What does your personal Bible study look like? We’re all different. Some of us are wired to get a thrill out of details, and some of us are big-picture people. Some of us love history, some of us love theology, others get really into prophecy, and still others love to get lost in a good story. It doesn’t really matter which one you are, though, we all need some in-depth Bible study in our lives!
I’ve found, though, that there are a whole lot of us out there who greatly desire a deeper, more personal relationship with God, but just aren’t sure where, let alone how to start. We know in-depth Bible study is an essential part of developing a deeper relationship with God, but find ourselves too intimidated to get started.
So in this post we’re going to lay out some really practical steps for anyone looking to get started with in-depth Bible study.
Developing a Deeper Relationship with God
Life has a way of sucking us dry and leaving us empty! Often times, we look to the people we love to help us fill back up, only to find those relationships end up draining us even further. That’s why developing a deeper relationship with God is SO important!
The Bible describes Him as a fountain of living water. (Jeremiah 2:13, Jeremiah 17:13) He fills us up in a way nothing else, and no one else can! At His Dearly Loved Daughter Ministries, we’re committed to making Bible study a priority so we can get to know God, our healer, on a more intimate level. You can find lots of posts and resources to help you on our Bible Study page here.
So if developing a deeper relationship with God is something you’re looking for, there is no better place to start than by opening His love-letter to you, and spending time every single day allowing those life-giving words to sink into all the dark and empty places of your heart and breathe in new life!
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Devotional vs In-Depth Bible Study
When we talk about in-depth Bible study, we don’t mean reading devotionals. Devotionals are great, and they can be helpful tools in seasons where we need a little extra help, but they should never replace personal Bible study time.
Think about it, listening to a podcast on marriage, one where you get to hear another couple talk through an issue, can be helpful to your own marriage. But it would never be acceptable to replace your own communication within your marriage with listening to another couple’s conversations!
That’s sort of what a devotional is, another person sharing his or her conversation with God. And we can learn a lot from them! But it should never replace our own conversations with God. And THAT is what in-depth Bible study is. Our own conversations with God.
The Holy Spirit as a Guide in In-Depth Bible Study
The thing is, so many of us feel like we need another person’s voice to help us when we’re studying the Bible. We don’t have the confidence to just dive in for ourselves.
But friends, I’m here to encourage you. If you are a born again believer, then you have the Holy Spirit of God living in you and He is all you need to understand the Bible. Ask Him for wisdom. Ask Him for understanding. The Bible promises that He’ll give it. Then, dig in! Read it! You will never, ever regret it! I promise you!
4 Bible Study Tips for In-Depth Bible Study
Still not sure where to start? No worries. Here are some practical steps you can take to start studying the Bible for yourself today!
1. Have a Plan
Like any other relationship, developing a deeper relationship with God requires intention. We can’t expect it to just happen. We have to work for it, and things always go better when we have a plan.
One really helpful resource I’ve found to aid in developing your plan comes from Arabah Joy. She has a whole tool kit she’s put together to help organize your in-depth Bible study. It’s called the Love the Word Bible Study Binder. Check it out at this link.
Basically, what I’m saying is, don’t just sit down and open your Bible every day and start reading wherever you land. There are times when doing that can be really beneficial, but it’s not a great way to make a regular Bible-study habit.
Instead, I suggest finding a plan that you can work through. There are so many different ways to approach this, but here are a few options you might choose from:
1. Study a Book of the Bible
This can be a great way to get started with in-depth Bible study if you’re not quite ready to jump into a full read through of the whole Bible, or even the New Testament. If you want, you can just pick a book of the Bible, and dig in, working your way through it and letting the Spirit lead.
Or, if you want a little help getting started, there are SO many great Bible studies out there that will help you work through a book of the the Bible. Here are several from some of my favorite Bible study teachers:
2. Find a Read-Through the Bible Plan
A book study is great, but at some point in your life (hopefully way more than just once) you really need to read through the whole Bible. Every single word! Because it is all inspired, and useful!
2 Timothy 3:16-17 – All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work.
There are also chronological plans that take you through the Bible in chronological order. Reading it this way is really beneficial to do at least once in your life to get a good feel for how the whole timeline fits together.
Some plans cover just the New Testament, or just the Old Testament, and some plans take you straight through the whole Bible from Genesis through Revelation. That’s how I read the Bible for a lot of years, and it was good…. but when I found The One Year Bible, I never went back. This plan includes a few chapters from the Old Testament, (starting in Genesis and going through Malachi, minus Psalms and Proverbs) a chapter or two from the New Testament, (starting in Matthew and going through Revelation) a Psalm, and a verse or two from Proverbs each day.
What I love about it is that when I’m working my way through some of the more difficult parts of the Bible like the second half of Exodus, or the 40 some chapters of Ezekiel, I get to read something else too. It’s a great plan, and at the end of the year you will have read the WHOLE BIBLE! What could possibly be better than that?
3. Do A Topical Bible Study or Word Study
Topical Bible studies and word studies are also great ways to do in-depth Bible study.
Topical studies are exactly what they sound like: you pick a topic, and then dig into Scripture to find out what the Bible has to say on the issue. Once again, you can do this on your own, or you can use a study put together by one of the amazing Bible study teachers out there. Here are a few topical Bible studies I highly recommend:
While there are great topical Bible studies out there, a word study is probably something you’re going to want to do on your own, and they can be SO fun! They’re a little like a topical study, in that you’re digging into Scripture to see what it has to say on one specific thing.
But where a topical study covers a broader idea, a word study is literally seeing how one word is used in the Bible. Word studies can lead you down some amazing paths to discover what God has to say to you on an issue!
Just choose a word, maybe “love,” or “church” and then put that word into the search box in your Bible app, or on a website like biblegateway.com It will show you every instance of that word in the Bible. Then just start to work your way through the list, and see where God takes you!
2. Be Consistent
Find a time that works for you and read at the same time every single day. Don’t skip the weekend. The more consistent you can be, the more likely it will be that you form a habit and it lasts. Forever!
3. Be Realistic, and Take Small Steps
If you’ve never consistently read your Bible before, don’t start out thinking you’re going to spend an hour in the Word every day. It’s not realistic, and it won’t last. You’re setting yourself up for failure.
Start small. The plans I’ve recommended are all conducive to spending between 15 minutes to half an hour in Bible study each day. Start there. Once you’ve been successful at making that a habit for three to six months, add more time, or deeper study.
Choose a time that’s going to work for you. For years I tried to read my Bible first thing in the morning because, for some reason, I thought that’s what I was “supposed” to do. The problem was, I’m a night person, and my brain is just totally numb in the mornings. I found it very difficult to be consistent, and even when I was I got very little out of the time. I found myself re-reading the same passages over and over and not being able to get my brain to process it.
When I finally decided to stop worrying about what I was “supposed” to do, and just work with who God designed me to be, things got a lot better! Now I read at night just before I go to bed. My mind is sharp, the house is quiet, and it’s a time that exists every single day. (No matter where I am or what I have going on – I always go to bed! So there’s always the 30 minutes before I go to bed.) It just works for me. And I LOVE my special time with God! Find what works for you!
The point is, be realistic. Set manageable, bite-sized goals and just move forward one step at a time.
4. Use the Resources and Tools Available to Help You.
There are so many tools and resources available for us as we study the Bible! Use them!
- Check out this book from Arabah Joy that will teach you seven different ways to do in-depth Bible study. Chances are you’ll find a method that works for you!
- Go to the app store on your phone and download a few of the MANY apps available to help you. My #1 recommendation, as I’ve already said is The Bible App by YouVersion.
- Do a quick google search for “verses about….” whatever topic you’re looking to study and just follow the trail of verses through the Bible to see what God teaches you.
- If journaling is your thing, go to Pinterest and type “Bible journaling” into the search bar. There are tons of bloggers out there to inspire you!
Whatever you decide to do – just do something! Friends, this is the most important thing you can do after salvation to guarantee a life of victory! God has given us a treasure more precious than anything. His very own Word! Let’s spend our lives devouring it!
YOU CAN DO THIS!!!!
*What have you learned that has helped you get started with in-depth Bible study? How has developing a deeper relationship with God become important to you as you’ve studied the Bible?