With thousands of Bible study guides in the market-place, how do you pick one? Which guide will teach you more about your Christian faith, about God, and His will? Rather than reading a “Christian Living” book or devotional, choose a Bible study guide that lets you dive into God’s Word. Consider these 9 things as you choose…
Welcome to Mini-Tip Monday. Give me three minutes of your week, and I’ll show you a quick and powerful Bible study hack to deepen your time in God’s Word. Is a complete tutorial too overwhelming? Or are you just hungry for more? Here is your bite-sized Bible tip to start off your week with Scripture confidence.
Maybe you are new to studying the Bible, or you just finished a Bible study guide you loved. What’s next? What should you study, and how do you find a guide that will help you? There are so many options. So how do you decide?
Here are my suggestions:
- Pick a study guide by an author you love, whose blog or products you have enjoyed in the past. Authors tend to carry a similar tone or feel throughout their writing. If you enjoy one, you’ll likely enjoy others.
- Search for a guide by topic like God’s faithfulness, prayer, forgiveness, or whatever is pressing on your heart. What has God been teaching you lately? Can you find a study guide on the issue?
- Search for a guide by book of the Bible like Genesis, John, James, Hebrews, etc. These often allow you to cover a broader range of topics while giving you a more complete view of the Bible’s message - as opposed to passages on a certain topic only. There is a place for both, so decide which would be more beneficial for you right now.
- Check on the author’s credentials and beliefs, which are usually found on their website or their publisher’s. Where did they learn how to study the Bible? Do they belong to denomination that believes similarly to yours? Are their core beliefs in line with yours/Scripture?
- Choose a guide that will have you spend more time reading the Bible than the author’s words. Many devotionals and guides advise you to read only one verse or short passage followed by the author’s observations on the text. I encourage you to find a Bible study guide that will allow you to do your own reflecting - rather than completely relying on someone else’s study of the Bible.
- Consider a Bible study guide that teaches you how to study God’s Word. Think beyond the immediate gratification of reading only what seems relevant to your life right now. By learning how to study the Bible, you build a strong foundation. Have you heard the expression: “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish and feed him for a lifetime”? You are that “man”. Decide to learn from authors who want to teach you how to feast on the Word of God for a lifetime!
- Look for a guide that provides background knowledge or shows you where to find it. The historical context of the time can greatly impact the way you read a passage, so brief commentaries or side notes are excellent.
- Ask yourself if the workload is realistic. Some Bible studies require a great deal of time. While I believe it’s absolutely worth investing as much time as you can into studying the Bible, that will look differently for everyone. Remember that you can always decide to slow down the pace of any study. You don’t have to finish studying a Bible passage in one day or a lesson in one week.
- Confirm that the guide includes study as well as application. James 1:23-24 tells us that when we study the Bible but don’t apply it, we are like a person who looks in a mirror, sees something wrong, but doesn’t bother to fix it. They may as well not have looked in the mirror in the first place! Similarly, our time in God’s Word is not worthwhile if we don’t allow it to change us.
Search Amazon for your next Bible study guide below, using key phrases such as:
- Beth Moore Bible study
- Bible study on prayer
- Genesis Bible-study guide
- Galatians commentary guide
- Baptist Bible study
- In-depth Bible study
- Short Bible studies
- Applicable Bible studies
And don’t forget to check out the “Scripture Confident through the Old Testament” series at scriptureconfidentliving.com/store. It teaches you how to study the Bible as you practice on hand-picked passages that will give you an overview of the Old Testament storyline. Start by building a Bible-study habit with my guidance, then slowly take over making observations, interpretations, and applications. I’ll teach you each step week after week. The complete series is currently on sale for $14.49.
Share about your favorite Bible study in the comment section.
As always, have a Scripture-confident Monday.