The Bible is unlike any other Book. The Bible was written by men, throughout hundreds of years, who were inspired by God. It’s tempting to approach The Bible like any other book and just read it for entertainment and knowledge. Even though the Bible is full of wisdom, it had a larger purpose. The Bible is God’s word to us. It is His way of communicating with us. To understand what God is saying, I encourage you to use these 9 effective Bible study methods.
9 Effective Bible Study Methods
1. Verse Mapping
Verse mapping is a Bible study method used by breaking down a verse and visually arranging the components of that verse.
Creating a verse diagram helps highlight the verse structure. It also identifies verse fragments and represents the order of the verse and how it connects to verses before and after.
To identify fragments: Diagramming helps identify fragments or portions of a verse. This would include identifying who is talking, who is the author talking to, what they are saying.
To establish word order: A verse diagram displays the different parts of the verse in order of thought, or idea and provides a way to link those different parts to others.
Click here to learn 7 simple steps to verse mapping.
2. Inductive Bible Study Method
Inductive Bible study methods all work around the same framework. First, you read and observe the text, then interpret the text, and finally apply the text to your life.
There are several methods you can use to do this, but the most popular ones are;
- P.R.A.Y Method: Pray, Read, Apply, and Yield.
- Soap Method: Scripture, Observation, application, Prayer
- Sword Method: Tell the Bible story, read the story, ask Holy Spirit to help you understand, and ask the questions
3. Character study
A character study is when you pick one person from The Bible and study their life.
- You start by finding all the scriptures they are mentioned in.
- Then, you read all the verses you have found and make observations about what is written. You do this by looking at key characteristics, actions, and lessons they may have learned.
- Then you can see if they have characteristics that reflect Christ, or not.
- You can then consider the lessons they learned in their life and see if you can learn from them.
Character studies are a fun way of seeing how God uses people to accomplish His will.
Over and over, you will see how people are flawed and yet God still uses them for His glory.
4. Verse study
One of my favourite ways to study is to look at scripture one verse at a time. This can be tedious, so I tend to do this for portions of scripture and not the whole Bible.
For example, I pick the first 2-3 verses from each epistle. Paul wrote many of them. When you focus on his introductions, you will see many similarities.
By studying individual verses, you can gain insight into words you may not understand. You can also start seeing connecting words and sword flow.
5. Chapter study
A chapter study is an extension of a verse study. Instead of picking just one verse, you pick an entire chapter.
Picking chapters to study is a good way to understand how verses connect to each other.
To really understand what a chapter includes is by finding a keyword or a key thought.
These keywords/thoughts are the main points that everything else flows from.
In my youth, I spent too much time worrying about the right answer to these keywords. I thought that there was only one answer and stressed about whether I got it right.
This type of thinking is a waste of time. We each read the Bible from our own viewpoint. Depending on what is going on in your world- one word may jump out at you- but won’t for anyone else.
Instead of worrying if you have the “right” answer- focus on Christ and what He is trying to teach you. That way, no matter what keyword you pick- it will be the right one because God brought you there.
6. Book Study
A book study is when you study an entire book. There are 66 books in The Bible and each one can be studied individually.
To start a book study, the first step is reading the book. You can do this in one sitting (with smaller books), or you can break down your reading into a couple of days.
Once you have read the book at least once, you can then make an outline of the book.
Most study Bibles come with an outline. But remember that Bible manuscripts were not written with chapters and verses. Those were added later on to help people find specific portions of scripture.
So a man created the outlines you see. There is no reason you have to agree with their outline and you can create your own.
Creating outlines for a book helps you remember what the book is about and what the primary message is.
You can also go deeper into your study by understanding who wrote the book and when the book took place in historical order.
The Bible is not written in chronological order. So it’s good to read a book and understand when these events were taking place.
The book of Ruth took place at the same time as certain portions of Judges.
I didn’t know that for a long time and that connection became very meaningful for me.
If you have ever read the book of Judges, you know that it’s dark. There are many perverted stories that share just how dark the world was. Then, you read Ruth- a beautiful book about redemption.
Knowing that the Book of Ruth was written at the same time as Judges gives me so much hope. No matter how dark the world is- there is always this beautiful story of redemption going on that we may not see.
I would have never made that connection had I not studied the book of Judges.
7. Word Study
A word study is when you pick one word and discover how that word is used in scripture and what you can learn from all the verses you find.
The first step is picking a word you want to know more about.
List of words you can start with:
This is just a small sample of the words you can choose to study. You can pick any word from the Bible and see what the Bible says.
Once you have picked your word, you then use a concordance to find the word. Using this tool you discover how many times that word is used in the Bible, the meaning of the word, and their original Greek or Hebrew word.
Once you have found all the words, you read through all the verses and take notes.
Write the thought for that verse and what you learn about that word in the verse’s context.
Doing this will give you a broader understanding of how language is used in The Bible and how one word can have a different meaning.
In English, we have one word for love. But in Greek, there are 4 words for love. They each mean love but not in the same way.
So if you’re studying the word love, you need to understand the 4 original words and how the specific meaning changes the meaning of that word.
Once you have made a note of the verses and discovered some meaning to them- it’s time to sort them.
In most cases, you find we can categorize verses in different sections. You can group verses together and see how a group of verses relate to each other and to the meaning of the original word.
You can click here and discover what I learned when I studied the word Remember.
8. Topical Bible Study
This type of study is very similar to a word study. But instead of studying one word, you are studying a topic.
For example, a word you may study is salvation. But, a topic you can study would be the steps to salvation.
I could be wrong, but I don’t think there are any verses that say: these are the steps you need to take to be saved.
There are verses that say:
- Believe in The Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved (Acts 16:31)
- If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9)
These verses only have a few words that are the same. If you study the word saved, then these verses would come up.
After reading these verses, you can see how the two verses compare with each other, and what they have to say about receiving salvation.
9. Meditate on God’s word
Meditation is a bible study method that requires you to think deeply or focus one’s mind for a period of time, in silence for religious purposes.
In our day, when we hear the word meditation, we think about Buddhism and their meditation practices. With such strong ties to another religion, we might be scared to meditate, but God’s word calls us to meditate on His word.
Studying God’s word is a privilege. I love digging deep and finding truths i can cling to and enjoy.
Do you want more?
Do you want to read your bible more consistently? Do you want to know how to study the Bible on your own and know how to apply it to your life?
You are a Christian woman who is dedicated to living a life for Christ. You want to read your bible every day, but sometimes you get distracted or are too tired to collect all the resources you need.
It can be hard to figure it out on your own.
That’s why I’m so excited to tell you about The Christian Growth Hub!
The Christian Growth Hub is an online, monthly membership focused on helping Christian women read the Bible, understand it, and apply it to their lives.
The Christian Growth hub helps you in your faith by:
- Providing monthly Bible reading plans so you never have to think about what you’re going to read in the Bible next
- Giving you on-demand training on how to understand the Bible and new monthly training on how to apply the Bible to a particular area of your life.
- Connects you to an online community to give you encouragement, support, and accountability
There are so many more features. Click here to learn more about them, and see what The Christian Growth Hub offers.