How Can I Get More Out of my Bible Study: Prepare for Study

My purpose in writing this series is to both challenge and encourage Christian women to dig into the rich soil of Bible study for their personal edification, for the sake of the church, and ultimately for the glory of God. We cannot afford to simply do popular prewritten studies where we take other people’s word for what is true about the Bible. If we really want truth, then we must go to the Scriptures themselves and study the Bible for ourselves. His Word is the only trustworthy authority. The Bible bears witness to its own inerrancy, with the most powerful witness to the trustworthiness of Scripture to be Jesus Christ himself. Jesus emphasized that the actual written words of Scripture can be trusted, not just the ideas they contain (Matt. 4:4, 5:17-18). We cannot love God if we do not love his Word (1 John 2:5).

Loving God must begin with the heart. It begins with delighting oneself in Him. The heart must have the natural, earnest desire to strive after Him and seek Him for His own sake. This is not the fickle love of feelings that come and go, but a love that is a purposeful, willful, commitment to do, behave, and even think in the ways that are pleasing to God. To love the Lord with all your mind encompasses your ability to think and understand. To love God with all your mind requires Him to be the focal point of not only your quest to understand the world around you which He has made, but also the central point in all your thoughts (Rom. 12:2). The better you understand His love and grow in your knowledge of Him, the greater will be your love for Him. To understand Him more, you must read and study God’s revelation of himself – the Bible. Prioritizing your study of the Scriptures requires preparation: a dedicated space in your heart, in your schedule, and in your home.

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 22:37–38). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles
Preparing space in your heart requires honest examination, admitting any unconfessed sin.

We maintain a right relationship with God through confession of sin and His work in conforming us to the image of Christ (1 John 1:9). As we approach Bible study, we remember that God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble (James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5, Proverbs 3:34). Simply put, it’s critical that we all come to the Word with humility: openness to study, openness to God, and openness to change. Right preparation for Bible study necessitates that you don’t merely admire the Bible as a book: You need to believe that the Bible is the voice of God. Come to the Word thanking Him for access to the Scriptures in your language. Charles Spurgeon penned, “To trifle with Scripture is to deprive yourself of its aid. Reverence it, and look up to God with devout gratitude for having given it to you.” You can also pray James 1:5, totally dependent on God’s Holy Spirit for understanding: If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 

We should read the Bible as those who listen to the very speech of God.  – FB Meyer

Preparing space in your schedule requires that you regard Bible study as more important than all other activities.

View your designated time for Bible study as an appointment with God. Randy Alcorn has said “The time I spend with God determines both the direction and quality of the time I spend elsewhere.” Whether daily or weekly, frequency of your study is a matter of preference. However, each woman should consider her season of life when deciding frequency and time of day. Where one might have a demanding career that leaves her feeling depleted at the end of the day, she would study best in her mornings. A stay at home mom with little ones who rise before the sun might study best after her children’s bedtime. What should be priority is that Bible study happens. Even if that means being flexible with the clock and the calendar.

I am convinced that a prayerless approach to God’s Word is a major reason for the low-level dissatisfaction that hums beneath the surface of our lives. We rob ourselves of joy and peace when we fail to pray. Indeed, approaching Scripture apart from prayer is one of the most counterproductive things we do. For prayerless Christianity is powerless Christianity. – Matt Smethurst 

planning Well Includes Designating an area of your home for Bible study.

The physical place in your home can be as simple as a kitchen table or a corner desk, but whichever you choose it will work best if the space is easily accessible and free from clutter. I find that my study is much more focused if I’m not eye level with a basket of laundry or a sink full of dirty dishes. The ideal scenario is that your workspace be large enough to spread out your Bible(s), resources, notebook, and pen (more on resources in the next post). You will want to make certain this area is well lit. A comfortable chair is a must. Planning ahead and preparing the space will give you greater motivation to follow through.

By the working of the Word, the Holy Spirit produces outcomes in the life of the believer. 

In your Bible study time, you will need enough space in your mind to routinely sit, study, and think about the Bible. You need space in your heart to take it in and respond to it appropriately. With God’s help, you can prepare expectantly as you dedicate space in your heart, in your schedule, and in your home. Why do we prepare for Bible study? We study to know King Jesus intimately. Even the Pharisees knew about Jesus and were blinded by self-righteous knowledge (John 5:38-40).

and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. 

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Jn 5:38–40). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

We prepare so His Word might prepare us. We prepare because the Scriptures are fully sufficient to prepare us for everything the Bible commands us to do. The Holy Spirit uses the Word to transform us into Christ-likeness (2 Timothy 3:16-17). In the doing of our Bible study, we trust in the Bible’s inspiration, inerrancy, sufficiency, and authority. This provides the pathway for the Holy Spirit’s transformational work. It is crucial we understand that the Holy Spirit does not awaken and strengthen faith apart from the Scriptures. The Word of God sustains life and gives hope. “The essence of the Christian life,” writes John Piper, “is learning to fight for joy in a way that does not replace grace.” We cannot earn God’s grace or make it flow apart from his free gift. But we can position ourselves to go on getting as he keeps on giving. We can “fight to walk in the paths where he has promised his blessings.”