How can I have a successful Bible study?

Here are 14 steps to apply to your daily Bible study.

How can I have a successful Bible study?

1. Recognize that the Bible is inspired.

The entire Bible, both Old and New Testaments, is the inspired Word of God. During your Bible study, keep in mind that He inspired the words you are reading; God is directly speaking to you through them (2 Peter:1:21; Philippians 2:5; John:6:63).

2. Plan time for Bible study.

It's easy to let everyday concerns interfere, so schedule Bible study time and try to maintain it. Over time you will look forward to this daily experience (Ephesians:5:15-17).

3. Pray for understanding.

Before you even begin, ask God to guide and show you His will. Remember that it is the Creator who gives true understanding through His Word. You cannot gain it on your own (Psalm:119:33-40; Proverbs:3:5-8; Jeremiah:9:23-24).

4. Keep an open mind.

Be willing to admit when you are wrong and change, even if it means letting go of a long-held belief or tradition. If you can successfully apply this one principle, you will be far ahead in the race for spiritual truth (Acts:17:11; Isaiah:8:20).

5. Seek instruction and correction.

Approach the Bible study with a teachable, humble attitude. The Word of God judges our innermost thoughts. It can show us who we really are. It can reveal every flaw in our character. So be ready to heed its correction (Jeremiah:10:23-24; Isaiah:66:1-2; Isaiah:66:5; Romans:8:6-9; Matthew:5:48).

6. Let the Bible interpret itself.

If something seems confusing or even contradictory, let clear biblical passages shed light on those you find difficult to understand. Scriptures do not contradict each another; they complement each other. Also, to properly understand a verse in the Bible, don't force your personal point of view into it. Instead use the context and other relevant scriptures to find the correct meaning (2 Peter:1:20; John:10:35; John:17:17; Isaiah:28:9-10).

7. Bible Study topics.

Concentrate, at various times, on one subject, doctrine or book. Use a concordance or other Bible study aid to put together all the scriptures relevant to a subject. This will allow you to see all that God has to say about a particular topic (2 Timothy:2:15, KJV).

8. Read the whole Bible.

Go through the Bible from cover to cover. By reading every section of the Bible, you give yourself a broad familiarity and perspective that will help you shed preconceived ideas about doctrinal subjects.

9. Take notes.

Jot down notes and explanatory comments in your Bible or a notebook. This will help you remember key ideas or related scriptures. Some people use a marking system, with colors or symbols, to keep track of key verses by categories (doctrine, correction, prophecy, etc.). This can help you save time when looking for a particular section of Scripture.

10. Use Bible study aids.

Many Bible study aids are useful. They can provide valuable historical background or point you to other scriptures that add clarity to what you are reading. Aids include concordances, lexicons, dictionaries, maps and commentaries. However, always keep in mind that such resources are not Scripture and can be wrong.

11. Review and meditate.

Take time to ponder what you have been learning during your Bible Study. If something seems hard to understand, take some time to consider its meaning, using what you have already learned as the starting point. Reflect on what the Bible is saying and on how you can apply the verses in everyday life (Psalm:1:1-3; Psalm:119:97-99; Psalm:139:17-18).

12. Seek guidance.

It is always best to seek help from qualified people in any field of study. God has commissioned His servants to guide people into a fuller understanding of His Word. If you have questions, feel free to contact us. We have literature available on a wide variety of biblical subjects (Proverbs:11:14; Nehemiah:8:8; Acts:8:30-31; Acts:18:26; Romans:10:14-15).

13. Prove God right.

Put God's Word to the test by practicing the things you are learning. Acknowledge how His ways bring positive change in your life. The best way to determine that God's commands and teachings bring true peace and blessings is by living them (1 John:3:22; John:10:10; John:8:31-32; Malachi:3:10).

14. Hold fast.

Once you have proven something to be true, don't allow yourself to be lightly convinced out of it. While new evidence may overturn your previous conclusion, this must be the product of serious study in God's Word. And always beware, because false teachers can lead you astray. Ask God to help you remain true to His teachings (1 Thessalonians:5:21; 2 Timothy:3:13-15; Colossians:1:22-23; Psalm:119:10-16).

For more information, please read our Free Bible Study Course online or request a free physical copy, designed to help improve and guide you in your own personal studies.


Hermann's picture

Bible Study is very important.

I down loaded the complete Bible Study Course to help

Many preachers of many Churches like one to Study the Bible providing one does it within the idea that their doctrines are promoted ignoring the truth sometimes.

I am told by pastors to stop reading the Bible because I had to many Questions that make me wonder of their doctrines

Ivan Veller

Ivan Veller's picture

Hi Mr. Hermann,

It has been our longstanding tradition to teach that each individual member should, "In the words of the apostle Paul, 'Study earnestly to present yourself approved to God, a workman that does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth' (2 Timothy:2:15, Modern King James Version). 'Rightly dividing' can also be literally translated as 'cutting straight' (Analytical-Literal Translation). The idea is to keep right to the line—to adhere exactly to the Bible's teachings. The New American Standard Bible has 'accurately handling.' Again, that requires a lot of reading and study. The word 'workman' here implies considerable and careful effort" (UCG 2009, “Actively Read and Study the Bible.” From “How to Understand the Bible” booklet).

"As Christians, we are to test all things and then hold on only to that which is good—the truth—discarding all else. We are to be like the Bereans who 'searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so' (Acts:17:11)" (UCG, “Lesson 2: The Belt of Truth” bible study guide).

Staying close to God through studying His Word can help us "avoid becoming deceived" (Dullum 2009, “Be Not Deceived!”).

"The Church of God serves many important needs...[including being a] sanctuary for truth and justice...God's true Church is one of the few safe bulwarks against Satan's deception. While the Church doesn't have perfect knowledge and is not always free of mistakes, it continues to seek truth and understanding. Its members are encouraged to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter:3:18). Each individual needs to follow the examples of the Bereans (Acts:17:11) and Ephesians (Revelation:2:2) to test and determine..." (Berg, posted 2003, “Should You Attend Church?”).

May I recommend contacting one of our local pastors in your area: "We encourage everyone attending Sabbath services with us to bring a Bible..Members are encouraged to turn to and read for themselves the scriptures quoted. Many will take notes for later review. Instruction given in our worship services is not based on human philosophy or speculation but on the rich teachings of the Word of God and how we should apply them in all aspects of our lives" (UCG 2012, “Preparing a People.” From “This Is the United Church of God” booklet).


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