Here's our top Bible study techniques to help you deepen your relationship with Jesus.
Of all the Bible study techniques you can implement right now, the most important is to approach your study time in God’s Word with humility and the desire to know and follow Jesus.
Learning Bible study techniques alone will not help you grow unless you apply what you learn with God’s help.
When you open the Bible, God will meet you in the pages if you seek Him. Let Him lead your Bible study time to learn what He wants you to know and change your heart in the process.
As you use these Bible study techniques to grow in truth and love, exalt Jesus along the way. Being intentional in your Bible study will deepen your sense of need for God and deepen your love of Jesus.
Approach your Bible Study with the goal of heart change and not just head knowledge.
If you want an in-depth experience to deepen your faith in Jesus and learn practical ways to apply your faith, learn about our 50-Day faith journey Your True Story: The 50-Day Essential Guide to Your New Life with Jesus.
The practical Bible Study techniques in this article can be read in even greater depth in Day 33 of the faith journey.
You can start your Bible study time with these five steps . . .
(For a simplified version, training video, and free printable, visit: Bible study techniques for beginners)
- Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand God’s Word (1 John 2:27).
- Ask Him to give you wisdom and open your spiritual eyes as you read God’s Word (Psalm 119:18).
- Then trust that He will do what you have asked (James 1:5–7).
Read attentively—pay attention, slow down, read the verses out loud, and listen to the words.
- Write out the verses to help you slow down and focus.
- Draw a line down the middle of a piece of paper. On the left side, write out the passage, and on the right side, write down notes and thoughts next to each verse.
- As you read, look for clues in the text: Who is speaking? To whom are they speaking? What are they saying? Why? When?
Read repeatedly—read the same passage multiple times to notice new details, meanings, and personal applications.
Read diligently—learn the context of Bible passages and stories so you understand them.
- What is the historical/cultural setting?
- How does it fit in the chapter and book?
- How does it relate to the overall story of God?
- Does it point to Jesus?
Read carefully—notice the details.
- Does the passage use certain verbs?
- Are words repeated?
- Does a word or verse stand out? If so, write it down.
- Is there a transitional word? If so, read the previous section.
Read humbly—trust God, and believe His Word.
You may not always agree with what the Bible says. When that happens, remember that God’s ways are higher than our ways (Isa. 55:9). Trust Him, and believe His Word.
At other times, the passage may seem familiar, and you might assume that you already understand it fully. When that happens, humbly ask God to open your eyes to new details or new applications.
Finally, during those times when you can’t find information or answers you want to find, remember: “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deut. 29:29 ESV). Focus on what He has given you, knowing that it will be exactly what you need.
What was God saying to the original audience? What happened in the passage?
Knowing how the message applies to the original audience may help you apply it to your life. Other questions to ask:
- How was the passage presented—was it a song or spoken to a specific group?
- Are there timeless truths for believers today?
- Is there a promise or a warning that is true for all people at all times?
- What does the Scripture tell you about God? His person? His character? His promises?
- What does the Scripture tell you about humanity? Our hearts? Our needs? Our behaviors?
If time is limited, you can simply ask, “What does God want me to know, value, or do?”
What does the Bible tell you about yourself? We need to personally apply God’s Word to our lives: “Don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves” (James 1:22).
Remember, God does not just want to inform us; He wants to transform us.
With His help, you can apply His Word to your daily lives to develop Christlike character, attitudes, and behavior.
Did you find a promise? A command? Is there any action to take based on this passage? Did you find a caution or warning? God wants to protect us from danger. Often our sinful nature is our biggest threat. His warnings help us avoid unnecessary pain.
Talk with God:
- If He has given you direction, ask Him to clarify your next step and help you move forward in faith.
- If He has revealed sin, ask Him to forgive you and free you from it.
- If He has given you a promise, thank Him for His faithfulness.
- If He has shown you something about Himself, thank Him for revealing Himself to you.
Pray verses back to God. Journal—write down verses, prayers, and personal reflections. Keeping a simple notebook where you can record what you learn will help you remember God’s faithfulness.
Underline or make notes in your Bible. They can become “memorial stones” to mark what you’ve learned, how God helped you during a challenging time, and how far you’ve come on God’s path. Learn more about how to make memorial stones of your journey.
After you finish, SHARE. Tell someone about your experience in God’s Word.
- Share what God teaches you with a humble attitude.
- Ask others to share what they are learning.
Passing on your knowledge as God creates opportunities. If you need practice view our video to learn to start spiritual conversations.
More Bible Study Techniques to Explore Deeper:
- Read the same passage in different Bible translations, if available.
- Look up Bible cross-reference verses to see key ideas.
- When a verse seems important, examine each word individually.
- Do not look for hidden meanings—avoid temptation to manipulate Scripture around your ideas. Ask God to reveal and help you understand it.
- Use a Biblical dictionary to define difficult words and a concordance to find locations of words in the Bible.
Which Bible Translation Should I Use?
Both Old Testament Hebrew and New Testament Greek are complex languages, so translating the Bible is a complex task. Thankfully, because of advanced research, many modern translations are superb.
If you have multiple translations to choose from, use these tips to help you select the translation based on how you are studying.
When doing word studies—try to use a word-for-word translation when doing word studies (e.g., examining each word of a verse) like the English Standard Version.
When studying concepts to apply directly to your life—use thought-for-thought translations like the New Living Translation.
For a balanced approach—use mediating translations like the New International Version or Christian Standard Bible.
Most importantly, pick the translation you will read.
Bonus Bible study technique: Promises and Laws in the Bible
As you apply God’s Word to your life, keep in mind that some promises were given only to specific people at a specific time. For example, God’s promise that Mary would conceive and give birth to the Son of God applied only to Mary. Not all Bible promises are universal.
In the same way, not all Old Testament laws still apply. Many Levitical laws were for the priesthood only and meant to demonstrate that the Israelites were set apart by God. After Jesus came and provided the way for people of all nations to join God’s family, some laws changed.
If you’re struggling with a lack of desire to study the Bible . . .
Ask God to give you a passion for His Word. Invite God to transform your mind and heart as you learn His will in His Word.
If you want to grow in your faith, we invite you to discover, Your True Story: The 50-Day Essential Guide To Your New Life With Jesus. Through this Bible study, you can learn how to live out your story with God at the center.
Do you have Bible study techniques to add to the list? Share below. We would love to hear from you.
*The “Read” section is how I learned to study the Bible. I’ve found most of these concepts in this book: Howard G. Hendricks and William D. Hendricks, Living By the Book: The Art and Science of Reading the Bible (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2007), 79-131.