How I Study the Bible: Step by Step

Christian Life & Theology

Last week I shared a little glimpse of my bible study routine on Uniquely Woman. But if you’re like me, sometimes you need to see it in writing! My bible study routine has changed over the years. As I shared in this post, worship doesn’t look the same as it did when I was a single, working professional – or even when I was first married.

We need to lose the idea that time with God requires a candle and coffee to be successful. And in my stage of life, “quiet time” isn’t all that quiet! With a toddler and a newborn, my bible study is sometimes broken up over the course of the day. Usually, the first stage of it takes place while I eat breakfast, with Adeline (two years old) sitting at my elbow with a sippy cup.

Despite how my routine has changed, the basic structure is still the same. In today’s post I’ll share what I do, my recommended resources, and a glimpse of my newest Bible – a beautiful Christian Standard from She Reads Truth! You may have seen this bible on social media – it’s one of the most beautiful currently on the market, but more importantly, it’s easy to use and contains dozens of thoughtful devotionals and bible reading guides.

Want a copy? Don’t miss the giveaway at the end of this post!

I was given this Bible to review for B&H Publishing by FrontGate Media. While I was given the Bible for free, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

My Bible Study Method

Read the Passage

First, I read through the passage slowly, taking in the big picture. If I’m not reading in Psalms – where each chapter contains mostly independent thoughts – I try to read the preceding few paragraphs and a few paragraphs after my passage so I get more context to what’s going on. When I read the bible chronologically (which I did in 2016 and plan to do again in 2018), this is a nice review of what I read the day before.

Read the Passage Aloud

Next, I read the passage aloud. This helps cement the thoughts in my mind, and hearing them through my ears as well as in my head helps me catch some of the nuance of the passage. I also use a trick I learned when getting my religion degree: For verses I particularly want to concentrate on, I stress a different word each time I read the verse. E.g: “I WILL rejoice in the Lord my God.”; “I will REJOICE in the Lord my God.”; “I will rejoice in the LORD my God.”

Highlight God’s Name

I have a pattern of highlighting I use when reading Scripture (check out Kay Arthur’s book on bible study to learn more about this; resources linked below). I always highlight the names of God or Jesus in pink, so when I look at a passage I can immediately see where He is mentioned. The bible is a book about God, so I start by concentrating on His name first. I can then more easily locate attributes and actions specific to Him.

Highlight Key Words and Phrases

After highlighting God’s name, I look for key words in the passage. It helps to know the general theme of the passage you’re studying; for example, 1 John talks a LOT about love, both for God and for others, and the love God has for us. I use blue for keywords, so I highlight all mentions of “love” in blue.

I also highlight repetitive phrases, parallels between verses, comparisons, and if/then statements. All of these point to the author’s intent and help me grasp the heart of the passage.

Write Notes

Both my HCSB notetaker’s Bible and the She Reads Truth bible have ample room for notes in the margins. This is important to me, as I often write out my thoughts, references to other passages, sermon notes, and relevant experiences (with the date) in my bible. In many ways my bibles serve as diaries of what I was going through in certain seasons.

I try to keep my notes succinct so I can return again and again to the same passages and continue to write in the margins. I keep a notebook for more longform notes and prayers.

Ask, “What do I learn about God in this passage?”

We often read our bibles asking, “What does this say about me? How should I act? Who am I?” But as Jen Wilkin says – the Bible is a book about God. Only by seeing it in this context do we understand who HE is and therefore understand who WE are (this is extremely important for spiritual maturity, as I talk about in this post).

By asking myself, “What do I learn about God?” in each passage, I keep the focus in the right place.


Last but not least, I ask God to open my eyes to His Word and how to live in the light of it each day. I do this at the beginning, but it’s also good to do this at the end. I don’t ask “How can I apply this?” but “How can I live in light of this?” When we seek to immediately apply something we’ve read, we tend to miss the depth of what is being taught. But by living in a spirit of teachability and humility, God teaches us how apply His Word – we don’t have to do it on our own strength.

Supplement with a Devotional

Once I’ve studied the bible passage in depth, I like to conclude with a devotional. I don’t lead with this because I want to have an objective approach to Scripture, but by concluding with someone else’s thoughts on the Word I get a new perspective. Devotionals come in many different forms, but a great one if you’re just starting out (or need a great gift idea for a girl in your life!) is the 365 day devotional Adored. This devotional is for ages 13 and up, and discusses real life issues in light of God’s Word. It’s a perfect pairing with the She Reads Truth bible I mentioned above, and due to its versatility would be great for the teenage girls in your life and church.

Check it out here!

The Best Bible Study Resources

Some of my favorite resources, both from my days studying the bible academically and my current routine, are as follows. (These are affiliate links, which means if you buy a book through my Amazon link I get a small commission at no extra cost to you.)

Now for the Giveaway: To enter for a chance to win one of SEVEN She Reads Truth bibles, head over to this page and enter your information!

Bible study is the means by which God reveals Himself to us. But we must remember that making a study of anything is never easy! Don’t expect this to be easy – the first time, or years down the road. Expect it to be a continual discipline. You may not feel like doing it, but by doing it anyway, you will see fruit.

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