Wondering how to get started studying the Bible? There’s no one right way. You can jump in anywhere. But here are a few suggestions to get you moving.
Read a good book
If you’re brand new to Bible study, one of the best basic books is now free online:
Though the language and examples are sometimes dated, this book stands the test of time. If anything, it is more relevant today than ever, as the art of expository bible teaching has become an endangered species in our instant society.
Living by the Book (Book and Workbook) by Howard G Hendricks & William Hendricks – also available as an ebook and a video series. Don’t be intimidated by the size of the book. The writing is clear and engaging and you will learn a lot. Available for free on archive.org:Living by the Book by Howard G. Hendricks.
The Joy of Discovery in Bible Study by Oletta Ward – a classic resource for small groups to work through together; teachers guide is also available. Available for free on archive.org: The Joy of Discovery in Bible Study by Oletta Ward.
I suggest 1Corinthians 1-4. These chapters are often misunderstood because individual paragraphs are often taken out of context and not understood in light of the argument Paul develops through all 4 chapters.
Explore a topic
Start improving your skills by working through Bible Study 101.
I suggest starting with these:
Gather some tools
Start building a Bible study library, here are the basic tools you need to get started.
Invest in study software: My favorite: E-Sword
Online Study Bible: STEP Bible
STEP stands for ‘Scripture Tools for Every Person’ and is designed to give users across the world, particularly those in disadvantaged countries, free access to trustworthy Bible expertise. Created by Bible scholars at Tyndale House, Cambridge, UK, it is curated by a non-denominational body of scholars and other volunteers who are passionate about sharing accurate information on the Bible.
In his 2008 book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell proposed the idea that it requires 10,000 hours of concentrated practice in order to gain world-class skill in something. While you don’t need “world-class” skill at Bible study, it’s true that the more you study, the better you’ll get. The Bible is coherent and does not contradict itself. Each passage you learn and understand adds to your foundation, making it easier to understand the next passage.
Practice. Practice. Practice.