Reading and studying the Bible can be daunting if you are a new believer or someone who has never spent much time in the Word of God.
The Bible contains 66 books and includes prophesy, symbolism, names we are not familiar with, genealogies, histories, and cultural traditions we no longer practice today. It can be overwhelming!
Instead of taking on the Bible as a whole (and feeling intimidated!), understand the best way to acquire Bible knowledge is this: ‘For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line; here a little, there a little’ (Isaiah 28:10).
What this means is you will learn one small principle and then another, building upon itself, and there is no pressure to learn everything at once or be in a hurry!
That said, there are some Bible study basics that can help you learn how to study the Bible when you are just beginning.
How to Study the Bible for Beginners
Bible Basics for Beginners
Before you begin studying the Word of God, you will first have to choose a Bible. There are endless discussions about the pros and cons of different Bible translations, but at the end of the day, you need to pick a version that will help you best understand what is being said. After all, there is no Bible for dummies guide… at least I don’t think there is :)
Many people prefer the King James Version because it is particularly easy to memorize verses from. It has a poetry that is both eloquent and beautiful. It is, however, written in Old English, as it was translated in 1611. This may be difficult for some modern readers to use. There are newer versions of the King James Version that have updated some of these older terms, making it more accessible for people who still want to read this translation.
There are several different categories of translations, such as dynamic equivalent (modern translation of the original text into our language, such as the New International Version), a literal translation (word for word translation, such as the English Standard Version), or paraphrase (overall meaning or gist of a passage, such as the New Living Translation).
You can also buy any number of translations that are newer and easier to understand and digest, and some translations, like the Amplified version, will give you a clearer understanding of the text, as it will provide you with a number of words to define term and help you flesh out their meaning.
Knowing these Bible basics will help you take the first step of choosing a translation. This will be foundational for easy Bible study and help you glean as much as possible from the Word of God.
Basic Bible Study for New Christians
How to do Bible Study
- Always begin by simply reading through the passage (after you’ve prayed and asked the Lord for spiritual wisdom and insight of course!) In the New Testament, Philip had been preaching the gospel with Simon and some others when he was led by God to leave the revival and head on the south road toward Gaza. On his journey, he saw a man in a chariot, a eunuch, reading through the Bible. As he walked up to the man, he could hear him reading from the book of Isaiah.
Again, always start by reading through your passage!
- Next, understand that others in the family of God can help bring meaning and understanding to what the Bible is saying.
Continuing from Acts 8:30-31, Phillip asked the man ‘do you understand what you are reading?’, and the man replied, ‘how can I, unless someone explains it to me?’The latter part of verse 31 says: ‘So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him’. After the eunuch read the portion of scripture out loud to Philip, it says in verse 35 of the same chapter: ‘Then Philip began with that very passage of scripture and told him the good news about Jesus’.
To that end, you can purchase a good study Bible such as this one that has notes and explanations. I’ve found these extremely helpful over the years!
You can also find a good Bible study guide for beginners, or you can attend a Bible study at church where you can receive instruction on the Word of God. There are also Bible study plans online and even specifically beginner Bible study plans to help you learn more about God’s Word.
There are commentaries that are available online, for free, to study deep passages of scripture. These serve to help you grasp what the text says. You can also purchase all sorts of Bible studies for women that focus specifically on a topic or book of the Bible you are reading.
You can use online tools, such as Bible Gateway, to do word studies by using their search feature to look up all occurrences of a particular word. This can help you discern the ways in which the word is used in scripture to better comprehend its use.
You can find exactly what top Bible study tools and resources I recommend here. BUT don’t let all the choices overwhelm you!! Starting with a best study bible is good enough!
- Third, and most importantly, is that you must be born again to truly understand what the Bible is saying. Understanding the Bible does not come naturally because it is spiritually discerned, meaning only those who are reborn of the Spirit are capable of grasping spiritual truths.
If you are asking how to understand the Bible, the first step is to make sure you are a child of God!
Becoming a child of God happens when you realize you have broken God’s commandments to not steal, tell lies, hate one another, disobey your parents, or anything else contrary to God’s standards, and that the wages of sin is death, meaning eternal separation from God in a literal place called hell.
Because Jesus is the sinless Son of God, He fulfilled the law entirely and gave His life to pay a debt you or I could never pay. When you believe that Jesus died and rose on the third day, and you ask Him to forgive you of your sins, you will be born again, and you will be saved. Romans 10:13 says, ‘all who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved’. We see clearly in this passage of scripture (Act 8) that the eunuch became a Christian when he professed his faith in Jesus.
Bible Study for Beginners
Back to Basics Bible Study
So. You have accepted Christ, purchased your study Bible, read through your passage, and are ready to dig deeper into the Bible. There are a couple simple Bible study principles that can help you in your desire to read and study God’s Word.
The first is this: always use the Bible to help interpret the Bible. Sometimes, a passage of scripture will use symbolism and then will explain what that symbolism means.
For example, in the book of Revelation, it says in chapter 17 and verse 1: ‘And there came out of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying, come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters”.
That may be hard to understand, but later on in the same chapter, it says in verse 15: ‘the waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues’. In this instance, the Bible tells you what the seas represent – they represent multitudes of people. This can be used to further understand texts where great waters are used symbolically in biblical text.
There are many places in the Bible where an interpretation does not immediately follow the symbolism as it does in the example given. When you cross-reference words or look for other passages where the same principle is found, you can often find its meaning. This is where having a good cross reference Bible comes in handy.
Basics of Christianity Bible Study
Another important principle is that you must read the Bible with a mustard seed faith. In the Bible, Jesus teaches that the kingdom of God is like a ‘grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: But when it is sown, it growth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it’ (Mark 4:31-32)
Isaiah 55:10-11 says: ‘For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh is bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it’.
Put simply, the Word of God is a seed that must be planted in faith.
As you start a basic Bible study for beginners, read and believe what you are taking in so that it may grow and bear fruit in your life. There is a basic principle that God will reveal more truth to those who make good of the truth He has already revealed to them.
If you do this, let the Bible interpret itself, find someone to help you, and choose a translation that speaks to you, and take it slow, you will be well on your way to success in studying your Bible!
I hope this post has been helpful BUT, in case you are still overwhelmed, I have posted many simple and effective Bible study methods on this blog and recommend finding ONE easy Bible study method that you enjoy. Use it every day until you know it inside and out and I promise you’ll soon become a whiz at studying the Bible! All 7 of these Bible study methods are effective ways that will teach you how to study the Bible for yourself.
Before you leave, be sure to sign up for our FREE Bible Study Cheat Sheet to help you study your Bible! You can do that by clicking the box below. Enjoy your time in God’s word!