Author: Rachel Kidd
Nearly every Christian can attest to the benefits of spending time studying scripture. But for most of us who haven’t had formal theological training, it can be difficult to feel like you’re getting the most out of your study.
This series is designed to be an introductory guide to help you begin a regular Bible study habit. Each blog will walk through a primary question associated with biblical study, a helpful tool while growing deeper in the Word and closer to God.
What is the Bible?
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12
First and foremost, the Bible is the living word of God. What we have today has been interpreted by His servants and passed down through the ages.
It is also a collection of books, written in a few different genres, from poetry to historical text. It is important to understand the original context of the scripture as well as the original languages; ancient Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic.
Some translations are more accurate to the original languages than others. For example,
It’s helpful to start by considering why you want to read the Bible. Are you looking for wisdom? Comfort during difficult circumstances?
Are there particular times you feel drawn to scripture? Is there a time of day or season when you tend to gravitate towards the Bible?
Take some time to determine why you have decided to make Bible study a habit and use that to help you create your goals (more on that later).
- Prayer and meditation are a great way to start this journey, as you refocus and recenter your relationship with God.
- Spending time in fellowship with others, especially a mentor or someone who’s habits you admire, is a great way to get motivated.
Verses on the importance of Scripture
The Bible itself tells us how important it is to study the Word. Reading and meditating on a few key verses might be just what you need to spark the desire to read your Bible regularly.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. –Psalm 119:105
This Psalm beautifully describes the Word of God as a lamp, the light that allows us to see and make our way down a dark path. A metaphor for how the scripture guides us through life, we see the Bible as illuminating and revelatory.
But He answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ –Matthew 4:4
Similarly, many generations later, Jesus tells the devil in the wilderness that the word of God is like bread, crucial to the survival of man.
This story as a whole reminds us that even Satan is capable of learning scripture, as he quotes them and manipulates the words back to Jesus. Words are so easily warped and twisted, even, and most especially, the scriptures.
Reading and studying the Word for yourself ensures that you are not manipulated by false teachings or misinterpretations. Ask questions, talk to people and leaders you trust, and spend time with God, as you form your understanding of the Bible.
Where do you start?
Whether you are out of the habit or are just starting to grow your faith in this way, It can be daunting to start a Bible study routine.
These steps can help guide you in creating a routine that works for you and your lifestyle, enabling you to get the most out of God’s word.
1.Set (Realistic) Goals
If you aren’t already reading your Bible daily, it isn’t realistic to expect yourself to suddenly start spending an hour in the word everyday.
Consider your goals and how you can work up to them in a realistic way. Maybe you want to have a morning quiet time, but feel rushed out the door on an average morning.
Start by setting aside 10-15 minutes one morning a week for uninterrupted time. Find a quiet spot. I love sitting out on the porch on sunny mornings. Bring your journal, bible, and maybe a cup of coffee, open His word and take the first step in walking with Him.
Once you’re in the habit of setting aside that time for bible study, it’ll become easier to make it longer or more frequent. Good habits are formed over time, be patient as you incorporate this practice in your life.
Set SMART goals to set yourself up for success.
- Be specific about what you want to achieve.
- I want to read my Bible more.
- How will you measure your success?
- I want to read my Bible three times a week for 10 minutes.
- Is this a realistic goal for you and your life right now?
- I have morning’s available and like to have a slow start to the day with coffee and reading.
- How will this add to your life? (Your why!)
- I look to the Bible for comfort during times of stress.
- When do you want to achieve this?
- I want to be regularly reading the Bible three days a week for 10 minutes by next month.
More examples of SMART Bible Goals:
- Read the Bible every day for 15 minutes.
- Read the entire Bible in one year.
- Memorize one line of Scripture every week.
- Read the New Testament in one month.
- Meet with a Bible study group twice a month.
- Following a Bible reading plan, like the 5x5x5 New Testament reading plan.
2. Monitor your Progress
Check in with yourself periodically to make sure you are making progress on your goals. Take a few minutes at the end of each week or month to track your progress.
Tracking on a calendar, whether physical or digital, is a great way to see visually how often you’re studying.
Ask yourself how many times this month did I do my Bible study? Do I feel satisfied with that number? And most importantly, what did I gain from this time? How did God speak to me this week/month?
At the end of each month, quarter, or year, revisit your goals and take a look at your progress. Look over your calendar or notes and see the progress you have made.
Take notice of times when you may have spent more time in the Word or less. Do these times have anything in common? How can you help yourself during these times?
Celebrate your successes and don’t dwell on your shortcomings, it’s okay if you didn’t meet your goal perfectly; anytime spent in scripture is beneficial!
Forming good habits can be difficult, but making time to study scripture doesn’t have to be hard. Set goals for yourself as you work towards spending more quality time in the Word.