Studying your Bible can seem daunting at times. It could be a season we are walking through where we are completely unmotivated to pick up and read the Bible or it could be fear of not understanding it. But let’s be real here…I think we have all read a passage and asked ourselves, “What in the world did that just say?” Haha.
In this post, I am hoping to answer the questions that y’all have asked me and encourage y’all to study your Bible. I will go ahead and warn you that I write in my Bible and use an array of colors! I don’t do the artsy Bible journaling, but I focus more on note-taking and understanding a passage. As you read, keep in mind that you should do what works for you. Some people hate the thought of jotting notes in their Bible. If you don’t like the idea of writing in it, you can still study the Bible but write in a notebook instead. 😊
Tools I Use
-BIC highlighters-These don’t bleed through the thinner Bible pages like Sharpie highlighters and provide bright color. I tried Crayola Twistables before and found that they work well! If you enjoy lighter colors, these are a great choice.
-Black ball-point pen-I don’t use a gel pen because gel pens are more susceptible to smearing and bleeding through the pages; even though ball-point pens leave harder impressions on the pages, these types of pens are mostly worry-free!
-Post-it notes (and only the name brand)-I use these to write additional notes in case I run out of room or to bring more attention to a revelation during my quiet time. The post-it note brand is brighter and bolder with greater sticking power! Any off-brands either fall off after a little while or have lighter colors. I personally prefer the name brand.
-Journaling Bible-My Bible is a King James Version Journaling Bible from Barbour Publisher. I love the large, lined margins on each page. However, the print is very small, so if you need large print, I don’t recommend purchasing this Bible! Click here for link.
-Notebook-I always keep a cute notebook next to me in case any topics come to mind that I would like to research more or maybe, there isn’t enough room in my Bible.
How I Study My Bible
The first and most important step to studying my Bible is praying before I begin. I find that if I don’t pray before I start reading that I will go to what I want to read and what I feel is good for me at the time. When I pray before I start reading, I am allowing the Holy Spirit to guide me to where He wants me to read…not necessarily what I want to read or what I want to get out of a passage/verse. If I am going through a certain book of the Bible, I believe that praying prior to studying a chapter, verse, or passage is a necessity to understanding it and applying it to my life. One of my favorite things is when I can read the same passage and see a detail or truth that I missed the first couple of times reading it. The Holy Spirit tends to bring out certain parts of scripture that I can apply to my life during different seasons.
Secondly, I find a place with little distractions and where I can be comfortable. Lately, I have been sitting at my kitchen table with a cup of coffee and breakfast. I only do this on slower, Saturday mornings. During the week, I usually lay on my living room floor in a blanket. I’m not the type of person who can listen to music at the same time as reading my Bible because I can’t focus; my mind wanders to the notes playing and I try to figure out the music. If I could focus with music, I would play it non-stop! I also leave my phone on airplane mode, and I pick it up at the very end of my Bible study or reading that day to keep myself from getting distracted. The only time I use it during my study is to look up the meaning of words as soon as I’m done reading the passage. If I do use my phone as a resource, I set it aside immediately.
Now, that I’ve prepped to study the Bible, I begin reading where God has led me or continue reading a book I’ve chosen to study. I have noticed that when I read a smaller amount of text each time, I break it apart more and have a clearer understanding of what it means. Of course, some passages urge me to read the whole chapter or other verses beyond the passage I am focusing on to get a background story or to see what happens next. I read the passage at least two times.
The first time I read the passage, I try to comprehend the storyline or what is being said. I usually repeat the story to myself out loud if no one is around (including my husband, haha), and I’m telling y’all, hearing the story aloud is more powerful! I can’t explain why I have revelations when I summarize what I read aloud, but I do! It’s like the Holy Spirit reveals so much more to me.
Then, I go back to the passage specifically to find words that I don’t fully understand for God’s Word to really sink in! Words like “compassion,” “zeal,” and “humility” are examples of words I would look up. Even though I have a gist of the definition of these words, I like to write the exact definitions of them in my Bible because the passage truly comes alive when I can see what the words mean. I highlight the words that I looked up in different colors. Next, I draw an arrow from the word to my Bible margins to write the definition of the word in pen. I go back with the same color I highlighted the word in and highlight the corresponding arrow and definition.
No highlighter color means anything in particular. I just grab whatever color I can find. I typically use green, pink, purple, blue, yellow, and orange.
Everything that happens after this is what God reveals to me as I read the passage a second time. If I want to take notes in the margins, I use a similar method to when I write a definition to one of the words I may not know. I highlight verses that are carrying a similar message in the same color. I use different colors for different verses if I want to write a totally separate note about them. When I write a note about the Bible verses, I use the same color highlighter as the note in the margin and drag an arrow across to the note. To me, this is a creative yet slightly chaotic way of organizing the notes. I love it because I can follow where everything goes, and I am a very visual person!
I enjoy using numbered and bulleted lists underneath a topic that becomes apparent to me as I read. It could be a list of qualities that I see in a Bible character or a practical list of how to be a good friend.
I like to look up other verses that may go along with the passage I’m studying as well. I will write the scripture reference next to the verse that it relates to, and highlight it in the same color of that verse if that verse is highlighted.
Running out of room isn’t a bad thing, but it happens to me often. I take notes during sermons in my Bible sometimes. I may have already studied the passage in-depth, but if I have post-it notes, I can write down a special word from the preacher about the passage that I didn’t get and place them somewhere around it. An added bonus is that they add brightness to the pages, and it instantly pulls me in!
I have noticed that several people use the post-it flags or stick post-its on the outside of their Bibles. I used to do this, but I don’t anymore! I found them a hassle to deal with while flipping through my Bible and that they would pick up the dirt and oil from my fingers (ewwww). I’m not suggesting that you don’t do this…do what works for you! I stay away from the tabs!
Another thing I do is circle, box off, and underline words with my pen that are either repeated to show significance in the passage or are just plain important. And if God reveals a clear, overall message to me from the passage, I write it BIG AND BOLD where I can see it easily for a quick reminder and for a bit of encouragement.
There are many methods you can use to study your Bible. Once you find what works for you, go with it! Studying your Bible doesn’t have to be boring!
*Disclaimer: Nothing is sponsored in this post!