Helpful Bible Study Tips for Beginners

If you’re like me, you might be feeling a bit unsettled these days, wondering how to find and embrace inner peace. There’s one thing that’s helped me immensely and that’s drawing near to God. My ultimate favorite way to do that is through Bible Study. I receive a lot of questions about how to get started, so I decided to post these helpful tips for Bible study beginners.

If this is your first step into learning God’s Word, allow me to be the first to say welcome to Bible study! Knowing some basic information will help you persevere, and will hopefully set a fire in your heart for learning more about God through the Bible. So let’s start at the beginning.

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Why is Bible Study Important for Beginners?

Before beginning any endeavor, it’s important to understand why you’re starting. Your “why” will help you push through when it doesn’t feel easy, or in the case of Bible study, when you’d rather press your snooze button and get a few extra minutes of sleep. Here are some compelling reasons why Bible study is important:

We learn about God.

The Bible reveals who God is and shows His character. Sometimes it seems the world portrays God as a mean judge, constantly trying to catch us making mistakes. As you open His Word, however, that’s not what you’ll find at all. You’ll begin to see His true nature as a loving Father, a helpful Guide, and a beloved friend.

The Bible is a Plumbline of Truth.

There’s a lot of noise in our society, and lots of people offering their opinions on every subject imaginable. It’s always important to have a baseline of truth from which to consider the opinions of others. God’s Word is truth (see John 17:17). When we know and understand His truth, it strengthens our daily decisions, improves our relationships, and delivers inner peace.

We discover God’s love for us.

Bible study is especially important for beginners who want to discover how God sees them as His children. Through God’s Word, I discover that I am His child, He loves me unconditionally, I never disappoint Him, and that He values me just as I am—so much that His Son willingly sacrificed His life for me. As you dig into His Word, you’ll realize He feels just the same about you

What is the Best Way for Beginners to Study the Bible?

 While there are many methods of Bible study, the best way for beginners to study the is to. . .

  • Observe the Text by slowly reading and examining what it says.
  • Interpret the Text by looking up meanings of words in the original language and taking context into consideration. Even beginners can do this easily with Bible apps like Strong’s Concordance or through websites like blueletterbible.com.
  • Apply the Text by taking what you learn to heart. Consider how it can impact your situation, your upcoming decisions, and your current needs. Then trust God’s instruction and live it out.

Bible Study Ideas

As you begin to study the Bible at home, here are some ideas to get you started.

Study the Bible by Verse

Bible apps like You Version Bible provide a verse of the day and offer a large number of translations to choose from. Using that as a starting point, you can use the Observe, Interpret, Apply method of Bible study (detailed above) to learn more about that verse.

Study the Bible by Topic

If you’re currently struggling with something specific (such as fear, worry or anxiety), you can use sites like info to search for those words and discover what the Bible says about them.

Study the Bible by Book

Many people study individual books of the Bible, like the book of Esther, for example, or John, or Matthew, or Romans. By studying a book in its entirety, you’ll discover much deeper meaning and context than studying by verse.

Bible Study Groups

It’s always nice to study with a group of friends. Having the ability to talk about what you’re learning is helpful and many times additional resources are used inside groups. Since it’s difficult to meet in groups right now, online Bible studies are becoming more popular. One I recommend is through the Facebook group for The Joyful Life Magazine. They offer online studies once a quarter or so.

Bible Study at Home

Here’s where I want to encourage you right now. Just begin today, right where you are. Pray and ask God to lead you with His wisdom, then open His Word and begin. The sooner you do, the sooner you’ll reap some of His overwhelming blessings. Engage with your family members, or start off on your own. There’s no reason to fear because God will meet with you when you seek Him.  When the Bible seems confusing, look into different versions or look up the word meanings as suggested above, or consult with a friend or pastor who knows the Bible well.

Tools for Bible Study Beginners

You may wonder what you need to begin studying the Bible. What you truly need is simply a Bible (electronic or in book form), a pencil, and some paper. The more you progress, however, the more you’ll enjoy having some writing tools to use. The pages of paper Bibles are thin and a lot of the writing instruments we use every day bleed through the pages and make it hard to read. Here are some of my favorite writing tools that I use specifically for Bible study:

Bible Study Pens

I like these Micro Pens from Amazon because they come in a variety of colors, they’re fine-tipped which makes it easier to write in small spaces, and best of all, they don’t bleed through Bible pages. This set from Sakura is even higher quality but has fewer color selections.

Bible Study Highlighters

Call me crazy but my favorite Bible study highlighters aren’t highlighters at all. They’re colored pencils, but they never bleed, they’re comfortable to write with, and they come in a large variety of colors. Check out these Crayola Twistable Colored Pencils.  You can also find Bible Study Highlighters in Bible book stores or online, but I find they’re more expensive and don’t last as long.

Sticky Notes

It’s nice to have smaller, narrower sticky notes that fit into the margins of your Bible. For that reason, I like those designed for calendars like these from Erin Condren. (And they’re cute)!

Bible Reflection Worksheets

I created these printable worksheets to use over and over with any book or passage of the Bible. They’ve proved invaluable in my faith walk and I hope you’ll enjoy them!

Books I recommend for Bible Study Beginners

It’s always a good idea to start to accumulate a small library of resources. There are several books I recommend—specifically for Bible Study beginners—because they have fueled my own faith.

  • Without question, you need a Bible that’s easy to read and understand. To begin your journey, I recommend a version that’s a bit more conversational in tone, but still maintains the integrity of original Biblical texts. The CSB version is my favorite and is available in these gems: The Study Bible for Women,  She Reads Truth and (in)Courage Devotional Bible.
  • Believing God was the first book I ever read by Beth Moore and it had a profound impact on my life and ministry. It remains one of my highest recommendations, even after all these years.
  • Kay Arthur is another Bible study favorite because she teaches you to mine God’s word for truth on your own. I recommend Lord Teach Me to Study the Bible in 28 Days.

I hope these pointers and recommendations get you off to a strong start in Bible study, especially if you’re a beginner.  As always, I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions!

To your closer connection to God,

Cathy McIntosh

 

 

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