Let me start by saying, I love the Bible app. I am signed up for two daily Bible reading plans online. Most days, I wake up, roll over, grab my phone, and read from these plans. On the days when I oversleep, or I have to get up and be out of the house right away, I’ll use the Bible app to read the Bible while I’m waiting for an appointment or waiting for Jamie to finish a meeting while I wait in the car.
Because it’s so portable and convenient, the Bible app has helped me remain consistent in my daily Bible reading. Let’s be honest, the accountability part is a big help, too!!
Still, as much as I love the Bible app, a few months ago, I started to notice that even though I was reading the Bible online, I wasn’t retaining as much as I wanted. Instead, I found myself “scrolling” through my daily Bible reading, much like I “scroll” through the news app or social media. I was checking the box saying I did my reading, but I didn’t feel like it was touching my soul.
So I decided it was time to change things up and add reading from a written Bible to my Bible reading plan. (I’m still reading from the Bible app, too.) Because I couldn’t read the small print on the Bible I had in the house (middle-age eyes) and wanted a fresh perspective without old underlines and notes, I purchased a new Study Bible. After asking for many recommendations, I chose the Fire Bible in the ESV version. (It’s also pink and pretty.)
Then I decided that I would not set daily goals like through the Bible in a year with this new tool. Instead, I’ve chosen to read SMALL PORTIONS SLOWLY.
Some days, I read just one chapter at a time. Other days I read only a portion of a Scripture at a sitting.
Why so slow?
Because I wanted to use this new tool to not just “read” but actually “study” the Bible.
Yes, I know that this topic scares a lot of people. They hear the phrase Bible study and automatically think, “I don’t have time for that.”
This is a lie from the enemy who wants you to get overwhelmed and quit. The truth is that you can make the time for 15-30 minutes of Bible study every day.
Another lie the enemy tells us to overwhelm us is, “Bible study is too hard. It’s not for everyone—it’s for preachers, teachers, and Bible scholars.”
Again, this is a lie.
Bible study is necessary for everyone. It is the only way to understand the Bible, who God wants you to be, and how He wants you to live. Studying the Bible is the only way to discern truth and obey Biblical principles in a world filled with lies and twisted theology.
It is absolutely essential for every believer.
Here’s how to get started:
First, choose a portion of the Bible that you want to study.
Like Netflix, you can spend all day scrolling through the options but it's useless until you pick something to watch and turn it on. Don’t overthink it. Just pick a passage and get started.
Next, choose a study Bible.
As I said, I chose the Fire Bible because it is written from a Pentecostal perspective. I’ve also used the Life Study Bible. Other recommendations we received are:
-NKJV Comfort Print Spirit-Filled Life Bible
-Nelson Study Bible
-Note Takers Bible
-Thompson Chain Reference Bible
-Life in the Spirit Study Bible
Thirdly, choose a time to study the Bible.
There’s no perfect time to read the Bible. We all know our own schedules. You know when you have 15-30 minutes of time. Odds are it’s different than mine.
However, one thing I know for sure, if you don’t plan to study the Bible, you won’t study the Bible. So take a moment, look at your schedule, and plan when you will study the Bible.
Another thing to think about is WHERE you can study the Bible. Maybe you have a coffee spot or a chair in your room. In the summer, I’ll find any excuse I can to spend time on the back porch. Whatever works for you, find a private place, a comfortable chair, and make it your Bible study spot.
The cool thing about the first three steps is you only have to do them once—now you’re ready to start studying the Bible.
How do you actually study the Bible?
1. Start by reading through a few verses of Scripture.
Studying begins by reading through one portion slowly so that the words can sink into your soul. Most study Bibles do the work for you by dividing chapters into small portions.
2. Read the notes in your study Bible regarding the portions you read.
3. Underline the parts that stand out to you.
4. Write down a few notes in a journal or on a computer regarding what you’ve learned.
That’s Bible study—not just scrolling through but taking the time to read slowly and learn more about each verse.
Here’s another step you can take: Find a good Biblical commentary and read what it has to say about the verses you read. Again, repeat underlining what stands out to you and write notes about what you’ve learned.
Personally, I use the Zondervan NIV Study Bible. I’ve also used the Hayford Bible Commentary, The MacArthur Bible Commentary, The Expositor's Bible Commentary and More. There are many commentaries available in both book for and online.
These are valuable tools in which theologians have done much of the technical work of deciphering the Hebrew and Greek, researching the historical context, and explaining the Bible in easy-to-understand language. Commentaries and study Bibles pass this knowledge on to us so that we can understand what the Bible says and apply it to our lives.
I can guarantee you that it will be worth the effort.
Since I’ve gone back to reading a study Bible not just for work but as part of my devotional life, the parts of the Bible I’ve studied have come alive to me. Even though I’ve studied the Bible for years, new things still jump out at me each time.
As I’ve been reading less…..
Taking time to ingest and study and meditate on what each small portion means….
I’ve been challenged, I’ve been inspired, and I’ve been learning more about God, His Word, and even myself.
I want you to experience the same thing.
So I encourage you—read the Bible—about all else, read the Bible.
Then go a step further and study it.
Don't let the enemy overwhelm you with lies that you don't have time or it's too hard. You can make the time, and it really isn't difficult at all.
I promise you, it’s worth the time, worth the financial investment in a study Bible and commentary, and worth the commitment.
Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life.
When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry.