As much as I love my daily quiet time, sometimes I can get in a rut with Bible reading. Open, read, pray, rinse, repeat. When that happens, I know I need to mix it up. These 10 ways to make Bible study interesting are creative and engaging to refresh your quiet time.
10 ways to make Bible study interesting
1.Try a new Bible.
My go-to Bible has years of underlines, margin notes and dates in it. Precious as they are, they can keep me from reading scripture with fresh eyes.
This year, I bought the Charles Stanley Life Principles Bible. The pages are untouched and because I’m not distracted by old notes or markings, my eyes are drawn only to God’s words, not my own.
It will be some time before the clean pages of this Bible naturally fall open to beloved passages. New lessons and sermon notes will eventually line its margins, it’s truth guiding me through new challenges and seasons. But for now, it’s like breaking in a long friendship, one morning at a time.
2. Try a different translation.
You don’t have to buy a new Bible to use a different translation. Dozens of translations are available through a free app like Bible Gateway. The online tool Bible Hub has multiple side-by-side versions to amplify and flesh out the meaning of a verse.
Some of the different Bible translations I enjoy comparing are the J.B. Phillips New Testament (loved by Elisabeth Elliot), the New Living and the Berean Study Bible.
3. Write it out.
Scripture writing is copying by hand a Bible verse or passage. It’s a simple but powerful practice. Handwriting scripture slows us down to focus on each word, its meaning and its application. It helps us reflect on a passage, untangle multiple clauses and even memorize it.
You can choose one verse each day from your Bible reading to copy or use a scripture writing plan. Here’s a scripture writing plan for grief I created.
4. Add some color.
One of the best tools for rejuvenating Bible study is to color code scripture. Adding color keeps us from glossing over scripture and and helps to focus on key points and better understand a passage.
I first learned to do this in Precept studies. I now use a simpler method, underlining key words with these no-bleed, archival colored pens:
Green: denotes any time or place
Yellow: anything said by God or Jesus
Pink: anything said by a person or a reaction by any person
Red: any gospel-related verses
Purple: anything related to heaven or kingdom
Black: general information
Blue: any promise or principle
5. Meditate on one verse.
Colossians 3:16 says we’re to “let the word of God dwell in us richly.” One way to do this is to meditate on scripture, writing one verse from our Bible reading on an index card and carrying it with us through the day. We can prop the card on the window sill while doing dishes or pull it out in car line.
I’m always amazed that as I sit with a passage and continue asking God for more, he gives me deeper layers of insight with connections and elements I didn’t see on the first or second read through.
6. Ask key questions.
Pastor Adrian Rogers said the Bible will come alive when we pray over it, ponder it and then ask six questions:
- Is there a promise to claim?
- Is there a lesson to learn?
- Is there a blessing to enjoy?
- Is there a command to obey?
- Is there a sin to avoid?
- Is there a new thought to carry with me?
These questions helps us engage with the Bible as a living book instead of a history book. I can only imagine a journal filled with daily answers to these questions from a lifetime of Bible reading.
7. Create a personal concordance.
Adrian Roger’s questions would lead perfectly into the seventh way to get more out of Bible reading: create your own concordance. A concordance is a topical list of scripture passages.
When I was in deep grief after Dan died, God’s word became my very food. I was desperate for hope and comfort and daily found it in scripture. That’s when I began creating my own concordance, keeping a list of God’s promises, gospel passages, the names of God and more.
Want to know what God says about money or parenting or heaven or suffering? Begin a concordance personal to you as you read through the Bible.
8. Pray the scripture.
In addition to reading the Bible, we can also pray it. It’s a great way to apply the word to our heart and circumstances.
Praying scripture uses the words of a Bible verse or a Bible passage to guide our prayer. It’s a powerful way to pray for several reasons. Praying scripture keeps our mind from wandering, broadens how and what we pray and helps us pray the will of God.
9. Read it in Hebrew or Greek.
Listen, I haven’t been to seminary and I don’t know Hebrew or Greek, but I do regularly use a Hebrew and Greek Bible. Not just for a word study, as helpful as that is. I like to read an interlinear Bible.
An interlinear Bible is the original Hebrew and Greek text alongside an English translation. It’s a word for word translation. The original Hebrew and Greek not only give full meaning to words that often have no English counterpart, but reading an interlinear Bible illumines the whole passage by showing emphasis, word order and verb tenses in the original.
I use the qBible Hebrew-English transliteration of the Old Testament and Bible Hub Greek-English interlinear Bible for the New Testament. Both sources contain additional word study resources like Strong’s linked in the text. These have been invaluable resources in my Bible study!
10. Read it for you.
This may be the most simple and powerful way to re-invigorate our Bible time. Sometimes we read the Bible for someone else. “Oh, I need to text this verse to Mandy,” we think. Or, “If only my child/mom/spouse/boss/sister/neighbor would take this truth to heart.”
It’s easy to outsource a lesson God means for us. Or to study the Bible only in preparation for teaching.
But when we open the Word because we alone are desperate for God and we alone need to hear what he has to say, the Word will come alive. Our heart will be chiseled, our sin brought to light, our faith strengthened and our love for the Father deepened more and more and more.
When quiet time becomes stagnant, incorporate one or more of these approaches to refresh your Bible study. God’s Word is living and active and studying the Bible is, as Pastor Adrian Rogers said, “joyful, thrilling work.”