how to have an effective Bible study

How to Have an Effective Bible Study

There are many different methods to study the Bible. There are also several acronym methods that are similar to each other but all have the same end result: an effective Bible study. Let me help you walk through one method of study so you can dig in deep in the Word for yourself.

If you’re not sure about Bible study, whether it is something you should be doing, you can read 8 Benefits of Regular Bible Study. This should help you understand the importance of Bible study for your spiritual growth.

So, if you’ve been wondering how to study the Bible for yourself, then you’ve come to the right place!

Various Bible Study Methods

Let’s take a quick peek at some of the Bible study methods that are out there. You may recognize some of these, if not in title, then in the description:

  1. The Survey Method is like a panoramic broad view of the Book that you’re studying. You learn about the author or main character, the geography, the era, the theme and important topics.
  2. The Topical Method is like many of the Bible study books you see in Christian bookstores. It focuses on a specific topic and explores the whole Bible on that topic.
  3. The Biographical Method is a biography of a Biblical character, like David, for instance, and studies all about him, what kind of man he was and what he did that made him so well-known.
  4. The Word Study Method is a study of words or terms that may be unfamiliar to readers, like, redemption, propitiation, sin, the blood of the Lamb, etc. Tools used for this type of study would be a concordance and a Bible dictionary to help you dig deep.
  5. The Devotional Method is more of a devotional time than a technical study. You read a portion of text, the devotion based on that text as well as an end with a simple prayer. This is probably a method that you have heard of or maybe even used before.
  6. The Expositional Method is studying the Bible verse-by-verse. This is more familiarly known as the Inductive Bible Study Method. It uses the three elements of Observation, Interpretation, and Application.

Source: originally published on Women’s Tabletop Friendship as 6 Bible Study Methods to Enhance Your Bible Understanding.

Of these six methods, I most often use the Topical, Word, and Expositional Methods. I would love to work on a Survey study sometime, maybe of the Minor Prophets since they would be suited to a panoramic survey.

How Deep Do You Want to Study?

That’s a great question, how deep do you want to study? How effective do you want your Bible study to be?

A couple of questions to consider are, do you want to let someone teach you the Word or do you want to learn for yourself?

If you want to hear someone else lead a study, like in a women’s study group, for example, you would read the assigned work and then listen to the study leader. You would respond to the questions and possibly turn the pages of your Bible to find the answers. You may even write down notes as you go along.

Will you learn from this method? Sure you will but if you’re like me, you may quickly forget what you learned from it.

Now, if you want to go deeper in your Bible study, and if you want your study to be effective, you will need to do the research.

Effective Bible study means you dig into the truth for yourself.

When you use the Bible tools to find the answers, you will remember what you’ve learned so much more than listening to someone else teach it.

You see, when others present Bible studies to you, they’ve done the research and dug into the Word to find what they want to teach. They reap the rewards of an in-depth study but you, the listener, not so much.

That’s the kind of study you want to do, dig deep for yourself, right?

So, how do you do this?

Tools for Effective Bible Study

To study deep, you’ll need some tools. Let’s look at what they are first, then we’ll go over the “how to study” part.

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. This is a great reference book to have on your bookshelf. You can use other concordances as well but as far as I know, this one is the most complete one on the market.

Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. This reference is invaluable. It gives a great explanation of the original meanings, whether it’s Hebrew or Greek.

The New Bible Commentary, Revised. This is a one-volume book and is very handy to have. However, you may have other commentaries that are just as helpful.

These are my top ‘go-to’ reference books on my bookshelf. Some others that I use are:

  • Nave’s Topical Bible
  • Zondervan Handbook to the Bible
  • The New Strong’s Dictionary of Bible Words
  • Commentary on the Whole Bible by Jamieson, Frusset, Brown

Do you know where I bought many of my hard copy reference books? Thrift shops, Bible store second-hand section, second-hand stores, etc. People are no longer keeping their hard copies of these amazing reference books. Possibly they received them in inheritances and just don’t feel they need them. But, I do, so I’m blessed with them!

If it isn’t feasible to have hard copy books, then have you considered the Blue Letter Bible or Bible Gateway? They have excellent resources, commentaries, tools, everything you would need to do a comprehensive study. I sometimes use them but I do prefer my hard copy books. There’s just something about turning the pages of a physical book, you know?

Additional Tools

Some other tools you will need before you get started with your next great study are:

  • A good pen
  • Quality colour pencils and a pencil sharpener
  • A Bible you can mark in that has a wide margin for notes
  • Notebook
  • A variety of colour Micron pens with archival ink that won’t bleed through thin pages
  • A large 5×7 inch index card for developing a keyword list
  • Kari King Dent’s list of keywords

If you don’t want to mark up your favourite Bible, you can always check the thrift stores or second-hand stores for a Bible. Or, you can print out the book you want to study from an online source like Bible Gateway. I usually paste the content into Word, then enlarge the font size to something I can read.

So, let’s talk about the “how to” part of an effective Bible study now.

Getting Started with an In-depth Study

Remember I mentioned the method that I use the most, the Expositional Method, otherwise known as the Inductive Method? Let’s look at how that works. Once you have this figured out, you’ll be able to apply these principles to either the Topical Study or Word Study Methods.

This post, 3 Elements of Inductive Study Method, goes into more detail of the inductive approach.

Step 1 – begin with prayer

First, the thing you should always do before starting any kind of Bible activity is, begin with prayer. I know you knew that!

Step 2 – decide on a book study

Decide which Bible book you are going to study. If this is your first time using this method, you may want to start with a short book like Jude or Philemon. They each contain 25 verses so it would be a great introduction to the Inductive Study Method.

Step 3 – identify keywords

You’ll need your additional tools, listed above.

Read through the text a few times and note if there are any keywords that stand out to you. Write them on the index card.

Label this index card with the Book Name Keywords, ie, Philemon Keywords. You can use this card as a bookmark later on.

Research Reason

As you are reading the text, you may see words that you are not familiar with, especially if you’re using the King James Version. Though it doesn’t matter what version you use, there are words that need further discovery.

For example, you may see “sound doctrine” or “healing” or “salvation” and wonder about the original meaning. This is the time to crack open those research books to see what the writer originally meant.

So often in the various translations, the original meaning is lost. When we read it, we apply today’s English to the meaning which throws us off in our theology.

So, it doesn’t matter what the word is, if you take the few minutes to look up the original meaning, you will gain a whole lot.

Step 4 – identify the author and recipients

The best thing to do is always start with the WHO. Who wrote the book and WHO is/are the recipient(s).

Refer to the Kari King Dent reference for marking keywords to decide on how you will mark the Author and the Recipients. Once you decide that, you can identify it on your index card, similar to what you see on Kari’s keyword list.

Now, as you read the text, mark the Author and the Recipient. Make sure these markings are distinctive from each other.

In addition to marking the Author and Recipients, you need to also mark the pronouns and any synonyms.

Once you have these two people clearly marked, it will be easy to see who is who as you observe the rest of the text.

Step 5 – observe what is in the text

Read through the text again and ask yourself the 5W and H questions. They are, who, what, where, when, why and how.

So, as you read the text, ask yourself some questions like

  • who is writing this book?
  • who is he writing to?
  • why is he writing to this person or group of people?
  • what is happening or going to happen?
  • when is it happening?
  • where is this taking place or will take place?
  • how will this event take place?

As you are finding the answers, make note of anything noteworthy in your notebook. Include the address, which is the chapter and verse. This helps when you are looking at your notebook, later on, to know where that answer came from.

Step 6 – mark the keywords

Now the fun begins. You already identified the keywords in Step 3, so now you will read through the text again to mark them. But, let’s do this in order.

Before you start marking, you need to decide on a symbol. Use the Kari King Dent reference file to help you come up with creative ways to mark keywords. You can use her symbols or you can make up your own.

Why do we do this? Well, the main reason is to have continuity between all the books of the Bible that you will study. When you decide on a symbol for “God,” you will always mark it the same from book to book. So, when you are flipping through the pages of your Bible and you see symbols, the “God” symbol will always be the same and therefore, recognizable.

Now, focus on the first keyword that you identified. Read through the text again to look for that keyword. When you find it, mark it with the symbol you decided on. Make sure it is on your index card first so you don’t forget what it is.

Read the text again for each keyword, marking it as you go along.

For each keyword you identified, you will read the text and mark it. This means that if you identified 10 keywords, then you will read the text at least 10 times to mark each of those words.

Interpret to Discover the Meaning

Once you have finished marking all the keywords, you are ready to interpret the meaning of the text. Make sure though that you are using Scripture to help you interpret and not what you think it means.

Thinking outside of Scripture can get you in trouble with your theology. That’s how false teaching starts. So, as you are interpreting the text, ensure that you are keeping everything in context.

What’s context? It is interpreting the text in light of the surrounding verses, and the entire Word of God.

You can ask yourself some questions to help you with your interpretation.

  • is my interpretation consistent with the theme or purpose of the book?
  • is it consistent with other Scripture that contains the same subject or theme?
  • am I considering historic and cultural context?

Keep in mind that Scripture will never contradict Scripture. So, if you have a different interpretation than other parts of the the Bible, you will need to rethink your interpretation.

Tools for Effective Bible Study by Cindy Barnes #biblestudy Click To Tweet

Online Bible Study Group

Well, that’s one way to have an effective Bible study that has you digging in deep. This is something that you can do on your own but you don’t have to.

If you would like to join other women who are starting out with this method, feel free to join us over on Facebook in my private group called Deeper in God Bible Studies. We have both Writing Challenges and Bible Studies.

The Writing Challenges are either 5 or 10-Day Challenges where we write out whole Books of the Bible. For instance, we’ve written out Galatians, Ephesians, and Colossians. We’ll be writing out Philippians from April 1st to 5th.

When the Challenge is finished, we flow right into the Bible Study using my own Study Guides that are available to group members only. There is no charge for either the Writing Challenges or Bible Studies.

That’s a Wrap

Well, that’s a wrap for today. I hope this gets you started on your own in-depth Bible study.

You now know about the various study methods and you know how to study using the Inductive study approach.

Don’t forget that you can join my study group. We’d love to have you! The link is up above.

If you have any questions about how to have an effective Bible study, please leave them in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Who First Read the Bible to You?

Who first made the stories in the Bible come alive? This summer, we are hoping to offer a Link-up Series, Summer of Legacy. We are looking for anyone who would link up a post about someone who helped build your legacy. This could be parents, grandparents, teachers, even a public figure, current or historical or biblical.

Here’s how it will work. You write a post on your own blog. Then on the set week, you come to our website and add a link to your blog. We hope to do one a month, May through August. Each month will have a particular theme. Presently, we are considering the following topics.

  • Legacy Builders: Women
  • Legacy Builders: Men
  • Building A Legacy in a Blended Family
  • Building a Legacy Through Adoption

Sign up now to be notified when the LinkUps become available. This registration will NOT subscribe you to our weekly newsletter, just Link ups



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Benefits of regular Babile Study

8 Benefits of Regular Bible Study

In this post, I would like to offer you 8 benefits of Bible study along with 5 reasons why you should develop the habit. But first, let me ask you a question: If you looked at all the books you own, which one would be your favourite? Do you have one that you would definitely pack if you were moving to another home?

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keeping the faith

4 Building Blocks to Growing Our Faith


I Praise God for His Salvation

I thank Him daily for loving us (me) so much that He sent His Son to earth to live a perfect life, to suffer the cruel death on a crimnal’s cross, but then rise again just to save us all from our sins. Praise His beautiful name! [Read my testimony of faith on my memoirs blog.] But I want to know Him more. I want to grow closer and closer to Him.

Salvation Goes Beyond the Altar

But it doesn’t stop there. Our salvation goes beyond the day that you kneel at an altar and confess your sins to God.

Yes, I believe that we are saved by grace, it is not of works lest anyone should boast. (Ephesians 2:8). Yes, I believe that we are made into a new creation. The old is gone and the new is here! 2 Corinthians Praise the Lord!

We are saved by grace, not of works @ggmandy Click To Tweet

We are Called to Grow in Grace

But we are also called to grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior (2 Peter 3:18). If we gave birth to a baby and that child remained a baby forever, we would be saddened. It would break our hearts if the child never learned to walk and talk and live a productive life. Yes, we would still love him but we would desire so much more for him.

The very next verse in Ephesians 2 says,
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Salvation Leads Us into Service

So our salvation should lead us into service for God .. living a life that glorifies Him and leads others to Him. ie. growing in grace

2 Peter 3 says, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. “

And the Apostle Paul exhorts us in Ephesians 4:1-6 (AMP),
So I, the prisoner for the Lord, appeal to you to live a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called [that is, to live a life that exhibits godly character, moral courage, personal integrity, and mature behavior—a life that expresses gratitude to God for your salvation], with all humility [forsaking self-righteousness], and gentleness [maintaining self-control], with patience, bearing with one another in [unselfish] love. Make every effort to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the bond of peace [each individual working together to make the whole successful]. There is one body [of believers] and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when called [to salvation]— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all who is [sovereign] over all and [working] through all and [living] in all.


Live a Life Worthy of the Call

So, I too, encourage you to live the life worthy of His calling. We need to work to live holy lives to the glory and honor of God and also, to be a light in the darkness so that others can find the way to Christ.

Photo credit: free at Canva.com; Modified by Mandy

In order to “leave a legacy” for our children and those around us we must first grow ourselves. And how to do we grow? First, we study the Bible. We fill our minds and saturate our lives with His Word.


All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

Growth through Bible Reading

Bible reading and study teach us how to live for Him. It corrects us when we are wrong, encourages our faith and keeps us on the narrow way. And because we need this encouragement in a moments notice, we should memorize the scriptures. King David said, “I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against Thee.”-Psalm 119:15. If David needed it, so do we.

If King David Needed it, so do we! Click To Tweet

Growth Thru Prayer

Secondly, we must communicate with God. Yes, pray to God and practice His presence every day. Communicating with God includes worship and adoration, repenting of sin, interceding for others, and yes even petition for our needs.

Growth Through Fellowship

Thirdly, we need fellowship with other believers. We are not an island. Without faith and encouragement of others, we would fall too easily. Solomon declared that “two are better than one because if one falls the other can help him up. Three are even better! (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12) God promises that whenever we gather together even in a group of 2 or 3, that He will be in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20) Realistically, we need each other so don’t neglect the meeting together of believers.

Growth Through Sharing

And finally, we need to share the Gospel. We are not blessed with salvation so that we can keep it to ourselves. We are commanded to “go and make disciples of all nations”. Even without this command from Jesus, sharing our faith helps us (Matthew 28:19) stronger in it. It confirms in us our belief in Christ.

Let’s do this, friends!

In the coming weeks, we will be sharing more thoughts on these four growth factors. I have searched out some fellow bloggers who can so eloquently speak on these things and I have asked them to write encouragement to us to help us grow in the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Join me here on the blog every Monday to be instructed and encouraged. Have you subscribed to receive our updates? You can do so just below in the blue bar. Just add your email address and click submit!

Growing in Grace;

Mandy Farmer

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Take HOld Books

Take Hold Helps You Let Go

I’ve been thinking about this book, Take Hold of the Faith You Long For lately and even going back and thumbing through for a reference. So I figure it must be time to republish in the new blog.

When I heard that Sharon Jaynes was about to release a new book

and that I could have an opportunity to read it first, I jumped at the chance. You see, I’ve been praying the prayers from her book, Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe every day since it came out in 2014. (And then later read and took her 14 -day Romance Challenge) So I knew this new book would be worth the read.

From the beginning, “Take Hold” had my attention.

Sharon gently led me through a journey with  Moses in a much different way than I had before. She gently personalized the struggles of Moses with my life. She helped me consider each area in my life that might be holding me back. We walked through areas that could be keeping me from moving forward in my faith. Such as,

  • take hold boots

    Photo Credit: Sharon Jaynes Launch Team

    Insecurity

  • Inadequacy
  • Unforgiveness
  • “Weak-kneed” Worry
  • Shame
  • and more

And you can’t miss her Dr.Suess version of, Oh the Places You Will Go.

Read With a Highlighter

My book has highlight marks and notes all through it. And as I said, I keep referring back to it. This indicates it should be a great one for your shelves as well. Pick one up today.

Or if you’d like a little taste of it first. Download the YouVersion app onto your cell phone and search for the 7-day devotional of the same title.

Mandy Farmer

My Favorite Sharon Jaynes Books

 

Sharon’s Latest Book (which I still need to read)

Susannah Spurgeon Legacy

7 Ways Susannah Spurgeon Left a Legacy of Faith

I was given this book by Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

The Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon

Susannah SpurgeonYou have likely heard the saying, “Behind every great man is an even greater woman.”  Susannah Spurgeon is just such a woman. Wife of the infamous preacher, Charles Spurgeon, she was an integral part of his life and ministry.  She was behind him in prayer support but also beside him in ministry.

Even after reading only the introduction and first chapter I wished that this book had been available to me 30 years ago as I was becoming a pastor’s wife. If I had the time all in one sitting, I would have read this book to completion in a day. What a beautiful example of a Christian wife, pastor’s wife or not.

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fa from god

Feeling Far from God?

God’s Faithfulness

“I have heard all about You, Lord, and I am filled with awe by the amazing things you have done. In this time of our deep need, begin again to help us, as You did in years gone by. Show us Your power to save us.”-Habakkuk 3:2 NLT

Too many times, we feel far from God.

We know He is there. We know all He has done and will do. But sometimes there is a distance between us. If we really examine ourselves, our hearts, our intentions, our motives, we will often find that it was not God that moved away from us. Quite the contrary. Continue reading

from generation to generation

From Generation to Generation

Memories of Generations

One of my earliest memories is a sleep-over at my grandparents. I remember standing at Grandma’s knee while she crocheted a yellow hat for my dolly. I can still taste the frozen tart applesauce made from the apples in her yard. But my favorite memory is the nighttime devotions. A plastic loaf of bread held tiny cards printed with Scripture promises. I chose one card, then sat as close to Grandma as I could. With her arm around me, she whispered word by word, so I could “read” the verse.

It was the beginning of a legacy – the love of God and His Word. Before I was a week old, my parents took me to church, and faithfully continued to make sure I was taught the Word by Sunday School teachers and pastors. On an everyday basis, we looked to Scripture for guidance in our home.

Passing the Faith Along

My favorite parenting verses are found in Deuteronomy 6: Continue reading

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

sunbeam

photo credit: GuentherDilligen @ Pixabay Modified by Mandy

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

 

After a prompt from Five Minute Friday, my thoughts went directly to an old hymn favorite, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus. I haven’t written on a hymn in a while so…

Let’s do a quick hymn study.

O soul are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior
And life more abundant and free

I know that I am weary and tired of the struggles we have been facing for the past 2-3 years. At times, you wonder, “When will it all stop?” But I know that my Jesus is working, even when I can’t see it, He is there through it all. He promises a life abundant and free. If we will just turn our eyes to Him. Get our focus away from the storm around us. Then the waves will calm and our hearts will relax.

 

More Than Conquerors

Turn your worries over to God

Photo credit : AZBoomer @ Pixabay modified by Mandy

 

Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there
Over us sin no more hath dominion
For more than conquerors we are

Praise the Lord!

We are more than conquerors! He has been through the tumultuous times just as we have been. And He understands what we are going through. His Word says that “in this life, we will have troubles” but He is in control and if we stayed focused on Him, He will turn everything for our good!

 

His Word Shall Not Fail You!

Turn the pages of your Bible

Photo Credit Pedrovia @Pixabay

His Word shall not fail you, He promised
Believe Him and all will be well
Then go to a world that is dying
His perfect salvation to tell

Are you into the Word every day? Are you telling others about Him?

His Word is dependable. It does not fail! Trust it! Memorize it. These words will come to you when trials arise and you will be able to resist and lean on Jesus! 

 

Mandy Farmer

How to Be an A+ Student

Psalm 119:10-16

I have tried hard to find you—don’t let me wander from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. I praise you, O Lord; teach me your decrees. I have recited aloud all the regulations you have given us. I have rejoiced in your laws as much as in riches. I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways. I will delight in your decrees and not forget your word.

 

It’s Time to Put on Our Thinking Caps!

As school is about to begin (or already has for some), I would like to share some thoughts on how to become an A+ student. It is quite a challenge these days. I think most of us that have finished our education will agree that we wouldn’t want to go back to school now and have all the demands that the schools expect today.

 

But “Trying Hard” isn’t what “cuts the mustard.”

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Bible journaling

How to Create a Lasting Legacy Gift

Looking For a Great Gift Idea?

We’re winding up the graduations for the season and I’m thinking you may have struggled to find that perfect legacy graduation gift.

I’m sorry I didn’t really come across this sooner for you but if I had, I would have had to think of it years sooner. My parents gave each one of us a new leather Thompson Chain-Reference Bible when we graduated high school and I believe they continue to do that for the grandchildren.

A few years back a friend of mine shared that she was journaling in her Bible to give the Bible to her son at graduation. This was the 2nd time she had done it and was now purchasing a new Bible in preparation for the third graduating child. Continue reading