Whether you’re a brand-new Christian or you’ve been a Christian for several years, Bible study is so important. But it’s so easy to get overwhelmed with the number of resources and tools out there designed to help you study God’s Word. I’m a back-to-the-basics kinda girl, and I prefer studying the Word by itself to reading through a devotional. Reading books by Christian authors designed to help you grow in your faith is super valuable, but it still doesn’t replace time spent in God’s Word.
Today I’d like to share some of my favourite Bible study tools with you, as well as some tips to help you get more out of your quiet time!
1. My Bible.
I thought I’d start with the obvious: the actual Bible. Personally, I love my Thinline ESV Bible. I like the ESV version because it’s a word-for-word translation, rather than a phrase-for-phrase translation. The language they use is also great—it’s not too hard or too easy to understand.
Although it doesn’t matter what translation of Bible you use, it is important to use one you can understand and apply to your life. If you love the NKJV, stick with that! If you have an easier time understanding the NLT version, use it! Neither is wrong or right—as long as you’re understanding it, use whichever version you feel most comfortable with.
2. Coloured highlighters.
As I read through a Bible passage, I like to highlight. I use three different highlighters. I colour-code as I go to make it easier to find verses by topic. Yellow is basically anything that is important or spoke to me, pink is anything to do with God’s promises to me, and blue is for verses about God’s love for me (SO important to remember!). Although there are several different kinds of highlighters for Bibles, my favourite are these gel ones. 😊
If I want to make notes in the margins of my Bible, I use a pencil (I have commitment issues to using ink in my Bible…)
3. A notebook.
I’m a journal-er. If I’m not writing down notes, verses that stuck out to me, or general thoughts, I feel like nothing I studied has really sunk in. Writing down what I’ve learned is a great way for me to reflect on the passage. In my notebook, I write down:
- the date
- what Scripture I’m studying
- verses that stood out to me and why
- prayer requests/notes
- any other thoughts
Now, I do want to say this…journalling is not for everyone. Writing stuff down may not work for some people, and that’s okay! If having a prayer journal or notebook doesn’t help you retain God’s Word, don’t pressure yourself to do it. Bible study is about learning God’s Word and applying it to your life, not doing what everyone else seems to be doing.
4. Coloured pens.
Because I like to journal as I study the Word, I like to have pretty pens. I bought a package of multi-coloured Sharpie pens, and I love using them! I use different colours for headings, dates, and passages as I journal. Of course, plain ink works just as well. For a couple years I only used pencil, and the quality of my quiet time didn’t suffer at all. 😊
5. My phone.
I know, I know…major distraction potential. But I can justify this. I promise.
I use my phone for a couple different things when I have my quiet time. The very first thing I do is put my phone on silent/do not disturb, and I place it face-down. This means that I won’t even be tempted to check what my friend just texted me, or who just commented on my Instagram photo. When I can’t see or hear my phone going off, I can focus on God. Satan will use every distraction to pull us from time in the Word, and I try to prevent that as much as possible.
Then I use my phone for two things: worship and study. I play worship music (softly!) on my phone in the background as I have my quiet time. But I have to be a little careful with my music choices. I love music, and sometimes my favourite jams end up being more distracting. No, Emily, now is not the time for a private dance party. I made up a worship music playlist on my phone, packed full of Hillsong, Bethel, and Chris Tomlin.
I also use my phone for different Bible studies. Currently, I’m working through IF:Equip’s Joshua study. Sometimes I used She Reads Truth as well. I love both of these communities and the study resources they provide!
Part of following IF:Equip’s study is the journalling aspect of my quiet time as well. For each passage you study, they suggest you journal three questions: 1) What does this mean about God? 2) What does this mean about me? and 3) What does this mean about the world? These questions help me to take what I just learned and apply it to God, myself, and the world around me. I use these questions even when I’m not doing my scheduled Bible study; they apply to any passage, which I love!
If you’re not into journalling, I would still encourage you to check out IF:Equip! They also have brief video discussions for each study, as well as a question of the day and a comment/discussion forum.
I hope you’ve enjoyed a glimpse into my Bible study time!
How do you study the Bible? What’s your favourite way to learn God’s Word?