HOW I STUDY MY BIBLE
Updated: Jul 12
Yes, I know guys it has been a while since I published a blog-post. I have been working on a few things and honestly I haven’t felt the ‘need’ to post anything, when I say ‘need’ I mean that I haven’t received the go-ahead or inspiration from my Heavenly Father.
I am getting to the place where my content is starting to become more Christ-centred, this means whatever I wish to publish or release I want to make sure it is what God wants me to do. If it takes months to receive confirmation or I don’t get confirmation at all, I am going to do what my Father wills me to do.
I am not going to lie and say it isn’t hard because I do have a lot of ideas, but I know I am nothing without my Father and I trust He will work through me when He believes it is the right time.
I am sure by now you all know about my new YouTube Channel. Writing this feels so surreal, because it has been in the works for a while! I remember writing about a year ago on how I wanted to start a YouTube channel but was hesitant in doing so.
I can’t believe it has taken me a whole year to do it!! However, it just goes to show how time really establishes everything, God has transformed me and continues to work on me behind closed doors.
This season is for being BOLD and going into the unfamiliar. I could have chosen to sit around contemplating whether or not I should just start and finally be part of the platform that is YouTube. I honestly believe this is the right time to launch my channel and the Holy Spirit has been reminding me for months to use my voice!
It is funny because I hadn’t planned to publish my Bible Study video on YouTube, I was just going to share it on IGTV. However, as I was filming everything was flowing and the video was getting longer and longer… it was at this moment that God told me ‘this is your first video for YouTube.’
I was confused at first because I wanted everything to be perfect, I was going to do a ‘Get to know me’ video as a way to introduce everyone to my channel, I was going to get the camera and the editing software. In reality I was looking for any excuse to not start because of the seeds of doubt growing inside of me.
Thank God at the time I was filming my video He gave me the boldness and confidence to do it at last.
Is the video perfect quality? NO
Am I nervous about the public’s response? YES
Do I trust God? YES!
Nothing has to be perfect when you have God by your side. Obedience is not easy, but it is worth it.
If you would like to watch my first video: ‘How to Study the Bible’ please click the link below and subscribe for upcoming content!
I mentioned in my video how I was going to do a blog-post explaining in further detail how I do my Bible study.
Before I get into it I want to remind you of my previous post on ‘Bible Journaling,’ which you can read in your own time.
The Bible has become a huge part of my life and I cannot put into words how much it has transformed me and my walk with Christ.
I have realised over the last few months that my ‘Faith’ is not complete without His Word. His Word is everything and more.
So, let me take you step by step on what I do in my Bible study time.
One thing I would suggest is for all of you to know what exactly it is you want to study in the Bible.
Do you want to study a particular theme?
Do you want to study a particular character?
Do you want to study a particular book?
In my case, I decided last year to start with the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) and since then I have been working through the New Testament.
I am currently studying the Book of Romans.
Once you have made a plan and prayed for the Holy Spirit to guide you, you can begin.
STEP ONE: FIND THE TIME AND PLACE:
Bible study is going to part of your weekly routine, if not daily. This means you need make time and space in your schedule to be intentional with the Word.
Most individuals like to study in the Morning and others prefer the Evening, I say you should do whatever you feel comfortable with.
Personally, I tend to study my Bible in the Afternoon or sometimes I will meditate and re-read a passage I had read the day before in the Morning.
I also tend to do my study in the comforts of my bedroom, for some of you that may not work because of the temptation to crawl into bed and fall asleep. However, I have developed the discipline to try my best and focus.
The best thing to do is to find an area in your house where you know you won’t be disturbed and won’t feel the tendency to rush or do something else.
The next important element of Bible study is ‘time.’ You cannot rush with the Bible, trust me I have tried and it doesn’t work.
It doesn’t work to skip ahead and find out when a particular chapter is going to end no matter how much your flesh wants it to.
One thing I have learnt is to be slow at reading the Word and interpreting it. I find that when I take my time, I soak up each scripture and I really focus on what God is trying to tell me.
On some days, I can spend up two hours reading and studying the Bible. In all honesty I don’t know I am taking so long until my mum comes to check up on me.
You can really get lost in the Word and want to keep going!
STEP TWO: PRAY TO THE HOLY SPIRIT FOR GUIDANCE:
Prayer is a very integral part of Bible study. You cannot interpret or understand the Word without the help of the Holy Spirit.
The scriptures are God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16-17). How can you read the scriptures without relying on the God who established and inspired them?
Before I get into a new chapter or a new book I try my best to pray to the Holy Spirt for His leading and guidance. The Holy Spirit during my study time may prompt me to read ahead, He may prompt me read a particular scripture in more detail or He may prompt me to share what I read with my mum.
The prayer doesn’t have to be complicated, it just needs to be honest and heartfelt.
If you would like an example of what you could say, read my prayer below:
‘Holy Spirt as I read this scripture please provide me with your interpretation and your understanding. I pray I will not rely on my own understanding, but I will rely on your guidance. Let me learn something new about your character and your nature, let your words speak to me and dwell within me. I pray my mind will be renewed by your Word and I pray my life will be transformed.’ AMEN!
STEP THREE: READ THE SCIPTURE/CHAPTER TWICE:
In my Bible study I love to read the passage twice, I believe it gives me much more clarity.
The first time around I literally read the passage as it is, I don’t highlight or annotate anything, I don’t try to insert myself and I don’t use any external resources.
I do this to get a feel for what is going on in the passage, I do this to understand the themes, the characters and the audience.
The second time around is where I start to dissect the scriptures, I can do this verse by verse or I can focus on the verses the Holy Spirt points out to me. I really try my best to go by His leading.
STEP THREE: ANNOTATE THE SCRIPTURE/CHAPTER:
I now move onto actually making notes and journaling my thoughts down. This is my favourite part of my routine because it allows me to truly express what the Holy Spirit is communicating to me.
The kinds of things I write down are:
· What does this scripture tell me about God’s nature or character?
· Who else involved in the scripture, such as an Apostle, Disciple or the individual who wrote the Chapter?
· What is the dominant theme in the Chapter?
· What is the meaning of a particular word?
· What am I supposed to learn from this Chapter?
· What phrases/statements are being repeated?
· How does this Chapter link to other parts of the Bible?
· Any confusions, questions from the Chapter or Scripture…
· Summarising key parts of the Chapter.
As I am jotting down these various thoughts, I will be going back and forth with my Logos Bible Study App.
This App is amazing because it provides you various resources to aid with your interpretation. In particular I use the ‘Faithlife Study Bible,’ which breaks down each verse and provides you with a commentary to truly dissect the scripture and further your understanding.
I use this App when I don’t understand something or when I feel I need more detail. It also helps with the context of a particular chapter/scripture, context is extremely important because the times of the Bible are very different and so are the people.
Interpreting a chapter/scripture without context can be very dangerous, because you may misinterpret it, apply it wrongly or even manipulate it. I definitely learnt this the hard way!
STEP FOUR: USE MY STUDY BIBLE + READ A DIFFERENT TRANSLATION:
This next step is something I only started doing recently. One of my best friends recommended the NKJV New Spirit-Filled Life Bible and honestly it has really transformed my life!
I used to think that having a Study Bible was a negative thing, because I thought I would be substituting the Holy Spirit’s interpretation for a Theologian’s. This is in fact not the case, a Study Bible is not a substitution it is an addition. You should not rely purely on your Study Bible and you shouldn’t take a Theologian’s comment as FACT OR TRUTH.
When I am looking through the study notes and I see something different from my own interpretation, I do not immediately reject what I wrote down, I use the study notes as a way to provide more clarity.
The way in which I do this is to read the particular verses of the chapter I am studying in my NKJV Bible and look at the commentary accompanying it. The commentary breaks down the context, it provides greater meaning and identifies exactly what is being said.
I am currently studying Romans and some of the themes presented in this book are a bit difficult to understand. My Study Bible aids in a way where it highlights and emphasises what Paul is communicating to the Romans.
Using the same Bible, sometimes I will read the passage in a different translation. My Study Bible is NKJV and my Journal Bible is NIV meaning that some phrases/words/statements are different.
My Pastor in her book ‘Becoming a Woman of the Word’ wrote how it is a good idea to have a ‘word for word’ translation and a ‘meaning for meaning’ translation. A ‘word for word’ translation is something like KJV, translating and presenting the Bible for what it was in the time of Jesus Christ. A ‘meaning for meaning’ translation like NIV/NLT is a more paraphrased version and presents the Bible with every day and an easier style of language.
FINAL STEP: SUMMARISE EVERYTHING AND WRITE DOWN A PRAYER (APPLICATION)
Again, this final step is something I only started doing recently! I realised that just journaling in my Bible alone was not enough for me personally to take in everything God had revealed to me.
I wanted to make sure that as well as reading the Word, I was applying it and allowing it to be written on my heart. One ways in which I do this is to summarise everything going on in a particular chapter in my own words. I will also make references to specific verses that I found interesting and relevant, I will make note of my interpretation and sometimes I will even receive greater interpretation by jotting down more notes.
This has been really helpful because I am able to see the passage from a wider context and really determine what exactly is being said.
In the same notebook I make sure to include a prayer at the end of my notes, this way I can apply it to my daily life and truly be transformed by it. Application is one of the most integral parts of Bible study because this is the time you allow God to work in your life and also it is another way you make sure you are living in the Word.
An example of a prayer I may write is shown below:
‘Father thank you for everything I have learnt today in your Word. Thank you for showing your revelatory power through the scriptures. I pray I will apply this to my daily life and I pray I will not neglect anything you have said. I pray your Word will come to life and I pray for more interpretation over the next few days. Give me more hunger for your Word and let it transform me! AMEN.
I will now share the various resources I use for my Bible study:
My Pastor‘s book (Pastor Bimbo Fola-Alade’s book:
Becoming a Woman of the Word is amazing, practical, relevant and impactful. It notes various study methods, resources and ways to hear God through the Word.
I know this blog-post has been one of my longer ones, but I wanted to do it justice! Please do share and don't forget to subscribe to my Youtube Channel and of course my blog to keep up with all the latest posts.