Need to add some pep to your Bible study? Here are 7 different step-by-step Bible study methods you can easily do on your own. We took these methods straight out of the Open Bible Study Notes (KJV and NJKV version!). They are a sure-fire way to get your study of God’s Word headed in the right direction.


In the Bible there are 1,189 chapters in the Old and New Testaments. In a little over three years, a person could make an intensive study of the whole Bible, taking a chapter a day. It is usually a good practice to start your Bible study in the New Testament.

Time needed: 20 minutes.

Study the Bible by Chapters

  1. Read through the chapter carefully.

    Seek to find its main subject or subjects.BIBLE STUDY BY CHAPTERS

  2. Give each chapter a title that suggests its main content.

    If you are reading the Gospel of John, for example, you might give each chapter titles like this:
    – ch. 1 “Jesus Christ, the Word of God”
    – ch. 2 “The Wedding at Cana”
    – ch. 3 “The New Birth”
    – ch. 4 “The Woman at the Well”
    – ch. 5 “The Healing of the Man at the Pool of Bethesda”
    – ch. 6 “The Feeding of the 5,000”

  3. Reread the chapter and make a simple outline.

    Including its main thoughts. For example, for John 1, you might make an outline like this:
    “Jesus Christ, the Word of God”:
    a. Jesus Christ was the eternal Word of God, 1–9
    b. Jesus Christ came into the world, 10–18
    c. John witnesses that Christ is to come, 19–28
    d. John says that Jesus is the Lamb of God, 29–37
    e. Jesus Christ calls His first disciples, 38–51

  4. Take note of any practical or theological problems in this chapter.

    Then, using your concordance, look up the key words in those verses and find out what other portions of the Bible say about this question or problem. Compare Scripture with Scripture to find its true meaning. Usually, to understand a Bible chapter, you must study it together with the preceding or following chapters.



A paragraph is several sentences of thought in writing. When an author changes the subject of emphasis in writing, he usually begins a new paragraph. The beginning of a paragraph in this Bible is indicated by a boldface verse number. Studying the Bible by paragraphs like this is often called analytic Bible study.

Read the paragraph carefully for its main thought or subject.

Rewrite the Text

In order to find the relation of the important words and sentences in this paragraph, it is often helpful to rewrite the text. For example, if you were going to study the paragraph on prayer in the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew 6:5–8 , you could rewrite this text:

And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.”

Make an Outline

From the text you’ve now rewritten so that you can see the relationship of the various parts of the paragraph, it is easy to make a simple outline. For example, using Matthew 6:5–15, your outline of this passage would be something like this:

“Jesus Teaches Us How to Pray”— Matthew 6:5–15

a. How not to pray Matthew 6:5, 7, 8 .
(1) Hypocritically in public, 6:5 .
(2) With useless repetition, 6:7, 8 .
b. How to pray: Matthew 6:6, 9–13 .
(1) In private to your heavenly Father, 6:6 .
(2) Following the pattern of Jesus’ model prayer, 6:9–13

a. How not to pray Matthew 6:5, 7, 8 .

Use a Concordance

It is helpful also to look up in the concordance important words that occur in this paragraph, for example, the words “hypocrites” and “heathen.” By comparing other passages of the Bible that teach about prayer, you’ll be kept from making any mistakes concerning the true nature, conditions, and results of prayer according to the will of God.



In studying the historical passages of the Bible, such as most of the Old Testament or parts of the Gospels, each verse may have only one simple meaning.

But many verses in both the Old and New Testaments are rich with many great Bible truths that will demand more detailed study. There are many ways for you to study a single Bible verse.

Study it by the verbs in the verse.

For example, if you were studying John 3:16 you would find the following verbs: “loved … gave … should not perish … have …”

You could make a comparative list like this:
God loved … Humankind believes
God gave … Humankind shall not perish
… Humankind has everlasting life.

Or simply take the nouns in this wonderful verse: “God … world … only begotten Son … whoever … everlasting life.”

Study a verse through the personalities revealed.

For example, once again taking John 3:16, these very simple but significant points are brought to light: “God … only begotten Son … whoever … Him.

Study a verse by looking for the great ideas revealed in it.

Let us look again at John 3:16 as our example. We might title this verse, “The greatest verse in the Bible.” The following ideas are found in it:

“God”—the greatest Person
“so loved”—the greatest devotion
“the world”—the greatest number
“He gave”—the greatest act
“His only begotten Son”—the greatest gift
“that whoever believes”—the greatest condition
“should not perish”—the greatest mercy
“have everlasting life”—the greatest result

Sometimes a combination of these various ideas applied to a verse will bring the richest results.

For example, take Romans 5:1:

“Therefore”—This verse depends on 4:25. Our justification is based on and is guaranteed by Jesus’ resurrection.
“justified”—made righteous.
“by faith”—method of our justification (see also 3:24; 4:9).
“have”—not future, but present tense—we have this now.
“peace with God”—We were enemies, but now there is peace between us and God because of what Christ has done. “through our Lord Jesus Christ”—the way to peace with God is only through Jesus Christ.



After you have begun to study the Bible by chapters or paragraphs or verses, you will be ready to study the Bible by books. There are several methods of Bible book study.

One is called the inductive method.

This is a method of studying in detail the contents of a Bible book and then drawing from these details general conclusions or principles concerning the contents and purpose of the book.

Another method of book study is called the synthetic method.

By this method, one reads the Bible book several times to receive the general impressions of the main ideas and purpose of the book without attention to the details. (It is sometimes hard to distinguish these two methods.) In some cases the study of a Bible book becomes a historical study, if that book relates the history of a nation or an individual in a particular period of time.

For example, the Book of Exodus tells the history of the children of Israel from the death of Joseph in Egypt until the erecting of the tabernacle in the wilderness in the time of Moses. This covers approximately 400 years.

The principles of Bible book study, whether inductive or synthetic, are very similar. Such study will require more time than the previous methods mentioned, but it will be amply rewarding.

Here are some methods for Bible study by books:

Read the book through to get the perspective and the general emphasis of the book. Then reread the book many times, each time asking yourself a relevant question and jotting down the answers you find as you read. Here are the most important questions to ask:

1st Reading

What is the central theme or emphasis of this book? What is the key verse?

2nd Reading

Remembering the theme of the book, see how it is emphasized and developed. Look for any special problems or applications.

3rd Reading

What does it tell me about the author and his circumstances when he wrote this book?

4th Reading

What does the book tell me about the people to whom the book was written and their circumstances, needs, or problems?

5th Reading

What are the main divisions of the book? Is there any outline apparent in the logical organization and development of the book? During this reading, divide the text into the paragraphs as you see them and then give a title to each paragraph. Draw a line down the right side of the outline and on the other side write any problems, questions, words, or ideas that require further study by comparison with other passages in the Bible.

6th and Successive Readings

Look for other facts and/or information that your earlier readings have suggested. By now certain words will stand out in the book. See how often they recur. (For example, as you read Philippians, you will soon find that the word “joy” occurs many times. This is one of the key words of the book, so note its occurrences and the circumstances surrounding it.)



There are two profitable and helpful ways of studying great words or subjects in the Word of God.

1. Word study by Bible books.

Certain words have special significance in certain Bible books. For example, after studying the Gospel of John as a book and by chapters, you’ll find it instructive and inspiring to trace the words “believe” and “belief.” They occur almost 100 times. By reading the book hurriedly and underlining each passage where the words “believe” and “belief” occur, you’ll understand why Bible scholars contend that the purpose of the Gospel of John is expressed by the author in John 20:31.

2. General word study.

The fine index and concordance in this Bible will be a great help. Through the study of great Bible words, you can soon become familiar with the great doctrines of the Bible and understand the great theological principles which the Bible reveals. With the concordance you might begin with the study of the word “grace.”

By tracing the occurrences of this word through the Old Testament and then into the New Testament, you will come to see that God has always dealt with His people in grace, and you will find in a concrete way the great truth of Ephesians 2:8.


Closely related to the method of study by words is the study according to great topics or subjects: Bible prayers, Bible promises, Bible sermons, Bible songs, Bible poems, and so on.

Or one might study Bible geography by reading rapidly through and looking for rivers, seas, and mountains highlighted in Scripture. For example, the mountaintop experiences in the life of Abraham are a thrilling study.
Another challenging study is to read rapidly through the Gospels and Epistles looking for the Lord’s commands to us.

The list of Bible topics is unlimited.

First, for a topical study on prayer, look up the word “prayer” or “pray” in your concordance. Look up every form of these words and such related words as “ask” and “intercession.” After you have looked up these verses, study them and bring together all the teaching on prayer that you find. You will find conditions of prayer, words to be used in prayer, results to expect from prayer, when to pray, and where to pray.


The Bible is a record of God’s revealing Himself to people and through people. The Old Testament as well as the New is rich in such biographical studies. Here are a few:

  • Noah: Genesis 5:32–10:32
  • Abraham: Genesis 12–25
  •  Joseph: Genesis 37–50
  • Deborah: Judges 4; 5

Let us summarize various methods for studying the great Bible biographies:

  1. Read the Bible book or passages in which this person’s life is prominent, for example, Abraham in Genesis 12–25, plus references to Abraham in Hebrews 11 and Romans 4 .
  2. Trace character with your concordance.
  3. Be careful to note indirect references to the person in other portions of Scripture.
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Did you enjoy this post? Sweet! It came directly from an article on how to study the Bible. We found it inside the Open Bible Study Notes. For over 20 years these accessible study Bible notes have helped readers explore the Scriptures with tons of great information and study helps. It comes in both NKJV and KJV versions.

Features include:

  • Biblical Cyclopedic Index
  • Christian’s Guide to the New Life
  • Visual Survey of the Bible
  • Book introductions and outlines
  • Many other articles

Puchase the Open Bible today and use it in the Olive Tree Bible App.


  1. Joshua Tanko

    Thanks for being part of this study, am truly bless.

    • Vera Ntungwe

      These tips were very helpful. I loved the article. Can’t wait to start putting the methods to practice.

  2. Mr. Manjunath

    Daily routine I do its helpful to me and others God bless 2all ♥️ amen to that

    Take care of yourself
    Manjunath Gidder.

  3. Paul Meshach

    Great!!! Wonderful post and its really Helped lots

    • David Obinomen

      Honestly i have been looking for suitable methods in studying the bible and i believe that this is the best i have found so far. God bless you and continue to give you knowledge and understanding of him.

    • Joanes Sianga

      I wanted to study more the word of God

  4. thank for that

    i am grateful for you helping me analyse the scriptures

    • Annette Coleman Holston

      Thanks for the study guide, very helpful, encouraging and enjoyable.

  5. Thank you for the well explained information. Be blessed.

  6. Hey, I am not a Christian. I have always had this curiosity to know what is written in The Holy Bible. Could you suggest a way I could begin with?

    • Hey, Mansi! It’s usually good to start in the New Testament (I.e. starting in Matthew and then moving forward). Keep in mind that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John ALL tell the story of Jesus’ life on Earth. After reading those, it’s generally fine to keep reading all the way through the New Testament. Some stuff is hard to understand (even for the oldest Christians!), so don’t get discouraged if you hit a few speed bumps along the way. You may not be a Christian, but I would still encourage you to pray to God while reading and ask Him to help you understand. You may not know Him yet, but He knows you, and would be pleased to help you understand His Word if you’re seeking to know Him. God bless!

    • Emmanuella Adzaho

      You can begin with the gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John for the new Testament.
      Start with Genesis for the old testament.
      You can read specific chapters from each side daily

  7. Victor Downs

    Very good and helpful, fantastic. Thank you very much.

  8. Oyoyo Kingdom

    Very simplified. I will apply them. God bless you

  9. Cloud able to know many important suggestions.Thank you very much.
    Let my Lord help me to understand the deeper meaning. Pray for me as I desire to
    Know Him more closely. I am an old man of 74 yrs.

  10. Ishaku Andrawus

    This article just saved me the stress of studying without understanding. Thanks very much for this, the Lord Blesses you.

    • Dum Victor

      All thanks to God who gave you insight on how to study His word, with this, I will be focused and we’ll guided in my study of the word.
      Thank you so much.

  11. Bill Otto

    Hallow! I am very grateful to learn this methods, I believed it will help me to study the Bible and understand by the leading of the Holy Spirit. When it helps me I Will be happy to share with others fellow Christians …Thank you very much and God bless.

  12. This was so good!! Thank you so much for posting.

  13. Maggie Kangethe

    This was brief and elaborate, Very important information on effective bible study for all believers.
    God bless you.

  14. Akwei Richard

    Thanks alot but I want to follow u on Twitter or Facebook
    U have really make my Bible studies approach simple

  15. I’ve been reading through the Bible verse by verse, reading Gill’s exposition for each verse as I go. Is that a bad way to do it?

    • Monty Galloway

      As someone once said, “the best Bible is the one you read.” I think as long as you are in the Bible daily, the method itself doesn’t matter that much.

  16. AMEN! AMEN!AMEN! I’m so happy I found this after years of not really understanding how to truly do Bible Study. Thank you so much, may the Almighty bless your soul. Thanksssss:)

  17. Samwel Okoth Rege

    Enter your comment here..You are truly a blessing to me,i now have the idea on how to study and even teach the word of God,God bless you

  18. William H Howard

    Reading the Bible is wonderful but I need guidance in the best way for me to study The Word Of God

    • Monty Galloway

      This 7 step blog is a great way to get started studying God’s Word.

  19. Thanks alot, it’s ready helpfull, God bless u

  20. Wow! What a great, in-depth article on the different ways to study the Bible! You did an excellent job in preparing and presenting this information! I wrote an article (not yet published) on my website about the SOAP Bible study method and I’d like to write one on the best ways to take notes when studying the Bible, but the topic is a bit overwhelming because I’m a huge notetaker! I have notebooks, journals, and diaries full of notes all over our house! It’s like, where do I even begin on this topic? Do you ever feel overwhelmed when writing something like this? If so, how to combat the anxiety of too much information to condense it down to write one article on the subject? I’d love to hear more! I love your website and am learning so much. Thank you for sharing!! Michele <3

    • Michael Potter

      I totally understand the “too much information” anxiety. While I didn’t write *this* article, I do write for Olive Tree. Some of the posts I’ve done start out wayyyyy longer than they needed to be because I just want to fit everything in there. One tip I would give you is to consider your audience. If you’re writing to new Christians, then you need to slow it down and keep things simple. When writing SOAP, give your genuine observations and a simple, pointed application. If you’re writing to those who have done more advanced study, you can get more complex as long as you keep your thoughts organized! Try to make your observations and application point to only 1-3 topics. you don’t have to be exhaustive. Using different sized headers really helps! Also, you can start small and build on it later. We have three blog posts on Romans 8, for instance.

      • Michael,

        Thank you so much for the suggestions. I did write it more for a beginner audience (The SOAP Bible Study Method article), but I plan to write a follow-up once those readers get a chance to try the method themselves. For this one, I would like to show examples of how to use the method. I think this would help readers better understand (if they could see examples). Keep up the great work here, and thank you for the blessed encouragement!!

        All the Best,

  21. Thanks so much for making this partern of biblical study available.

  22. Extremely clear and helpful
    More Grace! and God Bless!!