Hoping to get something from their time, millions of people read the Bible each year. Many seem not to get much out of their time. Learning how to make the most of your Bible study requires preparing well for, reading well during, and living well after your reading of Scripture.
Good preparation is vital in learning how to make the most of your Bible study. Choose a time that you can spend free from distracting influences. A time that works on a regular basis is usually best. Select a place that is properly lit, has suitable furniture, and increases the chances of your time being as uninterrupted as possible.
Gather appropriate tools for making good use of your time. Some means of taking notes both in your Bible and in some other format is very helpful. Minimally, a fine point pen and blank paper or note cards should be used. Keep a good English dictionary handy as well as Bible reference works such as a concordance, Bible dictionary, and atlas.
Spend time in prayer before beginning your time in Scripture. Ask God to bless you with illumination of His Word. Consider singing a hymn from time to time before opening your Bible. From time to time, also look back over your recent notes to see patterns in what God has been saying to you recently.
To learn how to make the most of your Bible study, give much attention to reading well. Reading aloud can be an excellent aid to getting greater understanding. Read thoughtfully and long enough for God to speak to you.
Pray for understanding while you study. Pray over things God shows you. Thank God for revealing Himself to you when He does. At least occasionally, pray specifically that God Himself would show you how to make the most of your Bible study.
Use Bible reference works during your reading to get the most of your time. Consult dictionaries for meanings of words that are unfamiliar and atlases for help with geographical references.
Record what God shows you from your study. Mark in your Bible key ideas that you see, especially cross references that help open your understanding of what you are reading. Take at least brief notes so that you can rehearse important insights later.
Think deeply about how what you read applies to life. Ask God to help you know what He wants you to do with what you have read.
Keep track of what you read so that you can monitor your progress through the Bible. Attempt to read the whole Bible through year after year.
Select at least from time to time something to memorize from what you read. Put that material on a note card or other resource that can be easily consulted throughout the day.
Finish your time in prayer. Thank God for what He has given you.
After finishing your time in Scripture, planning what you will do with what you have read is a key element in learning how to make the most of your Bible study. Too often, little attention is given to this vital matter of applying Scripture to your life. Apart from living well as a result of your reading, you will not profit from your time the way God intends.
Rehearsing at different points during the day what you read and memorized earlier is very helpful. A good way to do that is to share with others the things that God showed you that day. Discussing with family and friends how you intend to change your thinking and living will help you to do what God revealed to you that day. Family devotional times and group Bible studies are great settings to share and discuss your insights.
Making yourself accountable to a prayer partner for doing what God wants is another good way to make the most of your time in Scripture. Organizing your insights from Scripture in a way that allows you to access them in future times of reading the same passages will help you preserve the insights that God gave you. Using electronic study tools to organize your insights is a great way to learn how to make the most of your Bible study.
By giving careful thought to how you spend your time before, during, and after your times in Scripture, you will learn how to make the most of your Bible study!