There are a large number of wonderful Bible studies out there written by great authors and Bible commentators. You can also find lots of great study tools online and printables to help you organize your thoughts. For me though, I like to keep it simple and most days I just want to open my bible and listen to what the Lord wants to tell me directly. If you are interested in the same thing, here are a few techniques that I use to go deeper into God’s word without a whole lot of jazz.
I can’t take credit for this simple study method. I’m not sure who came up with it, but I first started using it in my college days and have recently started using it to study the Bible during my personal quiet time. To do this all you need is a spiral or composition notebook and a writing utensil.
At the top of a blank page write the passage and passage title you are studying. You may also want to include the date for future reference. Next, without removing the page from the notebook, fold the page in half lengthwise. Elementary school teachers would call this folding it “hotdog style.” You can draw a line down the crease if you like, but I prefer not to. Now you have two columns on your page.
In the left column write out, word-for-word, the scriptures that jump out at you. There is no need to write the entire passage. In the right hand column, next to the scripture, write out your thoughts, questions, other scripture references, song lyrics, word studies (see below), or anything else you think is relevant to the scripture.
Once you are done journaling, write out a prayer across the full width of the next black page. There is no need to fold and create two columns again, just write on the page as you normally would. Thank the Lord for new insights and truths He has revealed to you, ask Him for the grace to obey any commands He has given you, and present your prayer requests to Him.
I love word studies and my favorite tool for this is blueletterbible.com (BLB). Once you are on the website type the passage you are studying into the search field and select the translation you are using. Locate the verse with the word you want to define and click tools. Next, click the Strong’s reference number which will lead you to the definition of the original Greek or Hebrew word in the passage.
I like to write the definition down in my double-entry journal. BLB also shows you other passages that contain the same original Greek or Hebrew word. I often read these passages as well to feel-out the word and explore anything else the Holy Spirit may be revealing to me.
Post Your Notes
A lot of people like to write notes in the margins of their bibles. I do the the same thing every once in awhile; however, the margins seldom have enough room for my thoughts. So I’ve adapted a study technique that I use to teach my elementary school students. It’s so simple you may even wonder why I bother to write about it here.
When I’m reading a scripture and have a thought that I want to remember for the next time I come across the passage, I write the thought down on a sticky note and stick it to that page in my bible. Simple, right?
I like doing this for a couple of reasons. First, sometimes during a sermon I hear something great and this is a quick way to get the info down without worrying about how neat it will look in the margins. I’ve scribbled a thing or two (or two-hundred) in the margins before only to come across it later and not be able to read my own handwriting… Hey, the margins are tiny. Second, I’ve written things down that I later find, as I mature in my Christian walk, that I no longer agree with. And there it is, if written in ink, permanently recorded in the margins. Using a sticky note gives me the option to rewrite or remove my thoughts all together as needed.
So there they are, my three favorite (and simple) techniques for quietly studying the word of God. Do have a favorite study technique? Share it with the rest of us in the comments below.
Only by grace,