How to Study the Bible by Verse?

  1. Choose a VERSE. This step may sound simple but it has more to do with God speaking to you through His WORD as you do your daily reading than with your intellect. The problem is that most of us do not read our Bible daily. Some may read it probably once or twice a week while others never touch it except in the church. Now I don’t say this to offend or point a finger at someone but this is what I have personally observed and experienced. The easiest way to tell if someone really reads, studies and meditates on God’s word is to listen carefully to them when they are speaking. Ask yourself this simple question: Is their talk filled with Godly or worldly wisdom? Children of God talk like Him; and to talk like God, you need to know His WORD. Before I lose track of my first point, let me describe to you how to select the verse. As you read, study and meditate on the word of God daily, there will be times when a certain verse will just catch your attention as if someone just pricked on the inside of you. You will know for sure when this happens. It’s like God speaking directly to you, “My son/daughter, this is my rhema verse for you!” That sure excites me. Of course, you can always select a verse that you like or do not understand as well to study as you desire. This is also helpful but a rhema verse from God is much better. Keep in mind that selecting a verse can be an enigma sometimes but having the Holy Spirit as your teacher is truly a blessing in these kinds of situations. Remember what Romans 8:14 says – As many are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons and daughters of God.
  2. Find the other connecting VERSES. This maybe a little tricky sometimes especially if you are new to the Bible. Now I have read and heard (audible Bible) the Bible several times so when a specific verse catches my attention, somehow in my mind, all the other connecting verses just start popping up. I know it seems a little weird but the Holy Spirit is our teacher and He can reveal to you some amazing things if only you would allow Him. I highly recommend that folks use Bible Study Tools to find the other connecting verses and to study all the verses gathered thoroughly. Here’s a list of Bible Study Tools that I personally use and recommend:
    1. Parallel Bible – A Parallel version is a Bible that shows more than one translation side by side for comparison. The one I personally recommend is tilted, “Today’s Parallel Bible” which contains NIV, NASB, KJV and NLT translation side by side. The reason I recommend this Parallel Bible is because it contains three major forms of translation which are literal, dynamic and hybrid, giving the reader a balanced perspective on every verse.
    2. Study Bible - A Study Bible is an edition of the Bible prepared for use by a serious student of the Bible. It provides scholarly information designed to help the reader gain a better understanding of and context for the text. There are two Study Bibles which I personally use and recommend. The first one is NIV Life Application Study Bible and the second is the HCSB Study Bible. I have found that the notes in these two versions are enlightening and very practical.
    3. Concordance – A Bible concordance is a concordance, or verbal index, to the Bible. A simple form lists Biblical words alphabetically, with indications to enable the inquirer to find the passages of the Bible where the words occur.
    4. Bible Dictionary – A Bible dictionary is a reference work containing encyclopedic entries related to the Bible, typically concerning people, places, customs, doctrine and Biblical criticism. Bible dictionaries can be scholarly or popular in tone. I highly recommend you get a copy of the Vines Complete Expository Dictionary. This is one of the best Bible Dictionaries in the market.
    5. Bible Commentary – A Bible commentary is a written, systematic series of explanations and interpretations of Scripture. Commentaries often analyze or expound on individual books of the Bible, chapter by chapter and verse by verse. Some commentary works provide analysis of the whole of Scripture. The most famous Bible Commentary is Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary. There are obviously new ones out there now which are more up to date with new insights. The new one that I am currently using is tilted, “The Preacher’s Commentary written by D. Stuart Briscoe”. Another one that I use as a reference every now and then is the Baker Illustrated Bible Commentary put together by multiple Biblical Scholars.
    6. Bible Handbook – A good Bible handbook is a simple and concise reference book that provides comprehensive information on all aspects of the Bible. The most widely used Bible Handbook is Halley’s Bible Handbook written by Hendry H. Halley. The Baker Illustrated Bible Handbook is also very useful as a companion to Halley’s Bible Handbook.
    7. The Strong's Exhaustive Concordance is the most complete, easy-to-use, and understandable concordance for studying the original languages of the Bible. Our English Bible is basically a translation of the Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic manuscripts put together by the Bible translators. What the reader needs to keep in mind is that whenever something is translated from one language to another, it may fail to either capture the full meaning or it may just not be possible to match the English words which are hundred percent accurate to the Hebrew, Greek or Aramaic words. This is where Strong’s Concordance becomes the most valuable tool. Now I am in no way suggesting that you study every single word in the English Bible using Strong’s Concordance but what I am implying is that you pay close attention to the major words of the subject being studied, list them down, find the origin of those words from the concordance and write down the full meaning.
  3. Compile the Information Together. Once you start putting together all the connecting verses and information gathered using the Bible Study Tools, you will notice patterns, relations and common factors. Put all this information together in diagrammatic forms for easier understanding.
  4. Discuss your Research with Others. Always keep an open mind and be willing to accept new revelation. There will always be times when others disagree with some of what you gathered and learnt using the method above. This does not necessary mean that you are wrong or they are wrong. Use these moments as opportunities to study the verses in question in more depth and separate the facts from fiction. I want to close up this study by simply saying, “Invest your time and energy in God’s word and it will definitely pay off in the long run. Always remember that God’s word is living, alive, active and powerful. It is life, health and medicine for your body, spirit and soul.” Have a blessed day.