Tag Archives: Bible Study

Bible Study Ideas

BIBLE VERSE OF THE DAY: “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.”  – Romans 15:4

3 Fresh Ways to Study Your Bible
by Amy Green

Whenever the Bible talks about spending time with God through reading the Word, it’s never in the context of a burden. I don’t know about you, but I could use more hope in my life. Here are three fresh ways to study your Bible:

1. Praying the Bible
This method is just what it sounds like: Take a passage of Scripture and read it, line by line, pausing in between to pray its truth for specific people and situations in your life. The psalms are great for this, since they’re written as prayers. (Even the ones where David wishes death to his enemies can be turned into prayers about the destruction of sin in your own heart or evil in the world like terrorism, human trafficking, or poverty.)

This method is less about interpreting the passage and more about using its words to bring requests before God and to praise him for who He is. Try pausing between each verse and lifting up specific people and situations that relate to the words there. If you find it hard to focus in your time praying, this might be helpful for you.
Need a place to start? Try praying through Isaiah 35Psalm 27, or Philippians 2.

2. Walk with Jesus through the Gospels
My friend once gave me this advice: If you’re going through a spiritually dry time, read through the Gospels and write down what you learn about Jesus. That’s it. Nothing fancy. It seems so simple that it can hardly be called a “method,” but at the same time… how often do we page right by the familiar stories of miracles and parables?

How long has it been since we let Jesus surprise us? When we ask what it means to follow Jesus today, do we have a clear picture of what that looks like?

All of that and more can be found when taking this exercise through each of the four Gospels. As Christians, we’re called to be disciples and imitators of Jesus. The best way to know what your faith should look like is to get to know him better.

3. Coordinate with Your Sermon Series
Take a sermon series that your church is starting and dive deeply into a parallel study. If it’s exegetical (preaching straight through a book or part of a book), read the passage before the sermon on Sunday. If it’s topical and you don’t know for sure which passages you’ll be going to, pick a portion of the Bible that has a lot to say about that topic and read through it a little at a time.

This is a great weekend devotional practice to get into, and unlike some of the other methods, it is usually pretty short, since pastors don’t often tackle massive chunks of Scripture at one time. There won’t be any “spoilers” for the sermon, but it’s amazing how much easier it is to engage in church when you’ve spent time focusing your heart on the subject ahead of time.

Editor’s Note: Portions taken from the article, “10 Fresh Ways to Study Your Bible,” written by Amy Green. You can read that piece in full here. All rights reserved.

Your Life is Your Time

Charles Stanley

Ephesians 5:14-17

Our lives are governed by time. That’s why we’re surrounded by clocks and calendars that dictate our activities. As the minutes tick by, we wonder where the day went. When responsibilities and pressures mount, we complain, “I just don’t have time to get it all done!” But the reality is that God has given us enough time to do exactly what He’s planned for our lives. Perhaps the bigger issue is whether we are using our time to do our will or the Lord’s.

Time is a gift from God, and He has allotted each of us a measure in which to live and accomplish His purposes.

We have only two options—to spend it temporally on our own interests or invest it eternally. Since time can never be retrieved or reversed, it’s critical that we make the most of every opportunity the Lord provides.

The key to investing in eternity is following God’s plan for your life, not just filling your days with activities. Jesus was allocated just thirty-three years of life on earth, but only the last three were spent in fulfilling His Messianic ministry. To us that seems like a waste of time. Yet Christ accomplished everything His Father gave Him to do. That’s why on the cross He could say, “It is finished” (John 19:30).

Scripture compares earthly life to “a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14), but eternal life never ends. It’s foolish to spend your life on a vapor when you can reap everlasting benefits by following God’s will for your time here. Each day is an opportunity to choose.

God Works Within Us

God Works Within Us

Ephesians 3:20-21

Let these words slowly sink into your understanding: “able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think” (v. 20). What an amazing description of God’s ability to work within us.

Yet so often our focus is mainly on what we want Him to do around us: If He would change this situation or fix that problem, then my life would be better. But He invites us to think and ask bigger—He wants to change us!

The Holy Spirit has more than enough power to transform lives from the inside out, but working change within is usually a slow process. Spiritual fruit takes time to grow and mature. That’s why we need patience and faith to believe He is working even when we don’t see the results right away. God is never in a hurry and will never give up on us.

The Lord has a purpose for your life, and He is constantly working to achieve it. Although He has an individualized plan for each one of His children, He also has an overarching goal—to conform every believer to the image of His Son Jesus Christ. In order to accomplish this, He may have to bring us through some struggles and heartaches. It might make no sense to us, but God knows exactly what He’s doing.

What would you like to see the Lord do within you? As you read the Scriptures, look for qualities that God considers precious, and ask Him to work them out in your life. Then rely on His wonderful promise to do even more than you have asked or imagined.

The Best Beginning for the Day

By: Lynn Cowell

“Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.” Psalm 143:8 (ESV)

As the morning sun peeks over the hill, spilling sunlight into the room, I want to soak in this moment, for I don’t how many more I’ll have.

I take in the scene that is not new to me but is ever so precious.

With my Bible in my lap, I sit on one end of the couch. There on the other end, also with her Bible in her lap, is Mom. Quietly, side by side, we begin our day with Jesus, each practicing the words of David: “Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul” (Psalm 143:8).

After a while, a natural conversation begins as we share with each other what we’re learning.

For over 50 years, my mother has begun her day this way, and I have had the privilege of seeing her do so. When she came to know Christ in an intimate way in her mid-30s, she began this practice, building the firm foundation of faith she stands on today. It’s the same discipline she taught me by simply modeling how to spend time with Jesus first thing in the morning.

Though my kids are now all grown and have homes of their own, I’m continuing the pattern of modeling what I learned from Mom. When my kids wake on the mornings they’re visiting, they find me in my chair, reading God’s Word and talking to Jesus. Often, my “good morning” greeting as they come down the stairs leads to a conversation about what I’m reading and what Jesus is teaching me that day. We’ll talk about what God is up to and how we see Him at work.

These are my very favorite mornings, when I have the opportunity to live out Psalm 145:4, which says, “Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts; let them proclaim your power” (NLT). I cherish these moments with my children, just as I cherish my moments with Mom.

You may not have learned from your mom to make reading and studying God’s Word a daily habit. Maybe your spiritual teachers have been neighbors, friends, Bible study leaders and pastors. Maybe you’ve joined Bible studies, read His Word through an app and memorized Scripture sent by text from a friend. The important thing for each of us is to make the Lord and His Word our priority. God’s Word sets the course for our day, empowering us to live out the day before us while honoring Him.

I’m so grateful for what Mom lived out before me. I see the benefits of poring over God’s Word day after day. Nowadays, when Mom doesn’t feel well or strong, she can shut her eyes, and her heart can recall His words. She can meditate on His Truth because she has hidden it in her heart for years and years, and we can continue our conversations of where we see God working.

I hope Mom and I have many more opportunities to read our Bibles side by side, but even if we don’t, I can rest assured that, as I keep talking to Jesus on earth, Mama will be talking to Jesus face to face.

Jesus, thank You for all of those in our lives who have taught us Your Word and taught us how to study Your Word for ourselves. Bless them. Show us who we can in turn teach as well as proclaim Your power to. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

A Prayer for When You Can’t Decide

by: Kristine Brown

“Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken.” – Psalm 55:22

“Are you going to enroll your son in public school, or do you plan to homeschool?” the realtor’s question hung in the air for several minutes. I hadn’t even considered our options. Now as we searched for the perfect place to call home, panic threatened. How had we forgotten possibly the single most important detail of our relocation?

Until then, our son happily attended part-time preschool at the local church. If we could’ve just stopped time and stayed in this place forever, I would’ve been fine with it. But life doesn’t stop for job changes, growing kids, or moving to a new town. And with changes come tough decisions that must be made.

I’ve never been a stellar decision-maker. In fact, letting my husband handle all the big decisions had become a habit. But learning to trust God begins when we learn to take our decisions – our cares – to Him. Give God control, and trust Him with the outcome.

“Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken.” Psalm 55:22 NIV

Psalm 52:22 sq

There are times in our lives when we take our problems to God in prayer, then hear clear direction from Him on which path to take. Then, there are those other times. When we pray continually but feel like God doesn’t hear us at all. We may think He’s letting us figure it out on our own, but if we know God will never leave us or forsake us, why doesn’t He answer? How do we make a decision without hearing from God?

God’s Word distinguishes between His plan and a path. We know He has a plan for us, as it states in Jeremiah 29:11. We can also rest assured there may be choices to make. So whether our family chose homeschooling, public school, or private, God would be with us as long as we kept Him at the center of our lives. “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” (Proverbs 19:21)

When we bring our decisions to Him, God assures us of His steady, guiding hand. He will help us decide.

Are you agonizing over a big decision today? Do you fear making the wrong choice? God hears us. Let’s take those cares to Him in prayer. We can trust Him with the decision, the direction, and the outcome.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Your Word tells me “all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:16) Thank you for the good plans you have for me and for guiding me through every difficult decision.

Lord, forgive me for taking control of this decision, agonizing over which path to take. I’ve let so many voices drown out Your voice. I want to hear You above all else, but the weight of responsibility over this decision consumes me. You “know my anxious thoughts.” (Psalm 139:23) I give this burden to You today and trust You to guide my path.

“You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.” (Psalm 139:5) I have nothing to fear because You are with me. As You help me to choose the right path today, I pray You will bless the journey and use it for Your glory alone. Thank you for your promise to protect me and my family. I trust you with the outcome of this decision. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Day 14 of Ephesians

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

Ephesians 6:10-20

Paul began this letter to the Ephesian Christians on a high, cosmic scale, and he finishes in the same way. I suspect that this is because he knows that we can focus so much on the ‘here-and-now’ that we forget the big picture. I suspect that we need to be drawn back to the cosmic context for who we are so that we can continue to plug away day-by-day. 

Put simply, with our identity assured (‘in Christ’), with the household of God gathered, with the rival to God beaten (‘the ruler of the kingdom of the air’), nothing would please God’s enemies more than to see God’s household splinter. Like a headless snake who thrashes around, and whose severed head can still bite, the devil is attacking. And God has given us the resources to stand firm as his assured household, with our identity secure against him. So, walk fearlessly by standing firm!


There are seven tools mentioned here: belt, armour, sandals, shield, helmet, sword, and prayer. In the next seven days, read the reference to each and write down one way you will use that tool on that today.


Father, thank you that you provide all I need, all we need, to stand firm against anything this world and the devil might throw at us. Grant us the confidence we need in the tools you have already provided, and the gumption to use them. Amen.

Day 13 of Ephesians

Ephesians 5:22-33

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.[a] 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Ephesians 6:1-9

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Bondservants and Masters

Bondservants,[a] obey your earthly masters[b] with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free. Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master[c] and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.

Whilst this section is often found controversial (and I can understand why!), I think this much is clear; God’s household is to live in its individual households based on the family traits of love and submission. This is a very helpful realisation; each of the households of the household of God must be a place where God’s love is represented faithfully. 

Moreover, in each household the design is set by God and who we are rather than anything else. In a context of ‘the days are evil’ (5:16), we need this reminder of where our design template comes from. Here is a spur to do what you are doing now: reading God’s word, meditating and praying. In our marriages, in our relationships as families, in our workplaces, our identity in Jesus is to be displayed by our reliance on his design of love and submission (v5:21).


Pick one of those three relationships described in the passage and write down three ways in which mutual love and submission could be displayed by you.


Father, thank you that you speak clearly to your household. Please grow in me a delight in the way you love us so that this same love is seen in my household. Amen. 

Day 12 of Ephesians

15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Ephesians 5:15-21

Walking is not a simple action, although it looks simple. Living as God’s household is not a simple action either; but when it works, it is wonderfully simple in its goodness. 

As Paul starts to round out his letter to the Ephesian Christians, he turns his attention to their households: the big one of God (5:15-21), and each of their individual ones (5:22-6:9). This is so important because of the times we live in, even the nitty-gritty of our everyday lives matters. We must not waste a moment. We must be wise, navigating the world as God designed it. 

Amongst God’s household as we gather, this means that we are ‘speaking’ God’s word to each other, ‘singing and making music’ to God, ‘thanking’ God for everything, and ‘serving’ each other constantly. That is not easy, is it? That is why Paul has made sure we know the resource God has given to us to make it work; he himself will live with his household to achieve this aim (v.18).


Take one of those ‘-ing’ words of verses 19-20, and spend some time writing down what that might look like for you as you spend time with God’s household this week.


Father, you have welcomed us into your household. And the days we live in are limited, often broken and we desperately need wisdom. Thank you that you dwell with us by your Spirit to make your people a wise household. Amen.

Day 11 of Ephesians

 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Awake, O sleeper,
    and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.” Ephesians 5:6-14

There must have been an immense amount of pressure in Ephesus to tiptoe through life as a Christian. After all, this new identity ‘in Christ’ would have clashed with the temple of Diana on the hill, the Roman Emperor cult that flourished, and even the Jewish synagogue down the road. 

God doesn’t call his mob to walk with a small footprint – we are to ‘walk as children of light’ (v.8). Light is hard to hide (v.9). Light exposes (v.11). Light is obviously NOT darkness (v.11). In fact, light makes clear (v.13). And so, Paul states clearly that God’s mob are not sleepwalkers through life; they leave a big footprint wherever they go, pointing to where their identity lies.


What is the difference between ‘walking’ as children of light or being obnoxious? What is the point of the walk of the children of light?


Father, you have taken me from darkness into light, the light of forgiveness, grace, goodness and truth. This is all your work, from love, in Christ. Please help me to walk as a child of light, reveling in the goodness of the truth of grace, and graciously exposing darkness. Amen.