Your Bible. Your Responsibility: Tips For Personal Bible Study
In 2017, Lifeway Research published an article entitled, "Americans Are Fond of the Bible, [But] Don’t Actually Read It." This holds true in my experience and generally applies to most Christian denominations and churches I've ever encountered. A member of my church recently admitted to me that she only reads the Bible on Sundays when I highlight the scripture that I'm preaching about. I'd bet that many Sunday church-goers are in that boat.
It is important that every follower of The Way of Jesus be dedicated to reading and studying The Bible. This is a basic and baseline practice upon which many other aspects of spiritual growth for the Christian is built upon. Toward that end, I offer these quick tips for basic Bible Study:
1. Make up your mind that you will prioritize the reading of the Bible. Commit to the discipline of Bible reading and study. Prioritize this and actualize it.
2. Find a version of the Bible that you understand and make that your primary Bible. For those just starting out, I would recommend versions like the New Revised Standard Version or the New International Version.
3. Develop a personal systematic plan for reading scripture. I'm currently using The YouVersion Bible App's devotional plans as a systematic Bible reading plan, but you can also develop a systematic plan on your own.
For example, the book of James has 5 chapters and you could develop a personal systematic plan built around reading one chapter a day during the week - Monday through Friday. Or take a look at the book of Proverbs. It has 31 chapters. You could develop a personal systematic plan by taking a month with 31 days and committing yourself to the goal of reading 1 chapter of Proverbs per day. Other good books of the Bible that have chapters that correspond to the days of a month are: Leviticus (27 chapters), 1 Samuel (31 chapters), Matthew (28 chapters), and the book of Acts (28 chapters).
4. Create a process of reflection based on what you're reading. Journal writing before/during/after, self audio/video recording your thoughts.
5. Use technology to aid you: set alarms on your phone for when it's time to read scripture, put it on your calendar so the time is better protected from the day's demands, watch helpful youtube videos or purchase the Bible on CD and listen to the reading of scripture on the drive to work or school.
6. Consider advanced level Bible Study when you've maxed out on the local church's offerings. While the local church is helpful in giving Believers a working knowledge and familiarity with the Bible; Bible Schools, seminaries, etc. are designed to give Believers advanced study that can help take your relationship with God and your Bible to the next level.