Religion Magazine

How To Study The Bible (Part 5)

By Answersfromthebook
How To Study The Bible (Part 5)

"But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night." (Psalm 1:2)

For all of the available resources, the tools that make Bible study a much more convenient endeavor than it used to be, one fact is inescapable: Bible study requires time. With our modern concordances, Bible dictionaries, commentaries, and Bible reference software, it has never been easier to quickly and accurately perform research that used to take hours. Nevertheless, effective Bible study still requires a great deal of time.

There really is no shortcut that we can substitute for spending time in God’s Word, and with all of the other responsibilities in our hectic lives, time is one resource that most of us never have enough of. Most Christians, no matter how zealous they are for the things of the Lord, do not have the luxury of locking themselves away in an isolated mountain retreat, intently pouring over the Scriptures from morning to evening without the distractions that are part of our everyday lives. How can we invest the necessary time into studying God’s Word that will help us to know it better and grow spiritually when our schedules are already so busy?

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:  And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.  And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.  And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)

The problem for most of us is that we leave the Word of God behind when our study time is over. When we close our Bibles, that’s it; we leave God’s Word at our desks, in our studies or dens, until we are able to find time to dedicate to Bible study again. But God never intended for us to only spend time in His Word when are able to quietly sit at our desks and tables, looking at the open Bible in front of us. The Lord intended for His Word to become an active part of every aspect of our lives, a vibrant and powerful force to strengthen us, encourage us, instruct us; to bring us closer to Him wherever we may find ourselves. The eternal, living Word of God cannot accomplish its purpose in our lives if we are only giving it attention for a few weary minutes at the end of each busy day.

“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” (Psalm 119:11)

This brings us to the next step in the process of effective Bible study: meditating on the Word of God. When we think of meditation, we think of some Eastern or New Age practice that involves clearing the mind, trying to find inner peace, or attempting to reach spiritual enlightenment. But the Biblical use of the term simply means to contemplate or reflect on either God’s Word, or God Himself. The Lord does not want us to just give a casual, cursory inspection of the Bible; He wants us to really let it sink in, letting it become a part of us as we meditate on it, letting the Holy Spirit write it on our hearts. God wants us to know His Word so that we might live by its teachings at all times, not just when we happen to be home with our Bible open before us.

When we are studying a particular passage of the Bible, we should read it at least a few times in order to thoroughly acquaint ourselves with what it says. I don’t think there is any special number of times that we must re-read it, but it probably never hurts to read it one more time. When I am studying a certain passage, I like to read it through the first time as I would read anything else, at my normal reading pace. Then, I like to re-read it a little more slowly, and then a third time slower still. By the fourth and fifth reading, I try to emphasize different parts of each sentence, really considering each word as I read it. After enough readings, you will begin to have at least parts of the verses committed to memory (even if it is just temporarily). When you have done this, you are able to “take the Bible” with you wherever you go, continuing to meditate on the passage long after you have closed the Book.

Obviously, a large part of our daily lives do not lend themselves to our being able to occupy our thoughts with Scriptural reflection, our full attention is needed for the task at hand. But it is amazing how much time we actually do have where we are able to quietly turn our thoughts to the passages of the Bible we have been studying. Being stuck in traffic or in a long line at the grocery store becomes a welcome opportunity to meditate on the Word of God, investing additional time in Bible study even when we are away from home.

Some people have a much easier time with memorizing things than others. (A very helpful resource for anyone desiring to memorize Bible verses can be found at It is advisable to begin this practice with a single verse or two, focusing on just a few sentences. Note cards can be helpful (if practical) as can a pocket-sized New Testament or compact Bible which can be carried wherever you go for quick and easy reference. We definitely do not want to walk around with our heads in the clouds, lost in our own thoughts all the time, but this can certainly be a way for even the busiest Christians to find a little more time to spend in the Word of God.

Another excellent way to spend more time in the Word of God is through audio Bibles (Bible on CD, MP3, etc.). Time spent at the gym, doing housework, commuting to work, or anywhere else you would listen to music can be spent listening to the Bible. It is surprising how many things we “catch” when we hear the Word of God read aloud that we might have missed when reading it. By using a different sense (our ears instead of our eyes), the information reaches our brains and our hearts in a slightly different way.

However we choose to meditate on God’s Word, careful contemplation of the Bible is a vital part of solid Bible study and an important factor in growing spiritually. When we invest the time in lifting the words off of the pages of our Bibles and setting them into our hearts, making them a part of us, our understanding of God’s Message to us will expand greatly.

Next time, Lord willing, we will look at the next step in Bible study: Reading the commentaries.

Until then, may God bless you as you meditate on His Word. To Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,



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