How to study the Bible

How to study the Bible

theology

2 Timothy 2:15 encourages us to “study to show ourselves approved...” There are many ways to do this, and you may want to experiment and determine what fits your needs and lifestyle. My one important recommendation is to make it a habit, make it a lifelong habit.


Studying the Bible requires a commitment to spend time daily in the word. Although there are many different techniques, the following is how I study.

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Resources

In my Best Bible Study Tools article, I've discussed the various resources you may want to use in your study. At a minimum, you'll need a Bible that you can write in and underline in a size that is easy to hold and read. Additionally, if nothing else, I would have MacArthur's Quick Reference Guide to the Bible, at least in Kindle format, to help guide your studies.

Initial Reading Plan

Each evening, and in sequence, I read through the Old Testament. This never changes.  When I reach a new book, I will read MacArthur's Quick Reference above to get a 30-thousand-foot understanding of the book I'm about to read. Once I've finished the Old Testament, I just start it over again.

Since much of the Old Testament is narrative, this approach seems like a reasonable study choice.

For the New Testament, I'll start with Romans and read the entire book daily for a month. Again, I'll begin with the Quick Reference to get a summary understanding. At the end of the month, I'll move on to Acts and divide that into two parts. Approximately 1/2 for one month and the second half for the next month. Again, I'll refer to the Quick Reference initially and as needed to keep myself grounded in the overall structure and meaning of the book. I'll continue this all the way to Revelation while trying to master about the same amount of reading material daily. Thus, I might group 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John and Jude in a month and maybe divide Revelation into two months. Do what feels comfortable to you.

At some point, either in the middle or end of the New Testament, I'll read the Gospels using a Harmony of the Gospels like this one available from Amazon. It is also helpful to study the Gospel of John much like the rest of the New Testament above since it presents information uniquely different than the Synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

Ongoing Reading Plan

First of all, I continue the evening Old Testament reading. Then, in whatever sequence you wish, study a book or portion of a book using the MacArthur reference to master the major doctrines, important words, and flow of the book's theme.

When I encounter something more difficult to comprehend or particularly interesting, I will spend additional time on that section, use my other research books, and maybe even write a summary or lesson.  For example, understanding the Parables of Matthew 13 or God's judgment of a Nation in Romans 1. You can keep a personal journal or even author a free blog.

Summary

2 Timothy 2:15 encourages us to “study to show ourselves approved...” There are many ways to do this; I prefer the above, but you may want to experiment and determine what fits your needs and lifestyle. My most important recommendation is to make it a habit; then make it a lifelong habit.


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