Enhancing Your Bible Study: Essential Tips for Deepening Your Understanding

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Johnny Ova

Senior Pastor of Sound of Heaven Church

What You'll Learn

5 Quick Tips When Studying The Bible

  1. Choose a Study Bible: Using a study Bible can be extremely helpful as it provides additional explanations, cross-references, and footnotes to aid your understanding of the text. Some popular study Bibles include the NASB study Bible, ESV Study Bible, and the Life Application Study Bible.

  2. Read with Context in Mind: The Bible is a collection of books written by different authors over thousands of years. To fully grasp the meaning of a passage, it’s important to consider its historical and cultural context. Understanding the background can shed light on the intended message.

  3. Take Notes and Reflect: While reading, jot down key points, questions, or personal reflections. This helps you engage with the text and remember important details. Writing down your thoughts can also serve as a valuable reference for future study or discussions.

  4. Utilize Study Resources: There are numerous resources available to enhance your Bible study. Online tools like Bible commentaries, concordances, and study guides can provide deeper insights into the text. 

  5. Pray for Guidance: Before diving into your Bible study, take a moment to pray for wisdom, understanding, and guidance from God. The Holy Spirit can illuminate the scriptures and reveal truths that may otherwise go unnoticed.

3 Deeper Tips To Take Your Understanding of The Bible To A Whole New Level

As a Pastor, I get asked the question, “Can you help me learn how to study the Bible?” all of the time. So many people give different opinions on how to study the Bible and give lots of advice on how to  study the Bible in a variety of ways.
Some of the methods I have seen are reading plans on how to read the Bible in a year, or a proverb a day, or just going through the Gospels over and over. All of these methods have some benefits but there is more to learn about how to study the bible the proper way.
In order to truly grasp how to study the Bible, there are certain foundational items we need to know and understand to put all of the pieces of scripture together.
For many, reading the Bible is hard. They get motivated and then it slowly fades because they have a hard time understanding what they are reading. Luckily there are some great resources out there to help, but I wanted to put some pen to paper…or really fingers to keyboard to help you study the Bible better, which in turn helps your relationship with God grow closer.
So come and take the next 10 minutes and read through this. I want to help answer your question about how to study the Bible. 

Tip 1- What actually is the Bible?

Right away the first thing that pops into my head is the fatal flaw that everyone makes. They truly believe the Bible is one large book with a bunch of different chapters. So like most books, you start in chapter one, or in this case Genesis and start reading.
The problem is most people end up lost and confused rather quickly and even if you’re a brave one…you may make it to the book of numbers…but that’s it 🙂
What we all have to understand is that the Bible is not one book. The Apostles of the first century were not walking around with a good ole’ KJV Bible under their arms. The Bible is a collection of different books and letters that were put together as one collection of works for us to easily use.
The word Bible is the latin word “biblia” which literally means “books”. It’s a collection of 66 books (39 Old Testament books and 27 New Testament books/letters). These books and letters were written to different groups of people, during different times, using different emotions to express different things all leading back to singular story about the redemption of man through Jesus Christ.
So what does this mean when asking how to study the Bible? The keyword I want you to understand and focus on here is “audience relevance”. So when trying to find the best answer to, “How to study the Bible”, you have to gather the proper information first which we will get into a bit more in tip number two.
So now at least you understand that the bible is not a book but a collection of books that was written to different groups of people. To effectively read and understand the Bible, you have to take it book by book and not as one whole collection written to one group of people.
Let’s use a specific example. Let’s start with the book of Galatians for example. Here is what I want you to get the answers to before you even crack the book open to start studying.
  • When was this written?
  • Why was this written?
  • Who was this written to?
  • What can I take from this book/letter?


Tip 2- Audience Relevance

So I briefly touched on this topic in tip one, but we have to dive into this a bit more and we are going to use the book of Galatians as our example. Luckily there are so many tools we can use to help us quickly gather the information we need.

Go to the powerful and mighty Google and type something like, ” historical background to the book of Galatians” and you will get answers to some of the very important questions above. I clicked on the link  www.biblica.com/resources/scholar-notes/niv-study-bible/intro-to-galatians/ about Galatians. 

On this page we can see that the Apostle Paul wrote this letter to a few Churches in Galatia in the early 50’s AD.

The issue Paul was addressing was that Judaizers (people who were teaching a mixture of the law of the Old Testament with the New Testament/Covenant salvation through Jesus).
Now that we have this information, reading Galatians makes a lot more sense! Check out the following verses and see if you are seeing what I’m seeing.
Galatians 1:2-3– and all the brothers who are with me, To the churches of Galatia: Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ
Galatians 1:6– I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel,
Galatians 1:13-14– For you have heard of my former way of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it; 14 and I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions.
Do you see how understanding context, brings more understanding to the scripture you are reading?

Tip 3- Application

So if the book of Galatians was written to Churches in Galatia, what does it have to do with you? EVERYTHING! Even though the Bible was not written directly to you, it was written for you. Read that again…ok, you understand now? Let’s go back to the book of Galatians and get an example for us to use. So for that let’s read:
But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For prior to the coming of some men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and separate himself, fearing those from the circumcision. 
13 The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, “If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?
15 “We are Jews by nature and not sinners from the Gentiles; 16 nevertheless, knowing that a person is not justified by works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the Law; since by works of the Law no flesh will be justified.
In this passage of scripture we see an interesting confrontation between Paul and Peter (also called Cephas). Peter was playing two sides of the coin. He would hang out with the Gentiles in private but when the Jews came along he would hang with them and mock the Gentiles because he was scared of what the Jews would do to him. Fear gripped Peter to the point where the Galatians says he wasn’t “straightforward with the Gospel”.
What can we take from this? We can learn from this portion of scripture that it is not right to be double minded. You shouldn’t live your life one way with one group of people and another way with another group.
We need to stand firm and bold for Truth no matter what the cost because what God has for us is greater than what we have for us. We also need to know that we are not saved by any of our good works but only faith in Jesus alone grants us eternal life.
Coming into covenant with that also helps us understand our victory here on Earth. 

Let's Wrap This Up

Studying the Bible is a rewarding and transformative experience. By incorporating these essential tips into your study routine, you can enhance your understanding, unlock new insights, and deepen your connection with God’s Word. Remember to approach your study with an open heart, seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit, and utilizing valuable resources. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned reader, may your journey through the scriptures be filled with enlightenment, growth, and a deeper relationship with God. Happy studying!

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