What is the best way to study the Bible?
I’ll make a few basic suggestions, but the best thing is for me to suggest a few books that deal with Bible study methods or how to study the Bible.
First, I’d suggest reading and rereading a passage or a book to get the gist of the message and the context. Familiarity with the text is vital. Another a good procedure is to read through the Bible once a year to continue to familiarize yourself with its total message. Another help is to have a study Bible such as The Ryrie Study Bible or NIV Study Bible or The Nelson Study Bible and read the notes as you read the text. All of these are excellent. I’d highly recommend the new NET Bible, which has extensive notes. The NET Bible can be viewed on our web site, downloaded and in print. On our website you can find Greg Herricks lessons on "How to Study the Bible for Beginners":
As you read the Bible, pay special attention to the context and the argument of the writer. Ask and answer questions like: Who is writing? To whom is he writing? Why is he writing? Is there a problem he is addressing? What is the purpose and theme of the book? You can ask this last question of every paragraph and chapter as well as for the whole book. Another help is to read a commentary and a survey to get the overall view of the book you are studying. You will find a concise survey of the entire Bible on our web site under “Bible Studies / Old and New Testament.”
May I also suggest the following: The Joy of Discovery by Oletta Wald and especially, Living By the Book by Howard G. Hendricks and William D. Hendricks. Dr. Hendricks was one of my profs at Dallas Seminary and taught Bible study methods for years. This is his specialty and anything he writes is exceptional. In this book he discusses ten strategies for reading, things to observe and principles of interpretation and application. Both are super books. You can purchase them online through www.amazon.com or through the Dallas Seminary bookstore at www.dts.edu. Then click on Shop Our Online Bookstore.