What’s the difference between reading and studying the Bible?

Have you ever wondered if there’s truly a difference between reading and studying your Bible? You will definitely benefit from reading through a chapter in Proverbs or Romans, but is there more that you could be missing?

The answer is: Absolutely. Reading the Bible is so important, though it is packed with meaning that could be easily overlooked if you’re simply zooming through verses and chapters. So, how do you really study your Bible?

David Mathis shared the basics of Bible study in a short video on Desiring God, and if you’re looking to go deeper into the Word of God, this is a perfect place to begin.

Pause and look for God’s meaning. While you can read your Bible at a normal pace, studying requires you to slow down and ask, “What is God saying in this chapter?” Often times, God’s meaning in a particular passage might be very different than our own meaning.

Expect Bible study to be hard work. Mathis compares Bible reading to raking leaves, while Bible study is more like digging. It will definitely require more time and effort, but when you dig into the ground versus raking, you will find more treasure.

Ask questions and look for connections. Certain words that may seem simple at first can actually carry more meaning than we realize. Asking questions about the use of even the simplest words like “so” and “therefore” can reveal a lot about what God wants for us. Also, if you see a repeated phrase, look up the other verses where the phrase is used and look for connections.

Ask for God’s help. The most important part of studying God’s Word is asking for His help. Through prayer, He may send a friend, a pastor, or even a book your way that would help you understand His meaning in scripture. Mathis also says that often, through the work of the Holy Spirit, God will open your mind to help you see His way of thinking, which will ultimately stengthen you in your walk of faith.

See the full video below:

(H/T: Desiring God)

Caitlin Jordan is the assistant editor for TheCourage. While she loves small towns and the great outdoors, she lives with her husband, Ryan, in the big city of Dallas, Texas. She is passionate about the importance of transparency and loving those that disagree with Christian beliefs. You can follow her on Facebook and  Twitter.


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