Reading the Bible is so important to all Christians. You can read more about that by clicking the highlighted text here. Unfortunately, many believers are intimidated and feel inadequate to take the next step to study Scripture on their own.
I also hear that some people shy away from studying the Bible on their own because they don’t know which Bible version to use. The version you use is up to you and God. I say try a few online and compare the different versions. If you find one that resonates with you, use that version. Once you have your Bible picked out, you can begin to read, make notes in, and study it for yourself.
In this post here, I show you a basic approach to studying the Bible. Today, I would like to show you another method that takes things just a few steps further. It is handwriting the scriptures. Now, don’t freak out or shut down on me. What appeals to one will not appeal to another so I want to give you a few study methods to pick from. Just as with choosing a Bible version, try a few different study methods and see which is a fit for you.
“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV)
Although I have used many different Bible study methods, I consider this my “read to know, write to remember” method. This method brings to mind all those spelling words I had to write every week as a child. For me, just reading over the weekly spelling list wasn’t enough to remember them. And I want to do more than know God’s Word, I want to remember his word.
You can see an example of how I use this study method in my post, How to trust God when bad things happen.
Who Is This Type Of Study For?
Have you ever found yourself reading your Bible and 20 minutes after closing your Bible you can’t remember what you read? I know I have. I think we all do no matter where we are in our walk with Christ.
Whether you are a newer believer or a maturing Christian, anyone can do this Bible study method to remember God’s Word. I personally will revert back to this tried and true method when I find myself losing my joy or feeling stale.
Like all things of God, writing to remember is a simple process that will take as long as you allow it. I guarantee God will not get tired of you searching different Bibles or study methods. He wants us to ask him, seek him, and make the effort to knock. He even promises in this verse that if you do, you WILL receive.
“Ask, and it shall be given you. Seek, and ye shall find. Knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8 KJV)
Why Would I Take Time To Do This? I’m BUSY!
I get that, I really do. We are all busy. But we all make time for what is important to us and studying the Bible is critical for believers. How long you study (or how little) is between you and God and is nobodies business but yours.
The reasons I love and encourage you to try this particular method:
- It’s been proven that writing things down helps us to remember by focusing and clarifying our thoughts. It forces us to slow down our speed reading (or skimming).
- Writing the scriptures was done throughout the Old and New Testaments (Joshua, Ezekiel, Ezra, Paul, Luke and John to name a few). God gave us these examples for a reason.
- For thousands of years, the Kings of Isreal were required (Deuteronomy 17:18-20) to scribe (write) the Word. It was so important that the Kings were required to have their copy with them and read it daily so they couldn’t be tricked about the will of God.
- Writing out the Bible to study for yourself is a fantastic way to get the Word down deep in your heart by meditating on what God says.
“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” (Psalm 119:11 KJV)
- Satan will fight you on reading God’s Word and he certainly doesn’t want you to memorize it. He wants us ignorant so that he can manipulate us. We need to do as Jesus did and use the Word that is hidden in our heart to defeat Satan.
My Approach To This Study Method
1. I purchase plain notebooks that lay flat. I tend to fill up notebooks quickly or I would certainly use the fancier, beautifully bound journals.
2. My hand fatigues easily so I need something that takes little effort to use. For me, the answer has been gel pens. It’s natural for me to doodle as I think (which is why I fill up notebooks so quickly) and I love color so gel pens are an easy win.
3. I grab my Bibles. I use my NIV, a King James, and a New King James versions. My NIV Bible I’ve had over 26 years and I just can’t part with it. However, there are critical passages missing and I don’t trust just using this version without backup. For me, the King James is the authority but sometimes I have a foggy day and have trouble understanding what is being said. When that happens I use my new King James version then my NIV for clarity if needed. You don’t need to do this but it works for me.
4. I like to use dictionaries and a concordance as I study. If I don’t want to use hard copies that day, I pull up my favorite free online resources.
5. I set aside time to sit in my favorite spot and turn off all distractions. I give myself a set time to finish then sit back and get comfortable. Again, you don’t need to give yourself a set time to finish but if I do not, I tend to get caught up and lose all track of time.
6. I pray and ask Holy Spirit for his help and guidance. I ask him to clear my head, open my eyes to his word, my heart to his wisdom, and my ears to his voice. If I am feeling anxious to finish so I can go do something else, I ask him to calm me with his peace and bless me with his understanding.
7. I decide if I want to do a topical study (grace, fear, faith, peace, wisdom, love, etc….) or study one of the 66 books. In my case, I almost always choose to do a topical study without having a subject predetermined. Opening my Bible at random, I start reading and trust that whatever Holy Spirit will take me where he wants me to be. When a verse stands out to me, I will read it a few times. What is it saying? Is it addressing a particular issue? What about it is standing out to me?
8. I write that verse word-for-word in my notebook. If there is a word(s) that jumps out at me, I highlight it in some way.
9. I read that verse in my other Bibles. Once again, I write down any words that stand out to me.
10. As I write the passage, I ask myself the following questions:
- Who wrote this passage and why?
- Why was the sentence structured the way it was? To be clear, I do NOT sentence diagram. The only thing I hate worse than spiders and snow is sentence diagramming. But the way a sentence is worded might strike you as odd. That is what I look for. Again, you can see an example of how I do this in my prior post, How to trust God when bad things happen.
- What does each word mean? Just because I think I know what a word means doesn’t mean God’s definition is the same. For example, the world says love is one thing, God says love is something else entirely. If I look at it from the world’s eyes and not God’s I will miss it.
- Along those same lines, why was this word used and not that word? This isn’t nit-picky. Sometimes a small word choice will make a huge difference to a sentence meaning. Keep in mind that nothing is in the Bible by accident. God chose every single word in his Bible and he has a reason for everything.
- Is there another verse that comes to mind that might explain this verse? The Bible will always explain the Bible. The concordance helps in this area.
- How would God wants me to apply the verse to my life? Learning God’s Word doesn’t do us much good if we aren’t willing to apply it. There is a reason God has revealed the truth of his Word to you and it wasn’t so you would have busy work.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16 KJV)
11. I record any thoughts or impressions I have about the verse.
12. If I am scribing a book of the Bible, I will make myself go back and read the book from the beginning up to the spot I have stopped scribing. It helps me to put what I have read into context.
13. I end my study by thanking God for his Word, for all that he has chosen to reveal to me, and for helping me to apply what I read to my life. I claim the Word as my own, making it personal.
Keep It Simple
This study method is much simpler than I have made it seem. I have detailed my process but a lot of what I do happens as I am in the flow. For example, I don’t have a written list of the above questions or a strict procedure. As I look at a sentence or verse I simply pull it apart and put it back together. If you decide to try this method, you will develop your own questions and “markers” to look for.
What is your tried and true way to study scripture? Have you tried different ways? Which way is your favorite? A fresh revelation comes from making the effort to search in a new way so I encourage you to never stop asking, seeking, or knocking!