Does the idea of sitting down to study your bible overwhelm you? Don’t worry, you are not alone in this. Sitting down to that huge book filled with things that are not always easily understood, can be extremely intimidating!
Today I am going to give you 10 tips to make studying your bible feel less overwhelming. As you dig deeper into the word, you will become more comfortable in this area, and God will reveal himself to you through His living Word.
Even if it seems overwhelming right now, keep at it; because the pay off is WELL worth it.
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1. Choose the right bible.
Studying the Word became a lot less intimidating once I found the right bible. There is no one right bible for everyone because we all have different likes and dislikes. For one, you may enjoy reading your bible digitally, and if you do; you will have access to all different versions and types of bibles all at once.
Personally, I like to sit down with my physical bible. Remember there is no one right way to study your bible, so find what works best for you. If you do prefer a digital bible be sure to download The Bible App. This app will give you access to all different versions of the bible, along with tons of devotionals. It is a great resource, and I often use it along with my physical bible.
If you are like me and prefer a physical bible this study bible absolutely changed the way I read the Word. I love how after I read a passage there is often an explanation or perspective from Joyce Meyer on what I just read. If the passage is confusing at first, it is great to get the perspective of someone else.
I will often go back and reread the passage for myself to see if I also see it that way, or if God wants to reveal something else to me from the passage. Study bibles are also great because they have a concordance in the back. These can be so helpful when studying the word. I will talk more about this in a tip below.
Again, this is the study bible I use and LOVE. If this one does not appeal to you, I have also heard GREAT things about this one. I plan to purchase this one in the near future. It has devotionals and reading plans built right into the bible as well as lots of other helpful study tools!
2. Set realistic goals.
If you are starting from zero, don’t set the goal of reading your bible for an hour a day. This is intimidating and will only leave you feeling like a failure when you can’t achieve it. Start Small!
There is no set standard of what is required as far as time is concerned. We are simply called to study and read the word. It doesn’t say, “you must read your bible for 10 hours a day”.
So to start out, set a realistic goal for yourself. Don’t go from zero to sixty only to be left feeling overwhelmed and then give up all together.
3. Schedule study time into your day.
I have learned that if I really want to make something a priority, I must set aside time in my day for it. First thing in the morning usually works best for me. I always feel it makes my entire day go better.
If first thing in the morning doesn’t work for you, find a time that does. Don’t become too legalistic about it. Just simply begin to make time in your day to talk with God and read His Word. It doesn’t have to be too rigid or structured.
God desires to have a relationship with us and I have found I feel closer to Him as I study and meditate on His word. You may go about building your relationship a different way, but I do believe His Word is a great place to start.
4. Pray before you begin.
Now that you have the right bible, have set a realistic goal for yourself, and have chosen a time you can be consistent with; you are ready to dig in! But, wait! Before you dig in, take a second to pray. Before I open my bible I take a quick second to say, “Jesus thank you for this time with you. Please guide me to read what you would have me to read today. Open my eyes to see what you would have me to see”.
Don’t become overwhelmed by this big book sitting in front of you. It is filled with life changing truths, and it is literally the living Word of God. This means that God can reveal things to you through it. He can send you to just the right passage, at just the right time. Believe this as you sit down with Him each morning or any other time you set aside.
Believe that He is with you guiding you on what He would have you to read and discover for that day. This time is special and important, and He doesn’t ask us to do anything He will not bless us by doing. He will literally speak to you through His living word.
5. Start Small
Like I said before, sitting down in front of this huge book can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Start with reading one verse a day or one chapter a day. If the first verse you read doesn’t resonate with you try another one.
Don’t get stuck within rules as you read. Allow God to guide you to what He would have you to see. If you don’t feel like this is happening for you, don’t get discouraged. Keep pressing forward and continue to make this time a priority, and God will show up for you.
If you can’t even begin to fathom where to start, I suggest starting in Proverbs. There are 31 chapters in proverbs, so you can read a Proverb a day. Proverbs is full of biblical truths we can apply to our lives.
Whatever the date is read the Proverb for that day. For example, if it is the 3rd of January, read chapter 3 in Proverbs. This allows you to never feel behind or overwhelmed if you miss a day.
If a chapter a day feels too overwhelming as you begin, start with a verse a day. No start is too small, the important thing is that you are starting somewhere, and your desire to read the Word will continue to grow as you make it more of a priority in your life.
6. Consider incorporating a daily devotional.
I use this one. I usually begin my study time by reading the devotion of the day. This helps set my heart and mind in the right place. I will often look up the verse from the devotion and spend some time studying it and reading the rest of the chapter if necessary.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, this is a great way to get started. The verse from the devotion can guide you to a scripture for the day. If you are using a study bible, once you look the scripture up, you will possibly find a deeper explanation of the scripture and maybe even more scriptures to reference.
Depending on the amount of time you have set aside you can spend time looking up and studying those scriptures. Before you know it, you’ve found 5-10 scriptures pertaining to your situation, and you are filling your mind with the word of God.
7. Choose a word to study.
For example, if you are struggling with overcoming fear or experiencing joy in your life, look up scriptures pertaining to that word. If you are using a study bible, there is probably a concordance in the back with words and scriptures that pertain to them.
You might want to spend an entire week focusing on one word or maybe longer depending on how much time you are able to commit. This is a powerful way to dive into the word!
8. Chose a book to study.
Trying to sit down and study the entire bible can feel very intimidating. But, sitting down to study one book with 20 chapters or so is not so intimidating. Pray about a book God might want you to spend some time reading.
Each day when you get up for your study time, go to that book of the bible and read it. Maybe focus on a chapter a day for the next month or so. If you are reading from a study bible, there will also be excerpts along the way to help guide you. Before you know it, you will have read and understood your first book of the bible.
9. Start with the New Testament.
Did you know about 75% of the bible is the Old Testament? That only leaves about 25% of the bible for the New Testament. You can pretty easily read the entire New Testament in a few months. Reading an entire section of the bible is a big accomplishment and will help you have a much greater understanding of the word.
The New Testament can also often be more easily understood and will not leave you feeling discouraged if you are struggling to understand what you are reading. Don’t feel as though you have to race to the finish or be stuck in a reading plan if it stops working for you.
Take your time reading and understanding as you read. And if you find that you set out to read the entire New Testament but are suddenly feeling led to read Psalm or maybe another book; don’t feel trapped in your reading plan. Follow your heart and God’s prompting as you read your bible, and you are sure to get a lot out of it!
10. Start at the beginning.
To be completely honest, this approach has never worked for me. It is just not my personality and feels way too overwhelming, but I know plenty of systematic people (my husband ) that this has worked extremely well for.
If the tips above seem way too sporadic, just go with the tried and true start from the beginning approach. It doesn’t have to be a rat race to the finish. You can take your time and absorb each chapter and book as you read.
The main thing is just to start somewhere! Pray and ask God where he would have you to start. He may encourage you to start from the beginning, he may encourage you to start in the New Testament. There is no wrong way to read your bible. Just begin to make it a priority, and He will guide you!