Studying the Bible can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Have you ever wanted to get a deeper meaning out of reading the Bible than just on-the-surface thinking? Perhaps some of the following methods can help you get more out of that Bible study time and lead you closer to God. Here are some ways to study the Bible, some that I’ve tried, and some that I’ve yet to try. 🙂
I personally use this method when studying. Prior to using this, all I did was read. Reading didn’t exactly unlock the deeper meaning that I was hoping to get out of Bible study. After using this method, I am much happier with my study.
So here’s how it works:
S. Scripture: Write out the Bible passage word per word. (I usually choose one per day, but if certain verses stand out, I will do more than one. :))
O. Observation: Jot down information about what you read. What is God saying? What did you learn?
A. Application: How can you apply what you learned to your personal life? What is something you can do today to apply it?
P. Prayer: Write out a prayer, especially one to help you with the application portion. 🙂 P.S. Here is a link to a cute printable reminder of the S.O.A.P method. Here’s a slightly simpler one if you don’t like a lot of fuss.
- The Swedish Method
For this you’ll need a notebook as well. Begin by praying before reading, asking Him to show you what He wants you to speak to you. Next, read a chapter (or more, but personally, I think that one single chapter at a time keeps things more focused) once, and then go back and reread and look for the following things:
A light bulb: This should be something that ‘shines’ from the passage—whatever impacts most, or draws attention. A question mark: Anything that is difficult to understand in the text, or a question the reader would like to ask the writer of the passage or the Lord. An arrow: A personal application for the reader’s life.
Source: Click Here (P.S. A template for the method is at the bottom of the link)
- The Inductive Method
Observation: What does the text say? Ask Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? Make a list of these observations in a notebook or on a sheet of paper.
Interpretation: What does the text mean? Don’t try to create your own meaning for the verse. Use context to interpret, not your own personal thoughts and feelings.
Application: How does God want me to live in light of the truth of His Word? How should you apply this newly gained knowledge to your life? How is God speaking to you? What do you think needs to change in your life? (Another cute printable here!)
- Book Study Method
1. Read It
Read an entire book in one sitting (I recommend John). This is a pretty lengthy method, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be done in one day. While reading, look for repeated words, themes, or verses that really stand out to you. If you don’t finish it all, just pick up where you left off.
2. Note It
Pay attention to the people, key verses, events, and tone. These observations can really bring new meaning into the words you read.
3. Study It
Gain some background information by learning about the authors of the book you are reading. Find out who wrote it, who was it written for, when, and any other information that strikes your fancy. Understand why they wrote this book. .
4. Outline It
Make an outline, and divide it according to themes, events, people, etc. Whatever seems most important, and continue to fill in information under each heading, subheading, and sub-sub heading. At the end, write a summary of the entire book. (Or however much you can finish, and then just pick up where you left off).
5. Apply It
What has God revealed to you and how can you apply it to you daily life. What do you think, through application, could be changed within your life. What do you think needs changing?
P.S. Cute printable here!
- Topical Study Method:
1. Choose: Choose a theme that you have found within reading. Make a list of synonyms and antonyms for this theme.
2. Collect: Using any resource you have, find as many Bible verses you can on the same theme. Perhaps, you might also want to research the definition of the words in the original language. (Old Testament in Hebrew, and New Testament in Greek).
3. Consider: Ask Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How? as you study and dig deeper into the text. As you compare texts/versions, create an outline to gain a clearer understanding of the text.
4. Conclude: What have you learned from your study? How can you apply it to you daily life? P.S. Cute printable here!
Did you notice any similarities between each method?
Pray and application are two of the most important parts of Bible study, besides reading the Word itself. Remember that no matter how you choose to study your Bible, using one of the methods above, or one of your own.
Do you have any methods that you’ve found helpful? What are they?