Practical Tips for Personal Bible Study

Last week we focused on the why’s of Bible study. If you’ve decided to make Bible study a part of your regular daily routine, or if you’ve made that commitment long ago, you know you need to be prepared each day to follow through with your goals. Unfortunately, there are several impediments to Bible study because our Enemy is crafty and doesn’t want us armed with the sword! One obstacle that’s very easy to address, however, is preparedness.

There are a few things that I’ve gleaned from others over the years to make my study time a bit smoother. I’ll try to pass on their collected wisdom to you.

“Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17, ESV)

Get Set

Setting up for study time in advance is so helpful! Since I usually do the bulk of my studying in the morning, I try to always have my things set up the night before. This way, I’m not wasting precious alone-time searching for my Bible, journal, or favorite pen.

Some useful things to gather arewww.heartfeltreflections.wordpress.com

• A Bible (preferably a study Bible* with footnotes and marginal references)
• Favorite pens and pencils
• A journal , notepad, or computer for taking notes
• Bible study book or your Bible reading plan
• Bookmarks, sticky notes, and/or page flags
• Concordance
• An English dictionary
• Bible dictionary

Many of these items are now available on digital devices, so if you have your computer, tablet, or phone handy, you’ll have access to many of these study helps without even having to set out anything extra. Simple is so nice, right?

Where and When

Find a spot that’s comfortable for you. A desk, easy chair, couch, kitchen table, or a patio could all work. The location isn’t as important as whether or not you’ll be able to study there. Make sure you have your supplies within easy reach. If you like to head outside, keep your materials in a bag so you’ve got everything handy.

I find it best to study when the house is quiet. For me, this means waking before my kids. Not only is it a great time to have a distraction free time, but I get to start off the day having met with God first. {This is why I find the HelloMornings ministry so encouraging– you can read about it here.} But the most important thing is to schedule time to study regularly. If you’re at a season of life when mornings are impossible, find whatever time you can and utilize it. I know many women have successfully used baby’s naptime, or even right before bed. A very long time ago, my mom and I used to study together while she drove me to school. Don’t feel like you have time? I encourage you to make time, even if it’s just a few minutes a day. The fruits are so worth it!

Distractions

Having a clean, distraction free work space is incredibly helpful. Needing to push piles off my desk before I can open my Bible does not put my heart in the right place for studying, I have to admit. A quick clean-up of my work station the night before can really help me start off on the right foot in the morning. {If I were doing my Bible study during my children’s naptime, I’d try to squeeze is some tidy-up time before their nap, if possible.} I am easily distracted when I see work that needs to be done. There have even been a few days when I just try not to look around much, and keep my nose in the Bible! Then, after my Bible study, I feel like my heart is in the right place to handle chores.

Eliminate other distractions when possible. I have a daughter that is easily distracted. When she studies, she needs a very quiet spot with low activity and natural lighting. I, on the other hand, study best after a praise song or two, then with a little piano music playing in the background. Figure out what distracts you and change things up until you get your environment study-conducive. Watch out for computer, social media, and phone distractions, as well.

Routine

Once you have things the way you like them, get into a routine. Gather your materials, clean your space, eliminate distractions, and study. Be consistent, even if consistence means making changes. Some highly creative people get bored with monotony. If that’s you, change your routine up enough to experience the freedom you crave. If you prefer to do things the same way every day, that’s fine, too!

Pray

Before you begin to study, pray and praise. Ask God to open your eyes and heart to receive the message He wants you to hear that day. Praise Him for being such a personal, faithful God whose love and care is steadfast and deep. He wants you to know and come to Him. His Word and Spirit are the vehicles He gave for you to know Him better.

“Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law.” (Psa 119:18, NASB)

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” (Jas 4:8a, ESV)

Rewards

I’m a big believer in rewards. I think God is, too. He has spiritual riches galore stored up for us in Heaven, and rewards He allows us to experience here on earth. I think it’s ok to reward yourself for meeting your goals. God will reward you spiritually, for sure!  But, sometimes, that morning alarm reminding you to study is easier to obey if you know a physical reward is coming your way. Leave sticky note reminders of the spiritual rewards that motivate you to be in the Bible, or write them in your journal. Try buying some teas or coffee reserved just for your Bible time, or maybe a pretty journal or pen set.  These things don’t have to be expensive because I promise you they will never, ever hold a candle to the rewarding experience of being with Jesus every day!

Spend some time creating your atmosphere and getting set up for your personal, daily bible study. What does your ideal space look like? When do you want to study each day? What distracts you the most, and how can you eliminate it?

Praying we’ll be blessed and rewarded as we seek time with Christ each day,
Ali

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Looking for practical tips to enhance your #BibleStudy? Check out this post by @HeartfeltByAli

Our Enemy doesn’t want us armed with the Sword. Address the obstacle of poor preparation. #BibleStudy @HeartfeltByAli

 

*I recommend using a literal translation of the Bible for studying purposes, such as ESV, KJV, or NASB. If you are having difficulty understanding the thought behind a particular section of scripture, a thought-for-thought translation can be helpful. For this I recommend the HCSB which is a literal translation except when the literal is confusing, then the thought is expressed.

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3 thoughts on “Practical Tips for Personal Bible Study

  1. Thank you again, for another great post to help us get studying! One thing I’ve found is that spending time reading His Word and being with Him that way is addictive. Pretty soon we just can’t imagine not doing it! God bless you and yours and your study times!

  2. Pingback: Starting an Inductive Bible Study Session | Heartfelt Reflections

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