Eternal. You cannot reason it out for yourself. (Psalms 119:33-40; Proverbs 3:5-8; 1 Corinthians 1:25-29; Jeremiah 9:23-24)
3 Seek Correction and Instruction
The Word of God cuts deep, like a two-edged sword. It judges our innermost thoughts and reveals every flaw in our character. We must approach the study of God’s Word with a humble, teachable attitude. (Jeremiah 10:23-24; Isaiah 66:1-2, 5; Romans 8:6-9; Matthew 5:48; 2 Timothy 3:16; Proverbs 6:23)
4 Realize the Bible is inspired
The entire Bible—both Old and New Testaments—is the inspired Word of God. When studying the Bible, bear in mind it is God speaking to you. Reverence His Word, and let it inspire and motivate you to grow in His likeness. (2 Peter 1:21; Philippians 2:5; John 6:63)
5 Let the Bible interpret the Bible
Keep in mind, although some passages may seem confusing, there are no contradictions in the Bible. Examine the context and gather all scriptures on a given subject or doctrine. The clear passages will clarify and shed light on those that are difficult to understand. (2 Peter 1:20; Isaiah 28:9-10; John 10:35; 17:17)
6 Keep an open mind
Because there is so much religious confusion in the world, it is necessary to prove the truth and distinguish it from error. In doing so, it is important to maintain a positive attitude and keep an open mind. Be thankful and appreciative as new knowledge is revealed. Be willing to change even if it means you must unlearn wrong ideas and teachings.
7 Prove God’s way is right
Prove the Bible by putting it to the test. Begin to practice the things you learn and notice how much more you get out of Bible study. Notice the changes taking place and acknowledge the blessings that come as a result. (1 John 3:22; Malachi 3:10; John 8:31-32; 10:10)
8 Study by subject
Concentrate at times on one book, doctrine or subject, and go into it thoroughly. This systematic approach will help you grow in depth of understanding.
9 Mark key verses and passages
A marking system will save time in locating scriptures and provide a quick recall of subject matter. Develop a system that works best for you. For example: Use one color or symbol for doctrine, another for personal correction and another for story flow.
10 Meditate and review
Stop and think about what you are learning. Ask yourself, “What is the real meaning of this scripture to me?” Then reflect on the different ways it can be applied in your daily life. (Psalms 1:1-3; 119:97-99; 139:17-18)
11 Read the Bible through
Read the Bible from cover to cover as a separate project, in addition to other study. This will ensure that no sections are missed, and it will broaden your perspective as to story flow.
12 Be familiar with study aids
Study aids are useful for providing historical background and time setting on the books of the Bible. A good Bible handbook will provide helpful background information. A concordance will locate all passages on a given subject. Bible maps provide topographical, geographical and historical information. Commentaries can be helpful, but exercise care. They contain a great deal of uninspired opinion.
Source: Good News