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How to Study the Bible for Beginners

November 25, 2019
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Thinking about reading the Bible for the first time can be intimidating. It’s a big book! Where do you even begin?

Whether you are a new believer or have been around Christianity for a while, committing to study the Bible is a great step. Starting a Bible study plan is a great way to deepen your understanding of the Bible, grow in your faith, and build a strong foundation for your spiritual life. 

While it can be easy to start, it is sometimes more difficult to develop consistency. For this reason, a Bible study method can help.

Why Should a New Christian Read the Bible?

First, why read the Bible? Here are three main reasons why:

  • The Bible is the story of Who God is
  • The Bible shows us how to love and follow God
  • The Bible teaches us how to love others

Reading the Bible can help you grow in your relationship with God. Through its pages, God’s Word teaches us about His character and gives us instructions for our daily lives. It shows us that we can trust God and His promises. It answers big life questions as well as guides us to discover God’s will for our lives.

As we study the Bible, we encounter the beautiful story of God’s unfailing love for us. It reveals God's relentless pursuit of a relationship with us, despite our shortcomings and failures. From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible shows God's faithfulness, mercy, and grace, ultimately culminating in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross for our redemption. 

Every story, commandment, and prophecy in the Bible points to God's deep love for His creation and His desire to reconcile us to Himself. Reading the Bible allows us to experience firsthand the depth of God's love and to respond with gratitude and obedience.

Related Post: 10 Bible Verses Every New Christian Should Know

Where to Start With Bible Study

When learning how to study the Bible as a beginner, feel free to start small. You don’t need to spend hours from the beginning. The goal in understanding the bible when you begin is to grow to love God’s Word.

When you focus on the beauty, strength, and truth in scripture, you will grow more excited and learn how to understand the Bible as a new Christian. Stick with your plan, meditate on God’s Word, and watch yourself grow in knowledge and truth.

Bible Reading vs. Bible Study

There is a difference between reading vs. studying. We don’t suggest picking up the Bible and reading it straight through like you would with a novel. Rather, Bible studying means reading more slowly and pausing to reflect on God’s message in each passage.

Keep reading for more detailed tips on how to study the Bible for beginners.

How to Study the Bible for Beginners

So, how do you begin to read the Bible? There’s no perfect way, but we do have a few suggestions.

Establish a Routine

Set aside dedicated time each day or week for your Bible study. Consistency is key to developing a habit and staying committed to your plan.

Pray

Talk to God about whatever may be bothering you, distracting you, and ask Him to guide your time.

Choose a Book of the Bible

We suggest starting in the New Testament, which is the second main part of the Bible. Here are a few books to start with:

  • John (or another of the Gospels, which are Matthew, Mark, or Luke). These books are the story of the life and teachings of Jesus.
  • One of Paul’s letters. Paul wrote many letters to the early church (now part of the New Testament) about how to follow Jesus. Some of the shorter letters, like Galatians, Ephesians, or Philippians are great books to start with.

Choose a Bible Study Method

There are many ways to study the Bible, such as reading through a specific book, studying a particular theme, or following a guided study plan. Choose a method that works for you.

Use Resources

Utilize study Bibles, commentaries, online resources, and study guides to help you understand the context, meaning, and application of the passages you're studying.

Reflect and Apply

Take time to reflect on what you've learned and think about how you can apply it to your life. Prayerfully consider how God is speaking to you through His Word.

Bible Study Methods

Using a Bible study method is helpful for beginners because it provides structure.. A method can help you navigate the vastness and complexity of the Bible, breaking it down into manageable parts for study. Each method also encourages a time of reflection on how to apply scripture to your life. 

No matter what method you choose, having a system can foster consistency, helping beginners establish a regular habit of engaging with Scripture. While there are some differences to these methods, they all incorporate observation, interpretation, application, and personal reflection.

SOAP Bible Study Method

SOAP is an acronym that will help guide your Bible reading. While simple, these four steps can be a powerful way to study scripture and apply it to your life. Through observation, application, and prayer, we can use God’s Word to deepen our relationship with God and to apply His truth in our lives. The SOAP acronym stands for:

Scripture: Write out the Bible passage by hand

Observation: What do you observe? (who, what, when, where, how, why?)

Application: Based on your observations, how can you apply this passage to your life so you can follow the way of Jesus? 

Prayer: Thank God for what He’s shown you through this passage, and praise Him for His character revealed in the passage. Also, ask God to help you apply this passage to more closely follow Him

For a more in-depth explanation of the SOAP Method: SOAP Bible Study Method

Inductive Bible Study

Inductive Bible study emphasizes observation, interpretation, and application of Scripture. It starts with careful observation of the passage to understand its context, content, and structure. This method then prompts reflection on the meaning of the passage. Finally, it encourages personal application, prompting believers to consider how the passage applies to their lives and how they can live out its principles.

Observe: Observe the passage by answering the 5-W questions. Who is the author? Who is the intended audience? When is this taking place? Where is this taking place? What is this passage about? What is being said? Why are these events happening? Why is the author writing about this?

Interpret: What is the meaning of this passage? Why is this needed, and why is it relevant today? How does this passage change what I know about God and humanity? 

Apply: How can I apply this passage to my life so I can follow the way of Jesus?

For a more in-depth explanation of the Inductive Method: How to Study the Bible

Topical Bible Study

The topical Bible study method involves selecting a specific topic or theme and examining what the Bible says about it. This approach allows new Christians to explore key teachings and principles of the Bible in a focused manner. 

To conduct a topical study, use a concordance or online resources to find relevant verses on your chosen topic. By compiling and analyzing these verses, you can gain a deeper understanding of what God says about the topic, and how it relates to your daily life. 

For a more in-depth explanation of the Inductive Method: Topical Study of Scripture

Up - In - Out Method

This Bible study concept is simple. For each passage, you spend time asking and answering three questions:

Up: What does this passage show me about God, His character, and His purposes?

In: What does this passage reveal about myself, my sin, and my relationship with God?

Out: How does this passage teach me to interact with neighbors in my life and around the world?

Conclusion

No matter which method you use, studying the Bible is a transformative journey that deepens our understanding of God, strengthens our faith, and guides our lives. It involves more than just reading—it requires reflection, prayer, and application. 

By studying the Bible, we gain wisdom, insight, and guidance for every aspect of life. We learn about God's character, His will for us, and His plan for salvation. It is a lifelong pursuit that continually reveals new truths, draws us closer to God, and grows our love for those around us.

Related Post: How to Disciple a New Christian

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Whether you are a new believer or have been around Christianity for a while, committing to study the Bible is a great step. Here's how to study the bible for beginners.

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