How To Study the Bible

God Himself tells us how to study the Bible.  In His own words written in the Bible itself God instructs us.  It just makes sense that the best source for guidance on this subject is the ultimate authority.  Of course there are some great resources and guides for study but none are better than the Bible.

The Secret Weapon to Bible Study

Did you know you have a secret weapon to help you learn how to study the  Bible?  All those who are born again Christ followers have been given the ability to know and understand the Bible.  This ability is not anything that is derived or obtained by human action.  

God's Holy Spirit is provided to all who born again.  The Bible tells us that God's Holy Spirit lives within men, women, and children when they are born again (John 7:39; 16:7; Acts 2:33; Galatians 3:1-4).  

The importance of this is that the born again Bible student begins with revelation not reason when he studies the Bible.  The Bible tells us that the unbeliever or someone without the Holy Spirit, can't really understand the Bible (I Corinthians 2:14).

I Corinthians 2:14

The Holy Spirit is a Teacher and Revealer

In the Gospel of John, Jesus told his disciples before He left them that God would provide the Holy Spirit to them after He left them.  But Jesus also told them that the Holy Spirit would teach them all things (John 14:26).  Later Jesus explained that the Holy Spirit would guide or teach them in all truth (John 16:13).

The Apostle John explains in I John 2:27 that the Holy Spirit remains in you after you're a born again believer and teaches you about all things.

The Apostle Paul explained in his first letter to the Corinthians that God reveals the deep truths about Himself to believers by Holy Spirit.  He also explains that those without the Holy Spirit can't understand the mystery and wisdom of God  (1 Co 2:14).

Do You Have the Teacher?

So before you study the Bible, you should first be born again.  Have you been born again?  If not, click here to learn how you can receive God's Holy Spirit. 

How to Study the Bible with Power

When Christ followers sit down to eat we always, almost religiously, pray for our food.  We need to have a relentless habit to also pray before we study the Bible.  We should pray before we study, as we are studying and after we have studied so that God's Holy Spirit can empower us to understand and learn spiritually.  

Before we even open our Bibles, we should ask God to teach us, through His Holy Spirit living inside of us, how to study the Bible.  God wants us to study His Holy Word.  He wants you to know Him and He wants you to understand Him.  Before you pursue this Bible study any further, please stop now and ask God to show you what He would have you know and learn today.

How to Study the Bible (According to the Bible)

Let's look at the words "teach me" from Psalm 119

Psalm 119 is not only a celebration of God's Word, it's also an instruction book for our study of the Bible.  Consider the following verses from the Holman Christian Standard Bible translation:

  • Verse 12:  Lord, may You be praised; teach me Your statutes.
  • Verse 26:  I told You about my life, and You listened to me; teach me Your statutes.
  • Verse 33:  Teach me, Lord, the meaning of Your statutes, and I will always keep them.
  • Verse 64:  Lord, the earth is filled with Your faithful love; teach me Your statutes.
  • Verse 66:  Teach me good judgment and discernment, for I rely on Your commands. 
  • Verse 68:  You are good, and You do what is good; teach me Your statutes. 
  • Verse 108:  Lord, please accept my willing offerings of praise, and teach me Your judgments.
  • Verse 124:  Deal with Your servant based on Your faithful love; teach me Your statutes. 
  • Verse 135:  Show favor to Your servant, and teach me Your statutes.
  • Verse 171:  My lips pour out praise, for You teach me Your statutes.

The words teach me are from the Hebrew word lamad which means "to impart skills or knowledge to."  The verb is imperative which means in these ten verses the psalmist is basically pleading with God to teach him.  He asks God to teach him His statues - which is simply another word for laws.

If we wish to learn how to study the Bible we must do exactly that - plead with God to teach us as we study.  

Ask God for Wisdom

Before We Study

God is aware of our sin.  We should confess them to Him before we study the Bible and He will hear us (verse 12).

We should recognize that God is good and that He loves us faithfully and wants us to learn from Him (verses 64, 68, and 124).

We should willingly praise Him and ask for His favor before we study (verses 108 and 135).

Prayerfully ask God for wisdom.  Consider a prayer similar to the prayer in the graphic on this page taken from Proverbs Chapter 2.  

Because God is the only true source of wisdom, if we are to learn how to study the Bible, we must first acknowledge this and seek His favor. 

After We Study

We should endeavor to always obey and apply the biblical principles from God's Word to our lives (verse 33).

We should pray for God to teach us good judgement and discernment that we can always rely on (verse 66). 

We should praise Him joyfully after His revelation to us (verse 171).  

When we are taught by God Himself through His revelation to the Holy Spirit living inside us we will naturally praise Him.  Discipline yourself to practice prayer and praise as you learn how to study the Bible.  

Now let's look at the word "understanding" from Psalm 119

  • Verse 27:  Help me understand the meaning of Your precepts so that I can meditate on Your wonders.
  • Verse 32:  I pursue the way of Your commands, for You broaden my understanding.
  • Verse 34: Help me understand Your instruction, and I will obey it  and follow it with all my heart.
  • Verse 73:  Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding so that I can learn Your commands. 
  • Verse 100:  I understand more than the elders because I obey Your precepts.
  • Verse 104:  I gain understanding  from Your precepts; therefore I hate every false way.
  • Verse 125:  I am Your servant; give me understanding so that I may know Your decrees. 
  • Verse 130:  The revelation of Your words brings light and gives understanding to the inexperienced. 
  • Verse 144:  Your decrees are righteous forever. Give me understanding, and I will live. 
  • Verse 169: Let my cry reach You, Lord; give me understanding according to Your word.

When we study the Bible our understanding is provided by God.  Once we understand God's Word, it allows us the privilege of meditating on it (verse 27). It is only God, as our creator, who is able to allow us to understand His holy word (verses 32, 73, and 169).   

When we understand the Word of God, we will hate every false way (verse 104) and we will follow and obey God (verse 34).  Understanding the Bible makes us wise beyond our years (verses 100 and 130); however, understanding is only provided to the humble in heart (verse 125).

Understanding the commands of the Bible provides us life (verse 144); in fact, the Bible tells us in John 17:3 that to know God and His Son Jesus Christ is eternal life.  

Other resources to help you learn how to study the Bible

While the best resource any person can ever have is the Holy Spirit, there are many other great resources for you to study the Bible.  While we highly recommend you recognize and repeatedly use your secret weapon, we also encourage you to build a library of references to help you study the Bible.  

We also encourage you to regularly attend a local church that faithfully and accurately preaches the Word of God so that you can learn and grow.

Sources Used in this Bible Study Included:

  • The Holy Bible: Holman Christian Standard Version. Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 2009.
  • Logos Bible Software, Logos Research Systems Inc. Faith Life Corporation, Bellingham, Washington.

We pray this lesson helps you learn how to study the Bible.