10 Tips on How to Study the Bible Effectively Like a Pastor

10 Tips on How to Study the Bible Effectively Like a Pastor

God's word is essential to my life. That means I love the Bible and studying it is an essential part of my life. I read a section of both the New Testament and the Old Testament every day.

The best way to study the Bible is to have it as a priority in your day.

The Bible says in 2 Timothy 2:15, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”

Bible studies will help us to stand before God and not be ashamed of our lives. The entire Bible was given to us by God to help us walk through life.

The average person can read and understand the Bible. God wants to teach you and help you grow to the same extent as he loves and wants to care about your pastor.

The Bible can have the same impact on your life that it has had on the great men and women of our church history.

It might seem hard at first, but if you take a few steps you will be studying the Bible with the same effectiveness as a pastor.


Step One Read the section you want to study, then re-read it.

Of course, the first is to read the passage. That is the obvious first step. But once you have read the passage. Stop and read it again.

The first time you read the passage you will only get a part of a thought. But each time you read it different words will pop out to you and God will show you new things.

The Bible says in Revelation 1:3 “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it because the time is near.”

God tells us in this passage that we will receive blessings from reading aloud. Take the time to read the passage out loud at least twice.

There are many different Bible translations. You can read a passage in the King James Version, and then read it again in a different version.

I have a few different versions, and I read the passage three to four times in different versions to get a different perspective.

A pastor would read the passage many times throughout the week. You also need to read the passage many different times.  


Step Two Write the text in your own words.

In this next step write down what the passage says. This is not a word-by-word copy. Take the time to write what the passage says.

The action of writing down what the words do will impact your brain differently than just reading it.

There is scientific evidence that shows people process material and regain the information longer when they write what they are reading.


In the Bible we read Jeremiah 30:2 Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Write all the words which I have spoken to you in a book.”

God wanted Jeremiah to write down what he was hearing from God. God is the one who created us, and one of the greatest things about that is that he knows how our bodies work.

He knows that we will be more engaged, and retain what we have learned if we write down the ideas of the passage. So before you start a Bible study get a new book and use it for your Bible study.

I have a book for each book of the Bible that I have studied. I make sure that I know what the main point of the passage is. And I write that down.

What is the important thing that God wants you to know? As you read more and study more you will fill up journals.

Over the years you will grow journals that your children can have as a legacy once you are gone.

When you write down what you have learned, you not only make sure that you have learned effectively you also pass on your knowledge to the next generation.

A pastor as they are reading and studying the Bible will write down the thoughts they are planning on bringing to the church.

If you want to study the Bible the way a pastor does, then you have to write down your thoughts.  


Step three Use Bible Study Tools

There are many great men who have gone before us, and written in books what they have learned, this is where we get concordances.

In concordance, we can look up a specific topic and find more verses that cover that same topic. Having Bible study resources will help us learn.


In Philippians 4:9 we read, The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

This is a great way to find a deeper meaning to a verse. You can find the Greek word for the English word you are using.

Why do you want to do that? Well, when you read the verse in the original languages that will give you a cultural context of the verse you are reading.

This Bible study method is essential if you want to fully understand what you are reading. When you hear a passage in the original text it will change your daily Bible Reading.

You can also read a Bible Commentary that will also give you a big picture of what you are learning about. Remember however that a Bible Commentary has a human author.

Always keep the Bible as your source of truth. Get to know the historical background of the passage you are reading. A Bible dictionary will also help you with finding the meaning of words.

Keep these books in the quiet space you have built for your Bible reading. Having the right Bible study tools will change the way you read and study your Bible.

A pastor never reads and studies alone. He always uses other books to help him understand the passage.

If you want to study the Bible the way your pastor does, then make sure you have Bible study tools with you.  


Step four Meditation on each verse

The word Meditation is used in our society today. But what we have forgotten to do in the church is to spend time meditating the way God has called us.

God tells us to meditate on the Word of God. How do we meditate? Take a key verse from the passage you are reading and then say the verse many times.

Take time in the quiet of the day and be alone to think over these Bible verses. Throughout the day repeat that key verse.

This is an easy way to make sure that God is the first thing in our minds all day long.


In Joshua 1:8 God commands us to Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”

This is a way to change our daily lives and keep our minds focused on God. The Bible is full of important information.

When we take time to be still and think about the words of God, then we will see a change in our lives. How do we meditate on the passage of scripture we have read?

The start is to come with a repenting heart. We then have to trust the Holy Spirit. We have to open our hearts and minds to allow God to change us.

King David wrote about this often in the Psalms. Two examples of this are Psalm chapter 1 and chapter 119 where we learn that if we spend time in meditation of God's word God will reward this.

The ones who mediate will be like a flourishing tree. We will not only grow ourselves but we will bring nourishment to others.  


Step five How will it affect your personal life

This is the step when we move from learning about God to having a change in our personal relationship with God.

We can spend time reading God's plan for our lives, but until we begin to actually put the things we have learned into action, we will not see spiritual growth.    

The Bible reminds us of this in James 1:22 where we read, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

This is the step that will help you overcome addictions in your life. If there is something in your life that you need to change, God will convict you of this during your Biblical study.

Let the Lord Jesus Christ change you and mold you to be more like him. Pay close attention to any thought that comes to your mind about something in your life.

God will bring to mind something that he wants to change in your life. The most important step you can take is to ask God to show you what in your life needs to change.

In your Biblical Studies, you will find a small portion of the scripture that stands out to you.

God will bring to your mind something in your life that needs to change the relates to the passage of scripture. It could be a person you need to forgive or ask for forgiveness.

It could be something that has become an addiction that you need to let go of. Whatever it is, give it to God and ask him to change you.  


Step Six What is something you have never thought of before you found in this passage?

What is your Biblical interpretation of this passage? In your study notes find at least one thing you never thought of before.

There are always different ways to see a passage. God will show you something you have never seen before. This might not happen in the first reading.

This is why step one is to read the passage, and then read it again. God will teach you.    

 John 16:13 says, But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”

The Spirit of God will teach you something new from the passage of scripture you are reading. There have been times that I have read a passage I know very well and suddenly something will jump out that I have never thought of before.

Just last week I was reading the passage of scripture that tells the story of Gideon. I have read this story too many times to count.

Yet suddenly as I was reading I saw that immediately when Gideon stepped out to tear down the alters there were ten men ready to go with them.

God said every time someone steps out to obey God has been calling others to fight with them. When you are ready to walk out in faith you won't be alone, God is not talking to you alone, even if it feels like it.

God is talking to others as well. This is an example of finding something in a passage you never heard before. The Bible is full of wisdom, there is always more to learn.

There is never a passage of scripture that doesn't have a new piece of knowledge for you to read. A pastor will look for new concepts to pass on to his congregation.

You can also look for these little nuggets of truth you have never seen before. This is how to study your Bible the way your pastor did.  


Step Seven Take your time. Take a few days on the passage

We can't rush through our Bible study. Take the time to study the passage of scripture you have been reading. You may spend more than one day on the passage.

A pastor will spend all week on one passage. So spend the time. Pray. Tell God you are not leaving this passage until he shows you something new, and it has impacted your life.

There is a very famous passage from the book of Psalms. It is on plaques and cups in homes across America. It is the lyric of many songs.

And it is a reminder to take time to wait and hear from God.  

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10

King David wanted to have a great relationship with God. Think about your relationship with God like food. God doesn't want to have a fast food relationship with you, he wants a fine dining experience.

He doesn't want a microwave meal, he wants a marinated steak that is slow-cooked. The relationship that God wants to have with you is one that takes time to grow.

It is also a relationship that will be worth the time and effort. I have an area in my home that is set apart for my Bible time. It is a quiet space apart from the family.

I can go there and spend time alone with God. I will often take a whole month on one passage especially if it is a section that is difficult.

A pastor is blessed to have extra time set aside to study the Bible. If you are working a full-time job while also trying to manage a family you will find it harder to get the time alone with God.

There was a period of time when my Bible reading time was in my car while my child was at sports practices.

There in the car, at the parking lot of they gym, I spent time alone with God. In every season of life, you will find different ways to set aside time to spend with God.  


Step Eight Memorize a portion of the verse

There was a time I was in a conversation with a Hindu. She asked me a question about what I believed.

It was because I had memorized scripture that I was prepared for this conversation.

I also had an opportunity to speak to group members of a Bible study who asked me questions on a topic I had not come prepared to speak on. During this time I had versed that I had memorized.

I could answer the questions that I was asked.    


Psalm 119:11-16 says, Thy word has I hid in mine heart, That I might not sin against thee. Blessed art thou, O LORD: Teach me thy statutes. With my lips have I declared All the judgments of thy mouth.”

There are two ways to look at this verse. One when Satan comes to us and tries to pressure us to sin, we can defeat him with the verses we have memorized.

There have also been times I have sat in churches and heard false theology. God immediately brought to mind passages of scripture that I have memorized.

I had the truth buried in my heart. This is a harder step but never skip it. It is the essential step.  


Step Nine Pray for God to change your life.

The Holy Spirit wants to be involved in your life and change you. God has a plan for you. He wants you to reach your potential.

He wants you to be all He created you to be. The Apostle Paul wrote about this in 2 Corinthians 5:17 where he said,


"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!"


God wants you to see what you could be if you were fully dedicated to following Him. Christ Jesus wants to use you to change the world.

And if you allow Him to get rid of the old and take on the new you will reach that potential. That does not happen overnight.

This change takes place over a lifetime. Each day as you study the Bible take the time to ask God to change you. And each day you will change a little more.

King David prayed this prayer in Psalm 139:23-24:

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: Try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.”

What we see in this passage is that David was praying that God would search his heart, search his thoughts, find any wicked things in his heart, and then show him the correct way to live.

This is a prayer we can pray every day when we are reading the Bible. Ask God to help you become the person you were created to be.

This is not an easy prayer to pray. God will ask you to change things you might not be ready to change.

Letting God work in us, and grow us is not an easy thing to do. Of all the steps, this step is the hardest, and the one you are going to want to skip. But don't skip it. This is the step that will humble you.

But don't let that scare you. God wants to confirm you in the image of His son. That is a great and good thing.  


Step Ten Learn in a community and share what you have learned.

This is the final step. Share what you have learned. Where can you share what you have learned?

When I was in Bible College I spent time leading a Bible study in my dorm. As a young parent, I taught Sunday school. I teach my children.

And my family leads a small group for our church. There are many ways to share what we have learned.    

Hebrews 10:24-25 says, And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

As a church family, we need to help each other grow. How do we do that?


 In Colossians 3:16 we read. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

So spend time leading others. Allow yourself to be led by others. Build each other up. Take the time to teach new Christians.

Do what God has called you to do. God is looking for small group leaders, Sunday school teachers, mentors, and parents who are willing to teach others about the Bible.

As you learn more, and grow you are equipping yourself to be the leader you were called to be.

God does not just call pastors to teach his word. He calls every believer to teach his word.  



What is the purpose of Bible Study? Before you can know if you have had a successful Bible Study you need to have a goal.

You will only know if you have reached a goal if you have written it down. Do you want to memorize a certain number of verses in a year?

Do you want to have finished a journal on a book of the Bible? Do you want to have a better relationship with your family? Write down your goals for the year.

And on your birthday check your goals. Have you reached them? Then create a new goal for the next year. Your quiet time can change your life in just a few simple steps. Pick a regular time to read each day.

The study of the Bible is the best study you could ever do. These ten steps will help you to study the Bible the way your pastor does.

You are going to grow as a person in a way that you never imagined was possible. God is going to change you, and use you to be the person he created you to be.