Bible Study: The Practical Stuff


I know from experience that personal Bible study is hard. It takes practice and a little bit of learning to really get a Bible study system that works for you. Today I just want to share with a few ideas that have helped me study my Bible more effectively. These are just my opinions, but I hope they give you some new ideas to help ramp up your own study system.

The Tools
Now the only thing necessary for Bible study is a Bible of course, but I have found several extra things that help me get the most out of my time. 

1. My journal- I don't write in my journal everyday, but I often take to journaling if I'm particularly tired or stressed. It helps me focus my prayers and get my thoughts in order. I often find that I can pray better after I spend a little time pouring my heart out to God on paper. It also helps me to go back and read past entries, reminding myself how God has answered prayers in the past. 

3. Bible Study Books- I love Bible study books. I really enjoy having a guide to help me study and focus my attention on a particular topic. However, I don't rely solely on these study books for my Bible reading. I would say about half the time I use a Bible study book, and the rest I just read a few chapters in whatever book of the Bible I'm working through. I just find that most Bible study books spend more time telling me what the author thinks rather than really getting me into the Word. 

2. Ipod- I use my Ipod a lot during Bible study for two reasons. My Bible app and my Bible reading schedule app. I use the Blue Letter Bible app and like it well enough. My husband neatly showed me how to look up specific words in the original language to get a better understanding of the meaning. I can also use the version comparison feature to see how other translators interpreted a particularly difficult passage.  The Bible Reading Schedule app allows me to mark off chapters as I read them and keep up with what books I've read. I like being able to keep track of my progress through the Bible and set goals for myself. 

4. Notecards, Pen, and a Highligher- I couldn't study my Bible without notecards, a pen, and my Bible highlighter.  I really think they are at the heart of my quiet time. When I find a verse or passage that jumps out at me I write it down! It can be something encouraging, something convicting, or just something interesting to me, either way I write it down! You'll find these notecards with verses all over my house, and I love them! I like to tape them to my kitchen cabinets, carry a stack in my purse, and keep a stack in my Bible. Some of these verses become very special to me, others I end up throwing away. Either way, these notecards are my visible reminder of what I've read and learned in my quiet time.

The Schedule
5. Pick a Good Time of Day- I find the best time to study my Bible is mid-morning when Rooster is taking his morning nap. For me this is the most precious time of the day because it's one of the few hours of "free time" I have. During this time I can focus my attention wholly on my quiet time. That said, whenever you find time in your day to study the Word of God is good. All of our schedules are so different, it's important to find something that works for you. Pray unceasingly, and read your Bible whenever you can!

I took this during my quiet time when we went camping!
If only I could  study my Bible outside all the time!

6. Reading and Praying- I often start my Bible study by jumping into the Word of God. I need to read to help focus my mind and put away any distractions. I find that I can pray better after I've let God speak to me. I know some people who like to pray before they read, but if I try to talk to God first I usually end up day dreaming or complaining!  I think the important thing is to remember that quiet time is a conversation between you and God. It's important that you both get a chance to speak and listen.

7. How Long?- My quiet time is usually about 30 mins long with most of that being reading or doing Bible study books. Toward the end I will often pray or just think about what God is saying to me. My prayers during this time are often short and specific to what I'm studying. I find other time during the day to pray for special concerns or prayer request. I like to make my quiet time more about what God is saying to me than any agenda I may bring before God. Again, this is just my personal preference.

The Trick to Success
8. Have a plan- I find it useful to have a plan when it comes to Bible study; however, I try not to get to bogged down in the details. If I plan to read 2 chapters and haven't found a verse that sticks out to me, I'll keep reading. If I complete one page of my Bible study book and am blown away by some new idea, I'll stop and let those ideas sink in for a while. I constantly have to remind myself that Bible study isn't just something to check off my to-do list! However having a plan definitely makes me feel more confident in what I'm doing and where I'm trying to go.

It also helps to keep everything you need in one place!

9. Start Small- This is my husband's advice. I tend to go over the top when I get into a project, and it's helpful to be reminded that sometimes it's best to keep things simple. Don't feel like you have to devote hours to Bible study each day. Start with 10 mins and work your way up until you find a good balance. Don't get overwhelmed with study helps or memorizing until scripture until you're ready. These things are good, but not necessary for growth.

10. Be Persistent-  The best advice I can offer someone wanting to study scripture is to be persistent! Study the Bible requires time and practice. You are going to have rough days when you don't understand anything, you are in a bad mood, and you just can't wait to be finished! You are also going to have days when you crawl into bed at night and suddenly remember you haven't thought about your Bible all day! These things happen, just remember that the Lord's mercies are new every morning, so don't worry about it.  Just keep going! Eventually you'll get somewhere :)

Linked up at The Better Mom and Top Ten Tuesday.

How about you? What does your quiet time look like each day? Any tips or tricks you want to share?


  1. What a great post! I love quiet times and this post will help me amplify my time with God!

    I agree with you Katherine, I love the mornings, having a journal, a pen and my Bible to just dig in and see what there is to learn. Oh and plus a big cup of coffee is another favorite study tool :) Thanks for the tips!

    Carly @

  2. What a wonderful post about spending time with the Lord. Number 6 really resonated with me- as I tend to "mind wander" as well if I don't focus in on His word first. And this kind of freed me with prayer times. I do feel sort of sheepish coming to go with this long list of things each morning. I like the idea of prayer throughout the day and making that more of a priority. I do believe that other things such as scripture memorization and other books/studying in general on His word does produce growth for sure, although the basic spending time with Him is the necessary foundation for growth period. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this and thank you for linking up!

    Nicole at Working Kansas Homemaker

  3. Love it! I read through whatever book of the Bible I'm studying, highlighting, making notes and underlining as I go. Then I read a devotional book. I note any thing that I want to go into further in a notebook. That way I don't get sidetracked looking up certain scriptures or writing a blog post about what I am learning before I finish my time with God.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. Thanks Katherine-I do very similar things in my time with God. My journal is extremely important to me during this time. I HAVE to write down my thoughts, a prayer to God, prayer requests, thoughts, reflections on what I've read, etc. Wonderful post :)

  6. Wonderful post Katherine. I've been struggling lately with my quiet time with the Lord. This list is great to help me get back on track.

  7. Wonderful post. Thanks for sharing.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...