Have you ever opened the Bible to study with determination only to get a few lines and realize you don’t understand what you read? Overwhelm and confusion overtook you, and you closed the book in frustration.
That feeling is so common and is a major reason why Bible studies, commentaries, devotionals, and Bible resources sell so well.
As a previously unchurched new believer, I felt God prompt me to begin reading the Bible for myself. Not that there’s anything wrong with devotionals and the other resources I mentioned before. I like to think of those resources as supplements or side items. They are great for us, but not at the expense of the main course, which is reading God’s Word for ourselves and allowing Him to illuminate the truths He wants to reveal.
Maybe you are also a new believer from an unchurched background, and the Bible seems so daunting.
Or maybe you come from a long line of believers, and you have heard Bible studies and sermons every Wednesday and Sunday morning and evening since you were born, but you’ve never truly tried to read the Bible for yourself.
Or maybe you exist somewhere between those two examples.
No matter the case, I want to help you by sharing four Bible study tips for beginners.
Pick a Starting Place
We have to start somewhere. You will hear people say to begin in the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John). This is a great tip, especially, if you wouldn’t consider yourself a believer yet. Maybe you are just curious about who Jesus was and what the Bible said about Him. If that’s you then by all means, please read the gospel accounts because they are all about Jesus’s life and ministry on earth. And how He died to save your soul. You need to know that, so skip right over there first.
However, if you have been in church for a while or are a new believer and desire to study God’s Word for yourself, my advice is to start at the beginning. After the prompting from God to see what the Bible had to say for myself, I set a goal to read the Bible from cover to cover. So naturally, I started with the very first of the 66 books.
The book of Genesis is a great place to start because it gives an account of the beginning of creation. It also covers the human issue of sin, and the book ends with the beginnings of His plan for redemption. Genesis and the entire Old Testament are amazing to read because of the ways the books foreshadow the coming of Christ, our Savior.
If you want to start studying the Bible with Genesis you can download my free Bible study.
In The Genesis Bible Study: 50 Days to Study and Journal Through Genesis I’m going to guide you through the book of Genesis providing insights and explanations through each of the book’s fifty chapters as you read them for yourself.
Each day is designed to tackle one chapter at a time.
Each entry contains the following:
- Chapter of the Day
- Meditation Verse
- Short Devotional Style Explanation
- Prayer Prompts
- & Supporting Memory Verse
If you want to start reading the Bible, my tip is to start at the beginning.
Use a Journal
In her book, The Power of Writing it Down, author and writing coach Allison Fallon says that the power of getting unstuck lies in a simple, daily writing habit. When I began my journey of reading the Bible from cover to cover, I bought a simple, spiral-bound notebook and used it each time I sat down with my Bible to read. And I still use the practice to this day.
I used the journal for several things. First, I would write the date and the passage I was reading at the top of the page. This practice allowed me to quickly pick up reading right where I left off the last time.
Next, I would use the pages in the journal to write down my prayers. The Bible is the Word of God, and His Word is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12). When you begin studying the Bible, what you’re doing is starting to have a daily conversation with God. You read His Word, and you respond to Him with your prayers. You need the journal because if you’re going to start talking to the God of the Universe, you’ll want to write down what He says to you, I promise. I have years of journals now of conversations with God. They are one of my most treasured possessions.
Journaling is a great way to keep track of your progress as you study the Bible, but it also is an incredible way to keep a log of your new conversations with God. These will only increase your faith and trust in God as you study the Bible.
The Free Genesis Study I mentioned before has lined pages for you to journal, and no notebook is necessary. Check it out below.
Schedule a Time, Place, and Plan
When we are new at studying the Bible, it takes a little time to make the habit stick. That is why the last tip is to set up a time, place, and plan.
As I mentioned before, studying the Bible is a way to deepen our relationship with God. And if we are in a relationship, we can’t wish our way to closeness. We have to plan dates, gatherings, phone calls, and texts with our other relationships. The same is true for our time with God. Communication takes intentionality.
I like to read the Bible first thing in the morning. I get up a little earlier than my husband and kids, and I grab my journal and my Bible and read before I do much of anything else. If I don’t read it first thing, the day seems to get away from me, and I don’t have the same ability to pay attention at the end of the day, as I do in the morning.
There isn’t a formula, and this doesn’t have to be done perfectly. Nor do you have to do the same thing every time. But it is helpful to have a loose plan for each day to ensure that you spend time studying the Bible.
We make time for the things that are important to us. So if you are a beginner who wants to study the Bible, be sure to create a time, place, and plan.
If you have a time and a place picked out, but are looking for a Bible reading plan, I’d love for you to download the free Genesis Bible Study: 50 Days to Journal Through and Study Genesis.
Form a Bible Study Group
Earlier I mentioned reading the Bible for yourself, but you don’t have to read it by yourself. Studying the Bible with a friend or two is great for helping solidify a new Bible reading habit. The people you read with are often great encouragement to stick with your time, place, and plan when life gets busy.
Not only do Bible study partners serve as great accountability, but they also each have their personalized relationship with Jesus and bring unique perspectives to discussion times. Sometimes finding a time to meet during the week can be difficult, so be sure to make an effort to find a rhythm that works for everyone. Another option, I’ve done is forming a Marco Polo group where we can each take turns chiming in on the study material and share what the Lord is teaching us.
Just like solidifying your personal time, place, and plan for Bible Study can take some time, give Bible study groups time to get in a sustainable rhythm as well. I think you will be amazed at how God uses reading partners to reveal more of Himself to you as you each study the Bible for yourselves, together.
If you have a few friends that came to mind when you thought of forming a Bible Study Group invite them to join you for the free Genesis Bible Study: 50 Days to Journal Through and Study Genesis.
Studying the Bible when you are a beginner can be a daunting task. Before you give up and let your Bible collect dust on your bookshelf, try these four Bible study tips. When you pick a starting place, use a journal, decide on a time, place, and plan, and form a Bible study group you’re going to be making progress in no time. The greatest news is you’re going to be deepening your relationship with the God who created you, and He cannot wait to meet with you!
Get started today by downloading The Genesis Bible Study: 50 Days to Journal Through and Study Genesis.