5 Creative Ways to Study the Bible

by David Peach · Print Print · Email Email

There are many ways to study the Bible. Perhaps you read my earlier article entitled: Bible Study Methods: 5 Different Techniques. Certainly you should not feel limited to one of the following methods. However, they are good creative ways to study the Bible if you are looking for one. Pick one or two and try them for yourself. Some may not work for you while others may be just what you need to become excited about studying the Word of God again. With all of these methods, I suggest you try to keep a Bible study journal so that you can review later what you learned. When going back over a passage again you can see what the Lord taught you when you were studying that passage previously.

Outside In

This is a way to study a book or passage from the big picture to the minuscule detail. There are many good Bible book overviews and summaries on the web or even in the pages of your own Bible. Start with those to know how a book is laid out and to get an idea of what is covered in the book.

Move on to reading the book as a whole. While reading, see if you can pick out recurring themes. Write down these themes and who the major characters are in the book. Now go back and read each chapter again to see how these major topics are covered in that individual chapter. Also, try to find chapter specific topics that may not be covered in the rest of the book.

Write down these themes and who the major characters are in the book.

After going through the whole book a second time, compare your notes from each chapter. Do you see even more themes that occur in the book that did not make in on your original list? How do these major themes fit in with what you know about all the other books in the Bible?

You can focus even deeper by spending time analyzing each verse. Try to find things that may not make sense or don’t fit with what you have been taught or always assumed about the Bible. It should be your goal to find out what the Bible really teaches about certain subjects. Most questions will have immediate answers when compared with the rest of scripture. However, those topics that you still have questions about should go into a special section of your study journal to be revisited as you learn more about the Bible.

Questions to Ask

While reading passage of scriptures there are questions you can ask yourself about the text that can help you better understand it. After asking these questions, and writing them down, compare your answers from each chapter with the rest of the book and it will help you pick out more of the book’s themes. These general themes will give you better insight to what the book is trying to teach.

Here is a list of questions that my pastor in church recently gave which you can use while reading the Bible. These came from Adrian Rogers and I thought it was a good list.

  • Is there a promise to claim?
  • Is there a lesson to learn?
  • Is there a blessing to enjoy?
  • Is there a command to obey?
  • Is there a sin to avoid?
  • Is there a new thought to carry with me?

Memorizing Passages

When studying a topic or even a book, it is helpful to memorize and meditate on key verses. There are many verse lists here at What Christians Want to Know which can give you a great start on finding verses about your topic to memorize.

When I was doing an in-depth study of the book of Romans, I listened to an audio version of the book over and over while I was out walking. Though my primary goal was not to memorize the book, I did end up with several large passages committed to memory. And I gained a familiarity with the teachings of the book that I probably would not have had otherwise. By the time I was done I could hear any single verse from the book and know which chapter it was from. This was helpful in understanding the flow of the book of Romans as I could see topics and teachings built logically as the book progressed.

Memorizing scripture will help bring it alive to your mind and give you a clearer understanding because of the strong familiarity with the passage. Besides that, it is just a good idea to fill your mind with the Word of God.

Outlining

If you look into commentaries and study Bible notes you will quickly discover that almost all of them has a different outline of the book that looks nothing like the outline from any other book. There are many ways to break down a book. Each outline seems to emphasize a different portion of what the text of God’s Word is trying to teach. Try outlining a book on your own and you will probably come up with something different from any other you’ve read.

If outlining a book on your own is too daunting of a task, then gather a few sources and read them to get an overview of the book you are studying. From there you can start to see your own breakdown that you can write down as an outline. We had to do this in Bible college and I found it very helpful in learning the contents of a book of the Bible.

Devotionals

There are many good devotional books that are based on a passage or book of the Bible. Reading one of these as you study a book will give you someone else’s opinion of the book. But don’t stop there. Form your own thoughts and ideas about the Bible. Allow the Bible to be a commentary on itself. Don’t get locked into only seeing the Bible as someone else sees it. But, also don’t ignore what other people have learned. They may have a better understanding of the way a passage fits with the culture of biblical times than you would personally know.

Read the Bible? Study the Bible?

These are some creative ways to study the Bible, but don’t feel like if you are not studying the Bible in this depth that you can’t enjoy God’s Word. If you are at a stage where deep study is more than you can do right now, don’t neglect spending time reading the Word of God regularly. Allow His Word to penetrate your mind and life and you will gain a greater hunger for what God is trying to teach you through it.

Do you have a good suggestion for how to study the Bible? Leave a comment below and share your ideas.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

underground rap December 5, 2012 at 9:05 am

Great article David,

I will try a couple of these techniques out!

Thanks

Reply

Tina T December 5, 2012 at 5:48 pm

I have to admit that I like to study the Bible by reading it on my iPad. I like to have the option to hover over names and places and have the google info pop up instantly. I also like checking various translations if I find a verse confusing or just want to know more. I like NKJV for the beauty of the verses, NIV for ease of understanding, and CEV if I am reading it aloud with my family. Sometimes reading the same verse in a different translation makes all the difference in understanding. The only pitfall is that you need to make sure your sticking to translations that stay true to the meaning rather than ones that are “loose interpretations.”

Reply

Robert December 6, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Thank you for this article David,
You have provided us with some great advice here. I especially like the points about memorizing Scripture. I should do more of that. God bless you David.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

Reply

lois July 21, 2013 at 10:07 pm

u’re preaching good! Have read a number of ur articles, vr xplicit, straight to d point..,just blesses my heart, GBU!

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