"What is the Best Way to Study the Bible?"
If you’re going to be a competent barber, carpenter or electrician you’re going to need the proper tools. It’s the same if you want to learn and understand the biggest mystery book on earth. The Bible is the most quoted, least read and least understood book of any on the face of the earth; and the book that people have the most opinions about, but do not know what they are talking about. It is not head knowledge alone that makes a good carpenter but actual experience in performing the trade, coupled with head knowledge that makes a competent carpenter. The very same thing is true for a person who seeks to know God’s word.
God in heaven is a just, charitable, loving, giving, forgiving God who is constantly serving His creation (Deut. 10:18). He helps widows and orphans and others who have no helper (Deut. 27:19). He even does good unto His enemies and associates with the lowly. You could rightly call Him the servant of the most. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to show us how to be servants of the most. We seek Him when we begin to imitate Him and His Son (Matt. 23:11; Eph. 5:1).
Now, to do this, you must know how to study your Bible in order to draw out the truth of God from it. I have been studying the Bible for over 41 years now and by trial and error, have learned what I feel is the simplest way to study the Bible.
You will need a New American Standard Bible Concordance. You should also have a New American Standard Bible with margin notes and references on the sides or down the middle of each page. Perhaps you will only need the concordance if you already have the type of Bible mentioned. The concordances found in the back of many Bibles are not complete enough and therefore, are totally inadequate for good Bible research study. You can also purchase a concordance in a used book store. It is wise to have a King James version to refer to also.
You will also need a study notebook. When you purchase a notebook for this purpose, try to get the five subject notebook that contains the most paper and is the best buy. You will also need something to mark the Scriptures in your Bible as well as your concordance. I use a green highlighter pen, but you can also use ordinary crayons. You will want to have a fine-point pen for writing notes in the margins of your Bible. You will be blessed by God for acquiring these materials. You will also be showing love and respect to God. If you cannot afford to buy these items, pray to God and ask Him to make it come about.
Note: You should go no further with this information until you have all the things you need for proper Bible study right in front of you.
One of the biggest secrets of studying is to begin by subject. As an example, begin by writing the subject “What is God’s Will?” at the top of the first page of your notebook. Remember chapter 51, verse 23 will look like this in the concordance: 51:23. The chapter is followed by a colon, which is followed by the verse. So keep your eye on the colon.
Upon opening your large concordance, you will find that there are twelve pages of references for the word “will.” Now you must ask a series of questions that will give you a logical direction of where to look or how to start.
Question number 1 is: What does the New Testament have to say on the Will of God? Maybe you would like to find out what the Old Testament has to say on the Will of God, but this could be a vast subject so it would be better to start from the New Testament. Then if you should need or want more references, you can always go into the Old Testament. Another example is this; if you can answer your question fully with what information is found in the New Testament, then there is no need to go further. There will be times, in order to understand a subject, it will be necessary to go to the Old Testament for more clarity on the subject.
Now, let’s proceed by going to the last page and to the end of the last column and find where “Will” is mentioned in Revelation. After quickly glancing through Revelation, Jude and 3 John, stop at 1 John 5:14. Color this reference in your concordance yellow by using a highlighter or coloring crayon. Then color 1 John 2:17; then 1 Peter 4:19; then 1 Peter 4:2; 1 Peter 2:15; James 4:15; Heb. 13:21; 10:36; 10:10, 9, 7; 2 Tim. 2:26; 1 Thess. 5:18; 4:3; Col. 4:12; 1:9; Eph. 6:6; 5:17; 1:5, 9, 11; 1 Cor. 4:19; Rom. 12:2; Acts 22:14; 13:22; John 9:31; 7:17; 6:38; 5:30; 4:34; Luke 22:42; Mark 3:35; Matt. 21:31; 12:50; 7:21; 6:10. Now you have extracted from the concordance enough Scriptures on the Will of God to give you an excellent start on the subject. That’s good enough for a day’s Bible study, unless you are extremely curious as to what you will find.
The next step is to look up each Scripture and write out the entire verse in your Bible research study notebook. As you begin to write and compile Scriptures on various subjects, you will begin to make sound biblical deductions based on the Scriptures you are reading and what understanding is to be had on that subject. Remember, one does not interpret the Bible, as the Bible interprets itself.
At this point, write a small essay or article on the subject in 300 words or less. Attempt to explain the subject in terms that small children would have no trouble understanding. Then you know you will understand it too.
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Well, it’s more than simple. I have found that it’s fun, rewarding, informative, instructive, Spirit-filled and I love it. Not only that, but I am fulfilling God’s Will by doing so. I am studying God's word to show myself approved to Him. I have learned that God’s Will is Jesus Christ’s words as well as other sayings in the word of God (John 8:51; 12:48). I am fulfilling the Scriptures, “Study to show yourself approved” and “The mouth of the righteous studies to give a good answer” (Prov. 15:28). I am ready always ready to give a good answer to those who ask a question about God’s word.
Let’s try another subject. What does the Bible have to say on the subject of good works? There are approximately two columns on “works” in the New American Standard Concordance. It begins with Exodus in the Old Testament and ends with Revelation in the New Testament. Remember, we want to find out what the New Testament says about the subject of works first—good works, bad works, deeds, etc.—so let’s start with Revelation and work back to Matthew.
Begin by coloring the following Scriptures in your concordance with YELLOW: Rev. 20:12-13; 14:13; 3:15; 2:26, 23, 19, 5, 2; James 2:1-26; Heb. 10:24; 6:1; Titus 3:8, 14; 2:7,14; 1:16; 2 Tim. 3:17; 1 Tim. 6:18; 5:10; 2:10; Eph. 2:9-10; 2 Cor. 11:15; Acts 26:20; 9:36; John 14:12; 8:39; 5:29; Matt. 16:27; 5:16,. You soon will be an expert on what the Bible has to say on the subject of “works.”
Here is another system you might try. Color all the potential Scriptures you wish to look up with a yellow marker in your concordance. Then go back with a different color, maybe green and make a mark on the ones you feel would be the stronger verses. Then go back once again, maybe with a red marker and mark all those Scriptures you consider a must to put in your research article on the subject of works. Now use the process of elimination. Look up and write down all the “must” Scriptures first—those you have colored red. After you are done reviewing those Scriptures ask yourself, “Do I know what the Bible says about this subject at this point, or do I need more clarification from the word of God?” If so, look up the Scriptures that you colored green in your concordance the second time through. Now you are looking up the “stronger ones” category. After this is done, if you feel you still need more information on the subject to nail it down, look up the ones you first colored yellow.
There will be times when you might want to extend that list into the Old Testament. Simply take your yellow marker and concordance and begin to scan through the Old Testament Scriptures in the concordance that would give information to your subject. Hint: I will sometimes jump to the book of Proverbs or Psalms. Next, look at what the minor prophets had to say from Daniel to Malachi. Then, try Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. From there you can go where you want to go. The Old Testament is pretty massive in its context.
You do not want to overcome yourself with study, but do it in such a way, that you draw out from God’s word those areas you want to study. Make it fun! Study with a purpose. Do not be like so many who let the Bible fall open to a certain page and then begin reading—that is witchcraft. Remember, you, like many others, do not know the word of God and you are going to have to study with a purpose in order to reach your goal of knowing God’s word.
A word of caution! Do not, I repeat, do not read books about the Bible or worry about what other books say the Bible says that are written by man. If they are wrong in what they say—and a great percentage of them are—you will be tragically confused and deluded by their confusion. Keep saying to yourself, “Let all men be found liars, but God's word be found true.” There are rarely two books that agree on the rapture, healing, divorce and remarriage, the gifts of the Spirit, etc. Do your own research and you will obtain your own confidence from it and not someone else’s persuasion or confusion.
This world is in a state of religious confusion but this does not have to be true for you. If you will go only to God for the answers and ask Him to show you His Ways and His Will so you can begin to live to please Him daily more perfectly, He will not let you down, but man will (Is. 2:22). The world is spiritually blinded because it follows man instead of God. How does this evil work? People who go to church faithfully for years and years continue to remain ignorant about what the Bible says because they feel they are listening to someone they can trust, their preacher. They look up to him as being righteous and holy. Many do this to such an extent that they no longer bring their Bibles to church. They just put their trust in a man to tell them what the Bible says.
As you do your own personal Bible study, by studying in depth what the Bible has to say on these and other subjects, you may be shocked to find that the Bible says quite the opposite of what is being taught by many today.
God the Father and Jesus Christ have only wanted simple, daily obedience to God’s beautiful Ways of peace and righteousness. He wants new creatures who are completely changed people, who have Christ formed in them as a result of living for Him and the Father daily (Gal. 4:19; 6:9-15).
Overcome evil by doing good for God daily by doing His Will on earth daily as it is being done in heaven if you want to live forever (Psalm 37:27; 1 Peter 3:10-11; Rom. 12:21).
The Bible studies and information on this website come to you free-of-charge, yet many of you have expressed wanting to support this work and do God's Will by helping spread God's precious truth that changes lives.
If you feel inspired to make a donation please use the donate button below or you may mail a donation to:
P.O. Box 26217
Minneapolis, MN 55426
We thank you for supporting Whole Wheat!