Studying the Bible

Studying the Bible can be a rewarding activity. The book is thousands of years old and offers life changing information. Here are some Bible study tips to help you get started.


You’re obviously going to need a Bible. This might seem simple, but the Bible was not originally written in English. The first section of the Bible (Old Testament) was written in Hebrew. The second section of the Bible (New Testament) was written in Aramaic and Greek. You’re going to need a translation and there are a lot of them!

In 1611 the Bible was translated into English. This translation was commissioned by King James of England and is called the King James Version (KJV). It was the standard version used by English speaking people for a long time.

The problem is that it reads like Shakespeare. Lots of thee’s and thou’s. Many people find it difficult, if not impossible to understand.

The good news is that there is a flood of modern language translations. I like to read the English Standard Version (ESV). But, many people like the New International Version (NIV). Either of these will make a good starting point for Bible study.

Read it

Once you’ve found a Bible version that you like, start reading. The book is enormous, so take your time.

Most people fail at reading the Bible because they try to read it like a normal book. They start at the first page and start reading. This goes well until they reach certain sections where there are lists of names and places. At that point the reading bogs down and they stop.

You can solve this problem a few different ways. Try reading something from the second section of the Bible first. This section starts with Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Any of these books will read much easier and give you momentum.

I would also suggest a One Year Bible. These books break down the Bible into bite size pieces from different sections. When one section is dry, you can balance it with other sections that are more interesting. The Youversion Bible app offers one year Bible reading plans as well.


Good news! You can listen to the Bible. You can listen on a podcast, or watch a youtube video. This means that you can drive your car, exercise, do yard work and listen to the Bible at the same time. This isn’t deep study, but it will begin to give you the basic framework of the Bible.

I am a big fan of the Youversion Bible App. I’ve already indicated that this app has Bible reading plans. But, the app also allows you to choose from numerous translations that have audio versions. And, you can increase the speed! (My preferred listening speed is 1.25.)

Verse by verse study

I’m not a Bible scholar. I don’t know Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew and I’m not planning on learning these languages any time soon. My guess is that you are like me. That means you’re going to need some help studying through the Bible.

I love the verse by verse teaching of Chuck Smith. Chuck died in 2013, but his verse by verse teaching can still be found via podcasts. He methodically works his way through the entire Bible. You can start anywhere you’d like. Here are the links: OT NT His messages are also archived on this website.

If you do a search for Bible study aids, you’ll see various different tools that you can use. This post from the Navigators is informative.


Studying the Bible is a life-long pursuit. Don’t expect to immediately understand everything you read. God is communicating to you/me and His mind is infinite. You’ll find yourself picking up nuggets along the way. Occasionally you’ll experience a breakthrough, but don’t expect that every day.

The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll experience the positive benefits. So, start today!

You can read more about my personal experience reading through the Bible here.

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