You’ve heard that you need to study your Bible and give the Word a front-and-center place in your life. You may have even tried to do that in the past without much success. If you are ready to get more out of your Bible study time, put these eight, simple steps into practice.
Step 1: Make an Appointment
Set aside a designated time for your Bible study. It can be anytime in your day—morning, noon or night—whenever works best for you. Just make sure you set a time when you are alert. If you are not a morning person, then don’t schedule it as a 5:30 a.m. wake up call. If you are exhausted at the end of your day, don’t schedule your time in the Word right before bed at night. The only requirement is that you are in a frame of mind to learn from the Word and listen to the Holy Spirit.
Treat this time like you would any important appointment. Protect it and schedule other appointments around it. Through dedication and practice, you will develop a natural desire to do it.
Step 2: Pray
Before you begin your Bible study time, pray and ask the Holy Spirit to open the Word to you. Quiet any distractions and prepare your heart and mind to receive from the Lord. Remember that the Word is God’s letter to His people—and that includes you. This is not just another book nor is this Bible study time simply something to cross off your to-do list. Approach it reverently, with anticipation that the Lord will reveal Himself to you and speak to you about any concerns you may have.
Step 3: Prepare to Take and Make Notes
This is your study time. Gather your pen, pencil, highlighter and/or journal. Or use a computer program like Evernote, which can be downloaded for free, to capture your study notes in your mobile device. Be ready to make notes or highlight passages or words that jump out to you or those you would like to study later.
Step 4: Choose a Starting Point
Since the Bible is made up of 66 different books, you don’t have to start at the beginning with Genesis—although this certainly is a good place to start. Here are a few options from which you can choose.
- If you are a new Christian, then perhaps you can begin with one of the Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. Within them, you will learn about Jesus’ life and ministry.
- Learn about your covenant rights through Jesus Christ. Read a letter of the Apostle Paul to the early churches. Look for and underline phrases such as “in Him,” “in whom” and “in Christ.” These phrases are found 134 times in the New Testament from Acts to Revelation. Every one of them has something to offer you personally because according to Ephesians 2:6, you are in Christ!
- Choose a book or topic or person to study. Perhaps you’d like to learn about Moses’ leadership, Joseph’s integrity, Daniel’s faithfulness or Paul’s journeys. Or perhaps you’d like to study about Israel’s escape from Egypt or Jesus’ miracles. Any of these would provide you with excellent study opportunities.
- Or you can go through a “Read through the Bible” program (visit http://www.biblegateway.com/reading-plans/) so you can read the Bible from cover-to-cover in one year.
Step 5: Read and Meditate
To get the most out of your Bible study, leave yourself time to think about what you’ve read. Think about each word. Consider using Bible study tools like a Bible dictionary, a concordance or a Greek/Hebrew study Bible. You can find online versions at BibleGateway.com. Or you may choose to read the KCM Reference Bible, which contains all of Kenneth Copeland’s personal Bible study notes.
A few other tools that we recommend are:
- Young’s Analytical Concordance—provides lists of scriptures for specific topics as well as translations for Hebrew and Greek words.
- Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance—a dictionary of the Hebrew, Chaldee and Greek words.
- Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words—a dictionary for scriptural words and meanings.
- Expositions of Holy Scripture by Alexander Maclaren—a 17-volume series that includes sermons and teachings on most of the books of the Bible.
Step 6: Journal
Once you have prayed, read your Bible and meditated on what you’ve read, begin writing the thoughts and insights you have. This is how the Lord will begin leading and teaching you. Even if you can’t recognize what the Lord is saying to you at first, begin writing down your thoughts and feelings—whatever comes to your mind. Soon you’ll begin to see a pattern in your journaling that you will recognize as the Lord’s voice in your life. As you make your study a daily discipline, you’ll come to recognize His voice more quickly.
Step 7: Meditate throughout Your Day
When a scripture stands out to you, write it down or type it somewhere you will see it. Then think about—or “meditate” on it—as you go about your day. Recite and declare it so you cannot only see it with your eyes, but you can hear it with your ears. Let it change the way you think about the circumstances in your life and prepare you for situations to come. Pray and ask the Lord to bring it alive to you and give you revelation about it, then trust that He’ll do just that.
Step 8: Act on It
Whatever the Lord teaches you during your Bible study time, put it into practice. Act on it. That’s when you will really see results in your life (Matthew 7:24-27). Remember, the Word is not meant to be taken and hidden away. It is meant to be lived. Let it change the way you deal with your loved ones. Let it influence the way you serve your employers or clients. Let it strengthen you as you minister to others in need. It has the power to transform your life and the lives of those around you. Begin putting it into practice today!
Bible study is a powerful and necessary time for every believer. It is a time of training, sharpening and preparation for whatever the Lord has called you to do. Put these eight steps into practice as you begin studying your Bible and see the difference it makes in your life!
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