Help with Reading the Bible

San Gabriel Presbyterian Church

Dear Church Family & Friends,

As we begin Monday Meditations in our SGPC Online “I AM” Series, I realize that for some, reading God’s Word on your own may be either new, or challenging. This post was created in hopes of helping those of you who may find it a bit daunting! Josie also shared a way of reading the Bible in her Thursday Thoughts post from our Identity Series!

I hope this post can be helpful to you as you engage in God’s Word!

4 Bible Study Methods

Here are some devotional techniques that may be helpful as you engage with God’s Word! I encourage you to read over the passages of Scripture multiple times!

It’s helpful to always begin & end your quiet times, or devotional times, with prayer. Ask God to speak to you through His Word, and to guide you and give you wisdom! (James 1:5)

As a start, this article by the Navigators is helpful in giving an example of how to have Quiet Time!

01. SOAP Method

This is one of the simplest ways to study God’s Word, and the first way I was taught to study the Bible!

  • SCRIPTURE // Begin by writing out the piece of Scripture you’re studying. They encourage you to write out the whole thing to help you remember what you’re reading, but sometimes if it’s long, I write out the verses that stand out to me.
  • OBSERVATION // Write out your observations, making sure to write out the reference so you can cite it again! What are concrete things you notice in this passage? What’s happening contextually? Are any words or phrases being repeated?
  • APPLICATION // How can you apply this Scripture to your life? It may be asking God to help shift your perspective, or a conviction over something you need to give up to the Lord. Some questions to help:
    – What does it show you about Jesus?
    – What does it show you about God’s character?
    – What does it reveal to you about who you are before God?
    – How does this Scripture challenge what you believed before reading it?
    – How does this Scripture challenge your current lifestyle/behaviors?
    – Where are you in this Scripture? Can you identify with any of the characters?
    – What is something you feel like you need to remember from this?
    – How can you practically live out what this Scripture is calling you to do?
  • PRAYER // Write out a prayer over this piece of Scripture. I encourage you to try praying through the Scripture! Writing it out can help us track how God answers our prayers in the future, too!

02. VERSE by Verse

For long passages of Scripture, sometimes it’s easier to break it down with each individual verse to understand it! Write out the Scripture citations (ex: “1 Corinthians 13:1-3″or “verse 2”), then write out observations & applications similar to the O & A from the SOAP Method above.

03. INDUCTIVE Bible Study

Here are some awesome links that explain Inductive Bible Study! I thought they’d be more helpful than if I wrote out my won explanation!

“This method makes observations on a passage of Scripture and then draws conclusions based on those observations. The following steps follow the inductive method’s process of observation, interpretation, and application.” – The Navigators


This is a technique used commonly for actually leading Bible Studies! But after learning how to use this tool, I found it to be really helpful for personal study as well! I found this brief article to be most direct & helpful with understanding how to do this study!

Helpful Online Tools

  • Bible Hub // Enter in a Bible Verse and it will show you the verse in different translations! Sometimes this can help when the wording seems a bit tricky.
  • Blue Letter Bible // Enter in a passage using the “Search the Bible” search bar and use the “Tools” button to the left of each verse to find commentaries and different helpful tools to help you study the passage! (I often like to read David Guzik’s commentaries)
  • YouVersion Bible App // This is the app most people use to have the Bible readily available on their phones! It’s perfect for when you’re on the go, or on break during work and you want to take time to read over the Scriptures!
  • Halley’s Bible Handbook // This is a great quick & simple book I was gifted that helped give me some historical context to passages in the Bible! It’s not very thorough, but good if you’d just like to get a better understanding of what’s going on!
  • What the Bible’s All About Handbook for Kids // Even as an adult, I find this book to be a helpful tool! Made for children (and what we use as a tool in KidMin), it’s very simple to understand and gives a good, clear foundational connection to how the books of the Bible relate with one another and how it connects with Jesus!

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