Reading and re-reading 1 book of the Bible for several months is my favorite way to study the Bible. For those just starting out I recommend starting with the Gospel of John, Genesis, Philippians, or Romans. A very good, and free, source for notes that can help explain thing you don’t understand about the Bible can be found at: http://www.soniclight.com/constable/notes.htm
Here is how I typically work my way through passages of the Bible.
Step 1. Understand What The Passage Is Saying
Read a chapter or section of scripture carefully and prayerfully, asking the Holy Spirit to make the truth clear. Summarize each paragraph looking for things that are repeated, things that are alike, things that contrast, and things that are emphasized.
Go deeper by answering the questions:
1. Where are things happening?
2. Who is involved?
3. When is the action/argument taking place?
4. What is happening in this section?
5. How is God working?
6. Why does God want us to know about this?
Step 2. Understand What The Passage Means
Answer the questions:
- What do I learn about God in this passage?
- What do I learn about myself in this passage?
- What are the truths that stand out to me in this passage?
Step 3. Prayerfully ask, “What Does God Want Me to Do?”
Answer the questions:
- What would it take to better align my life with what I have learned from this passage?
- How does this passage challenge the way of life I am used to?
- What would it look like to live out what God is teaching me through this passage?
Go deeper by asking:
- Is there an example for me to follow?
- Is there a sin for me to avoid?
- Is there a promise I can be assured by?
- Is there a prayer I can be praying?
- Is there an attitude I need to change?
- Is there a command for me to obey?
Step 4. Pray.
Adoration: Praise God for what this reveals about him.
Confession: Repent for wrong behavior, and wrong attitudes and thank God for Christ’s grace to forgive and cleanse you.
Thanksgiving: Thank God for His amazingly faithful love and kindness.
Supplication: Ask for God’s will to be done in specific challenges in the lives of others,in our city and/or around the world.
How to Read the Bible For All It’s Worth by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart
Living by the Book by Howard Hendricks
30 Days to Understanding the Bible by Max Anders
From God to Us by Norm Geisler and William Nix
Books that I like to read along with the passages from the Bible I am studying are:
The Valley of Vision – Arthur Bennett
Everything by A.W. Tozer, particularly, The Pursuit of God
Everything by Francis Schaeffer, particularly True Spirituality
Everything by D. Martin Lloyd Jones, particularly Studies in the Sermon on the Mount
Spiritual Maturity by J. Oswald Sanders
The Confessions of Saint Augustine – Augustine