The key to a successful, personal Bible study is probably the belief that God has things He’d like to say to me and that in His Word He is perfectly capable of saying them.
There is no great reason to go into detail on why our personal studies may have failed in the past. However, here is a simple Bible study program that works for many.
- Get a modern, easily read translation of the Bible (New International, New American Standard, etc.)
- Start with books that make beginning easier. (Luke, James, I Peter, Philippians, I John, etc.)
- Admit you’re like all the rest of us—you have trouble concentrating if you don’t have a pencil in your hand (get a little notebook and pencil).
- Promise yourself you’ll practice some self-discipline and give it a good three week try. (But don’t jump off a cliff or give up if you should “miss a day”...Hey, progress is progress.)
- Open your Bible to the chapter you chose to begin with (James 1 for example).
- Write at the top of your notebook page, “Lord, you saved this passage in my Bible. Now, what five or six things would you like me to know, do, start, stop, quit, acknowledge, or thank you for?”
- Read two or three paragraphs and try to identify something the Lord might have in mind for you. AS YOU THINK: (a.) Personalize it (use your own name, etc.) and (b.) Put it into your own words (how would you really say it?). For example, I might write… (turn to the first few verses) 1. Lord, I’m not very good at praying without doubting. Please help me with that. 2. Lord, you’re not very happy with people who “come and go” with the tide are you? Do I do that? (You might never have thought of those things, but you’d have something that applied to you. And it will mean more to you than what I just said.)
- Spend a little time in the chapter… knowing that it will take a few days of practice to do it like you’d like…but you’ve started!!
- Do it as regularly as you can for three weeks and you’ll find: (a.) You have a taste for Scripture you’ll never want to lose. (b.) You have been with God. (c.) You have a great list of things to pray for (your notebook page).
- This is no race; do a chapter, a half of a chapter, whatever you have time for (just be sure and start each session with the written reminder…“Lord, you saved this passage in my Bible. What five or six things do you want me to know. do, start, stop. acknowledge, thank you for, etc.?” We Believe You’ll Find It!