For a long time, I struggled with studying the bible. When I heard someone say ‘you have to study the bible daily,’ I would inwardly roll my eyes (because I had heard it hundreds of times before). It wasn’t the knowledge of how often I needed to spend quiet time in the word that I lacked, what I needed was knowledge on how I can make this time enjoyable. Something I can look forward to.
If you can relate to this, then this post if just what you need. Here am sharing 5 bible study tips that helped move past dreading bible study to enjoying it (not to say I am there yet, because I still have a long way to go but, I’ve also come a long way).
So here are some few tips that worked for me, I hope they will do the same for you:
1. Realize that you don’t have to study the bible, rather you get to
If you don’t enjoy studying the bible, then, why do you continue studying it? Why don’t you just throw it to the side and continue doing what makes you happy? Why do you torture yourself? (am being dramatic I know).
Probably, the answer is ‘because it’s what expected of me as a Christian’
Those days when I didn’t enjoy studying the bible, I used to treat it as an obligation. It was something that I had to do, like it or not. I felt like I didn’t have a choice in the matter. I considered it something that bound me, no wonder I didn’t enjoy doing it.
The light-bulb moment for me was when I realized I didn’t have to study the bible.
Yes! You read that right. You don’t have to study the bible…. Rather you get to.
Spending quiet time in the word is not an obligation, it is a privilege. How wonderful is it that the God who created the whole universe, conceived you in love, came to die for you as a fruit of that love, and still loves you to this day, would leave you a book filled with His thought!
I don’t know about you, but I find it sweet that the bible offers me a chance to get to know more about this loving father. And the more I know about him, the closer to Him I get.
when I realized this, I found myself finding ways on how I could get the word of God into my spirit.
So if you struggle with enjoying studying the bible, maybe you need to realign your perception about the whole thing. Maybe you just need to realize that you don’t have to study it, you get to.
2. Make quiet time ‘quiet’
If you are one to be easily distracted, then maybe that is why you don’t enjoy studying the bible. This means that even though you truly would like to dive in and spend some quiet time with God, your mind just won’t let you. You’d be reading the bible and all of a sudden, you start thinking of what that person meant when they said what they did, and before you know it, you have read through a whole chapter and you can’t recall a single thing it said.
To help with distractions, I suggest you start taking the term quite literally and make it ‘quite’. Try to anticipate potential distractions and find ways of dealing with them.
I used to study my bible last thing before going to bed and I found that my mind easily wandered to the day just finished, so now I usually do my bible study first thing in the morning when my mind is clear of all thought.
Perhaps for you, your distraction can be more physical. You might need to find a room where you can close yourself and just lose yourself in the word. Whatever steps you need to take, consider making bible study time a time that is ‘quiet’ and free from potential distractions.
3. Consider using an acronym to guide your meditation
Talking of distractions and wandering minds, I have also discovered that when I use an acronym, I am better able to focus on the word of God and I enjoy it (because now this time becomes more fruitful).
I believe meditation to be one of the most vital parts of spending quiet time with God. Meditation is the medium through which the spirit interprets God’s word to us, through which God reveals Himself to us and speaks to us. But for someone with a wandering mind, meditation is hard consequently making bible study seem unfruitful (no wonder you don’t enjoy it). This is where an acronym comes in, it helps focus and guide our thought. Helping us become more intentional about meditating on God’s word.
There are many acronyms out there. I usually use the most common one: the SOAP method (Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer).
4. Do a brief research on the history of the book you are doing your Bible study on
I am sure most of us know that the bible is a correction of many books. These books were authored by different individuals, coming from different backgrounds, at different times in history and written for different groups of people to serve different purposes. This means, without proper care, it is easy to misinterpret it or to just be thoroughly lost
So I suggest, before starting the study of any book in the bible, google articles on the background of that particular book. Read and understand them. When was the book written, by whom, for what group of people, for what purpose, etc? And finally with these in mind, ask yourself this question: what does this mean for me today a child of God. I have found this to help me a lot in my understanding of the passages in scripture.
5. Pray about it
You might be diligent in applying the four tips I shared above, but overall it is the Holy Spirit that will help you enjoy your time spent in His presence. So if you are struggling with loving God and His words, why don’t you talk to God Himself.
Tell Him what your struggles are. He cares for you! And He alone can make this wonderful and enjoyable for you. If you want to enjoy Him, He shall give you your desires. After all, …
Matthew 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.
As I said in the opening, I too used to struggle with studying the bible. I was less than unmotivated but these tips have changed the experience for me. All five of them but especially number five. I hope they will help you as well.
So much love,