Getting something meaningful out of Bible study when you’re doing it alone it is challenging, but it doesn’t have to be.
Many people rely on their church for their weekly Bible teaching, either with in-person services or small group studies. While many churches are finding ways to have regular virtual meetings amidst the pandemic, much of their regular infrastructure is still pending and has left many people searching for new ways to approach Bible study.
One positive effect of the pandemic is the influx of Bible purchases and faith-based Google searches. However, LifeWay Research released a survey reporting that 57% of respondents found the Bible “challenging to make sense of the Bible when they read it on their own.” Their data, which was released in July 2020, surveyed more than 1,000 American Protestant churchgoers who attend a religious service at least once per month.
Here are 4 simple tips for getting something meaningful out of Bible study.
Have a plan
Just like any commitment, when forming a new habit it’s important not to just wing it but to have an actual plan.
For example, your plan could include carving out a certain time of day to read the Bible as part of your morning routine.
Adding Bible study to your schedule helps you avoid procrastination and develop positive habits. This may seem overly basic but it is amazing how just adding a task to your calendar helps you follow through on it. Have a plan and stick to it.
Follow a plan
Sitting down and reading the Bible on a regular basis is a wonderful start, but getting something out of your study may require more direction.
Many people find that following prescriptive Bible-reading plans helpful in maintaining a meaningful devotion time. These plans are organized for your benefit and can systematically guide you through your regular study so you get the most out of it.
Here are a few to try if you’re looking for a helpful Bible-study plan.
- Bible Reading Plans for 2020 from Ligonier Ministries
- Bible Reading Plan—Read the Bible in a Year from Salem Web Network
- Reading Plans from Bible Gateway
Listen to expository preaching
Expository preaching is a fancy term for preaching what the Bible says. While some pastors focus on topics, themes or current events, expository preachers get deep into Scripture and help people understand what the Bible means based on what it says. This method, called exegesis, studies the historical context of a passage so its meaning is clear and understood.
Even if you can’t attend a church or Bible study in person, you can still find ways to hear great teaching from home. Attend a livestream, participate in a virtual study or listen to a Christian radio station that features Bible teachers.
Here are a few places to discover excellent preachers conducing verse-by-verse studies.
- Joy Radio in Toronto airs many Bible-teaching programs throughout the day
- Baylor University released a survey featuring the 12 most effective preachers in the English-speaking world
- By learning inductive Bible study (here’s an introduction from the Navigators)
Share what you’re learning
One of the best ways to cement learning is by repeating it out loud. Whether you’re listening to Bible teaching or doing your own in-depth study, sharing what you’re learning is a great way to test your ideas and make sure your interpretations of the text are on track.
Talking about what you’re learning also helps you work through how you think and feel about certain truths, and allows for you to work through areas you’re stuck. This also encourages your friends and family to stay in the Word and continue on with their personal Bible study as well!
There are many benefits to talking about what you’re reading and learning from Scripture.