There is a lot of pressure within the Christian community to spend time daily with the Lord. While it may seem to some like a standard that is impossible to obtain, there is good reason for it. The good news is that there is no hard and fast rule written into the Bible that says, “Thou must spend 30 minutes in God’s word each day to attaineth heaven.”
That being said, we ARE called to have a relationship with God, and it is impossible to maintain any relationship without communication. Our manner for communicating to God is through prayer (for more on prayer read this post, titled Joy in Prayer? But It’s So Boring!!!). The primary method that God created for the purpose of communicating back to us, is through His word.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Get to Know Him
Another huge reason to study God’s word is to simply get to know Him better. If we are called to have a relationship with Him, shouldn’t we know who we’re building relationship with?? His personality is sprinkled all throughout His word. How can it not be? His word is who He is!!
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:1, 14
Finally, we are called to Bible study so that we can easily find the path to redemption. In His word, God gives us a clear picture of His best life for us. If we read His word regularly, we will begin to remember it in times of need, in times of temptation, and in times of repentance. He has given us a gift in this handbook to life, but how can we know how to follow it if we choose to not read it?
Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Joshua 1:8
But Bible study is intimidating!! How do I find a method that works for who I am?
Not everyone has the time in their day to spend hours in deep study (although for some reason we’ve been led to believe this is supposed to be the case). God made each one of us unique on purpose. This means that He created everyone to connect with Him in a different way. And then throw in different life schedules, responsibilities and interests and now you’ve been whittled down to a very small niche. What works for me, will probably not work for you, AND THAT’S OKAY!
Listed below are 30 of the Bible study methods that I have come across. Many of these can be completed in tandem with each other. Some I have tried, and some I have not. My hope and prayer is that you’ll find one that speaks to you!
1. Devotional Apps
These are always a great simple way to get started in your Bible study. I have used them in the past when I have been out of the habit for quite some time and can’t seem to settle myself down to a deeper study. They are also great if you are short on time, as they are easy to read while waiting for an appointment or in the pick-up line at school. The best thing about them is that a lot of them are free!
2. Verse Memorization
Memorizing scripture is a fantastic way to store God’s word in your heart. I may not always remember the reference (but that’s what Google is for right?!), but I do remember the words and they usually pop up right when I need them most.
Dwell Differently is a fun company that creates memory verses into unique temporary tattoos that are intended to help you learn one verse a month. The tattoos are sent in either white or black with a keychain and short devotional. They make for great conversational starters as well!
My printable Prayer and Study Journals also contain pages meant to help with your scripture memorization as well.
3. Video Bible Studies
If you are looking for something a little more intensive, I have found that I have really enjoyed Bible studies that have weekly video presentations available. These do tend to be a little more on the pricy side (as you are not only buying the book, but also renting the video series as well), but there is so much value in hearing from the author each week. Most of these are set up to be completed in a group Bible study (which would make them cheaper by the way), but I have not had any trouble completing them on my own.
4. Verse Mapping
This is a great way to get down and gritty with your Bible study one verse at a time. If you like to tear your education apart and dissect it, this method is for you. The idea is to pick a verse and look at it through various translations, noting any significant keywords that jump out at you, documenting the context in which the verse is written, and then finally applying the information to your life and to what you know about who God is.
If this interests you, my Prayer and Faith Journals have a page specific to this method.
5. Join a Bible Study
A great way to maintain accountability in your Bible study is to join a group and study together! These usually meet once a week with homework to complete on your own before the next meeting. Most churches will have their own versions of this, whether they come in the form of a community group or in a more formal Bible study setting.
Most towns will also have at least one church who offers Bible Study Fellowship (BSF), which is a more intensive group Bible study if that is something that interests you.
To help stay organized, check out these bundles of Small Group and Sermon Notes that you can print yourself.
6. Book of the Bible Study
One of the more common methods of study involves simply reading through a book in the Bible. If you’re interested, there is a page in my Prayer and Study Journals that can help in gathering some of the background information on the book before you start reading through it.
7. Bible-in-a-Year Plan
There are many Bible-in-a-Year plans out there. These plans will do just as their names suggest and will take you through the whole Bible in just one year. A lot of people like doing this, but for me it’s a bit too much reading each day.
Here is a couple of options for this method:
- Biblestudytools.com is a free option available online.
- A Woman’s Guide to Reading the Bible in a Year (Affiliate Link) is available for purchase on Amazon.
8. Meditate on the Scripture
Meditation is a word that has been hijacked over the years and scares a lot of Christians off for that reason. But we are called to meditate on the scriptures. Some like to pick a verse or passage for the week and spend time each day praying over that verse and considering what it means in their life, and in relation to God.
9. Creative Bible Study
Okay, this one is not me at all, but I am truly attracted to it (from the outside looking in of course). Read your verse or passage, and then create (using whatever medium you are comfortable with) a masterpiece that speaks to what you’ve learned. This idea comes from the Notgrass homeschool curriculum. This example is obviously intended for kids, but the concept doesn’t have to be.
10. Character Study
This one can be fun. Choose a character from the Bible, it can be anybody, and then make note of where they are found, their background, location, time period, culture, etc. Now look at who they were – what were their strengths/weaknesses? How were they used by God? What can you learn from their story?
There is a page in my Prayer and Faith Journals that is dedicated to this study.
11. Bible Study Books
These are the books that you can buy online or in bookstores. They are usually a bit more intensive and will ask the harder questions. Some of them are geared more towards your spiritual growth, and others are more geared towards understanding the Bible historically. Both approaches are important for understanding who God is.
12. Writing Scripture
This one is a new idea to me, and I am in love with it. It’s such a beautiful approach! Cultivate What Matters created these journals that provide a new scripture passage to write out each day. Once you’ve copied the words down into your journal, you simply make a note on what it meant to you, and then choose a word for the day. The journals are so well made, and each comes with a theme and its own gorgeous color!
13. Devotional Bible Study
These are the paper version of the apps listed in #1. These are books that combine a daily verse with a short message. They are quick to read, but still come with a punch to the gut when needed.
I really enjoy Timothy Keller’s The Songs of Jesus (Affiliate Link).
14. Topical Study
Sometimes we have a certain subject that we’d like more information on. Instead of reading the Bible verse by verse or book by book, you can use a concordance (or Google) to look up all verses relating to that specific topic.
These are quickly becoming a favorite in connecting to God’s word. Anybody who is anybody (except me) has their own podcast these days. Because of this, you need to be careful of who you are listening to, but there many great options out there that provide a lot of wisdom.
Some of my favorites have been Daily Grace (by The Daily Grace Co.), Fight Hustle, End Hurry, The Natasha Crain Podcast, Your Enneagram Coach, and Where’s the Joy in That? (by the guys from Rend Collective).
16. War Binders
The idea behind these stems from the movie, War Room, with Priscilla Shirer. When you don’t have the room in your home to create a separate space for spending time with the Lord, a binder will work! In a lot of ways, the binder is a better idea. You can include sections for whatever works for you and your needs, AND you can take it with you wherever you go! Add a section for prayer, a section for sermon notes, a section for your Bible study notes, you get the picture.
I bought my war binder cover from Hunkeedori on Etsy and filled it with these traveling notebooks (Affiliate Link). The traveling notebooks are great because you can change them out as you fill the up!
Check out this Pinterest board for different ideas.
17. Word Study
Similar to the topical study, this gets super into the weeds on understanding the meaning behind a specific word in the Bible. Take a look at the word’s definition, synonyms, Hebrew/Greek translations, key verses related to the word, and finally how the word can be applied to your life.
Again, I have included a page for word study in my Prayer and Study Journals.
18. Chronological Study
Many people don’t know that the Bible was not put together in chronological order. A fun thing to do is to read through it chronologically so as to gain a good historical understanding of the chain of events throughout the history of God’s people.
This is a good free example of such a study.
The Rose Chronological Guide to the Bible (Affiliate Link) is also a fantastic tool to use with this style of study. (On a side note, I have found any study aid produced by Rose Publishing (Affiliate Link) to be extremely useful, and I really am in love with them.)
19. SOAP Bible Study Method
This is a common acronym that can help organize your study and keep you on track.
- S – Scripture – Write the verse(s) out or just the reference, whatever works for you. I will usually write the portion of the verse that spoke to me specifically (while including the whole reference).
- O – Observation – What do you observe about this portion of scripture? This may, or may not, include other scriptural, historical, or cultural context. How does this scripture point to Christ?
- A – Application – How does this scripture apply to your personal life? What is God trying to say to you through this part of His word?
- P – Prayer – Write your response to God as a personal prayer from your heart to His.
The Life Journals are a perfect opportunity to explore this method of study. I also have included a couple of SOAP specific pages in the Prayer and Study Journals.
20. Bible Study Index
So, this isn’t a method per say, but it is a great way of organizing what you’ve learned for accessing the knowledge later. I’ve created this spreadsheet to be able to sort by date, scripture reference, subject, or you could run a keyword search by topic. If you are interested in this freebie, sign up here: I’m interested in the Bible Study Index!!
21. Simple Application
When I had first started building the Prayer and Study Journals, I asked around to see what kind of studies my friends preferred. Most had responded that they liked to keep it simple. So, I added a couple of pages for just that. Simply jot down your scripture passage or reference and make a note about what it means to you.
22. Video Devotionals
23. Bible Based Non-Fiction
I wouldn’t let these replace reading the actual scripture, but they can provide a fantastic supplemental option to your daily reading. If you find the right author you can trust, they can provide insight to your walk that you might not glean on your own.
A few of my favorites are Mama Bear Apologetics (Affiliate Link), Fervent (Affiliate Link), Spiritual Mothering (Affiliate Link), Twelve Ordinary Men (Affiliate Link), Rediscover Church (Affiliate Link), and The Pursuit of Holiness (Affiliate Link). Use this page out of the Prayer and Study Journals to record your favorite quotes.
24. Bible on Audible
I know some who prefer to listen to the Bible rather than read it. They have downloaded a version from Audible and listen to its readings in the car during their commute. For me, I can’t learn this way, but my husband concentrates better audibly.
Bible on Audible (Affiliate Link)
25. Recorded Sermons
Along the same lines as #24, listening to recorded sermons can give you a chance to learn from other pastors in other churches across the country. With our post-COVID world, almost every church streams their services online now. There shouldn’t be a shortage of options if this method speaks to you.
26. Bible Journaling
This Bible Study method may work for you regardless of where you are on the creativity spectrum. Journaling Bibles tend to have a single column of scripture with a wide side margin for journaling. This can be filled with notes, beautiful drawings or word art flourishes. You make it what you want it to be.
Some of the popular tools for this are:
27. Inductive Bible Study
Similar to the SOAP method in #19, there are three main steps to an inductive study:
- Observation – What do you observe about this portion of scripture? This may, or may not, include other scriptural, historical, or cultural context. How does this scripture point to Christ?
- Interpretation – How can this passage be interpreted? You may need to research various interpretations from reputable sources that you know you can trust.
- Application – How can this passage be applied to your life? What does it teach you about who God is?
28. Subtitle Bible Study
This is probably the method I use the most. The subtitled sections throughout the Bible varies from translation to translation, but for the most part they are all similar. I like to read these one a day. For me, going this route combines reading through a book of the Bible with short topical studies (depending on which book you are reading). This way it is broken down in easy-to-read chunks that (usually) don’t take up too much time but are still impactful.
29. APPLE Bible Study Method
This method was written by Arabah Joy and is explained in detail on her blog post, The APPLE Bible Study Method (arabahjoy.com), but the acronym is as follows:
- A – Attributes of God
- P – Promises of God
- P – Principles for Life
- L – Lesson Learned
- E – Example to Follow
30. Revisit Sunday’s Sermon
This is a great way to meditate on what God might be trying to teach you through your church’s sermon series. Take the opportunity to dive deeper into the scriptures that were referenced. Choose one to be your memory verse for the week.
Click here to take a look at the bundles of Small Group and Sermon Notes that I put together.
However you choose to meet with the Lord, the important thing is that you take the step to do it. I’m sure there are many more options out there that can be tailored to meet your specific needs, but hopefully this list can get you started!
How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:9-11