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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 2 Peter 1:21For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
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; Philippians 2:5 Philippians 2:5Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
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; John 6:63 John 6:63It is the spirit that vivifies; the flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak to you, they are spirit, and they are life.
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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 Ephesians 5:15-17 15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Why be you not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
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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 (Psalms 119:33-40 Psalms 119:33-40 33 Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes; and I shall keep it to the end. 34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep your law; yes, I shall observe it with my whole heart. 35 Make me to go in the path of your commandments; for therein do I delight. 36 Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to covetousness. 37 Turn away my eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken you me in your way. 38 Establish your word to your servant, who is devoted to your fear. 39 Turn away my reproach which I fear: for your judgments are good. 40 Behold, I have longed after your precepts: quicken me in your righteousness.
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; Proverbs 3:5-8 Proverbs 3:5-8 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not to your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths. 7 Be not wise in your own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. 8 It shall be health to your navel, and marrow to your bones.
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; Jeremiah 9:23-24 Jeremiah 9:23-24 23 Thus said the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: 24 But let him that glories glory in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD which exercise loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, said the LORD.
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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 Acts 17:11These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
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; Isaiah 8:20 Isaiah 8:20To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
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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 Jeremiah 10:23-24 23 O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walks to direct his steps. 24 O LORD, correct me, but with judgment; not in your anger, lest you bring me to nothing.
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; Isaiah 66:1-2 Isaiah 66:1-2 1 Thus said the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that you build to me? and where is the place of my rest? 2 For all those things has my hand made, and all those things have been, said the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at my word.
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; Isaiah 66:5 Isaiah 66:5Hear the word of the LORD, you that tremble at his word; Your brothers that hated you, that cast you out for my name’s sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.
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; Romans 8:6-9 Romans 8:6-9 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
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; Matthew 5:48 Matthew 5:48Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
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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 2 Peter 1:20Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
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; John 10:35 John 10:35If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;
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; John 17:17 John 17:17Sanctify them through your truth: your word is truth.
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; Isaiah 28:9-10 Isaiah 28:9-10 9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. 10 For precept must be on precept, precept on precept; line on line, line on line; here a little, and there a little:
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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 2 Timothy 2:15Study to show yourself approved to God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
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, 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 (Psalms 1:1-3 Psalms 1:1-3 1 Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law does he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.
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; Psalms 119:97-99 Psalms 119:97-99 97 O how I love your law! it is my meditation all the day. 98 You through your commandments have made me wiser than my enemies: for they are ever with me. 99 I have more understanding than all my teachers: for your testimonies are my meditation.
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; Psalms 139:17-18 Psalms 139:17-18 17 How precious also are your thoughts to me, O God! how great is the sum of them! 18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with you.
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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 Proverbs 11:14Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.
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; Nehemiah 8:8 Nehemiah 8:8So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.
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; Acts 8:30-31 Acts 8:30-31 30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understand you what you read? 31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
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; Acts 18:26 Acts 18:26And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him to them, and expounded to him the way of God more perfectly.
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; Romans 10:14-15 Romans 10:14-15 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
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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 1 John 3:22And whatever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
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; John 10:10 John 10:10The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
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; John 8:31-32 John 8:31-32 31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed; 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
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; Malachi 3:10 Malachi 3:10Bring you all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house, and prove me now herewith, said the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
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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 1 Thessalonians 5:21Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
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; 2 Timothy 3:13-15 2 Timothy 3:13-15 13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 14 But continue you in the things which you have learned and have been assured of, knowing of whom you have learned them; 15 And that from a child you have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
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; Colossians 1:22-23 Colossians 1:22-23 22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and blameless and unreproveable in his sight: 23 If you continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which you have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;
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; Psalms 119:10-16 Psalms 119:10-16 10 With my whole heart have I sought you: O let me not wander from your commandments. 11 Your word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against you. 12 Blessed are you, O LORD: teach me your statutes. 13 With my lips have I declared all the judgments of your mouth. 14 I have rejoiced in the way of your testimonies, as much as in all riches. 15 I will meditate in your precepts, and have respect to your ways. 16 I will delight myself in your statutes: I will not forget your word.
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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.

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