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Bible Study for Couples: Why and How to Study the Bible Together

Bible Study for Couples in prominent font, along with four highlighted resources from the article. Text partially extends to the right

So you’re in a relationship and want to start a Bible study with your significant other, but you have a lot of questions. What’s a good Bible study for couples? How should a couple begin reading the Bible? Which partner gets to pick what you study? How can you lead a Bible study for couples?

And why bother—isn’t individual Bible study enough?

What will a good couples Bible study do for you?

A good Bible study will always do three things for you.

1. It will help you know God

The Bible is ultimately a story about God. So a good Bible study should help you know this God better—who he is, what he’s done in the past, how he’s working today, and what his plans are for the future.

If you approach the Bible merely looking for a tidbit of truth to give you a better marriage relationship, you may indeed find it. But you won’t be studying the Bible as God intended. It’s like using a laptop as a writing surface for your pen and paper. The laptop will serve your immediate purpose, but using it as a desk ironically ignores the laptop’s capability and power.

Jesus warned the religious leaders about this danger when he said, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life” (John 5:39–40). A good Bible study will lead you to a deeper knowledge of the God of the Bible, and so stir your affections to love and worship him more.

2. It will help you understand God’s Word

The very best Bible studies will not only help you learn more about a particular book of the Bible but will aid your understanding of Scripture as a whole story from beginning to end. “All Scripture is breathed out by God” (2 Tim 3:16), and all of it ties together. There are so many threads weaving together the plan and purpose of God from Genesis to Revelation. A good Bible study for couples will make these threads more visible not only in the immediate book you’re studying, but as you look at the whole story of Scripture.

3. It will instruct you how to live according to God’s Word

The Bible is a book about God. But this God is a personal God who wants the best for his creation. Through his Word, he tells us how to achieve his best—how to experience a life that can be characterized as blessed and happy.

Blessed is the man who walks not according to the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers, but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on this law he meditates day and night. (Ps 1)

A blessed life is found through a relationship of belief in Jesus that is evidenced by obedience to the specific instructions found in his Word. A good Bible study for couples will teach you about God and his Word, and in doing so, it will be intensely practical for your daily life.

Where to start a Bible study for couples

The Bible is a large volume composed of sixty-six books. How can you know where to start?

The magic 8-ball approach

You can always close your eyes, flip open the Bible at random, and read whatever passage your eyes land on first.

But don’t!

Think about it this way: Would you ever attempt to glean knowledge from a textbook by using the “random plucking” method? Doing so would ensure a spotty knowledge of the topic at hand. When we begin Bible study with this approach, we achieve a similarly sketchy result.

The planned approach

To understand the Bible as a single story, it is better to study an entire book than to pluck out random verses. Perhaps you would benefit, as my husband and I have, from using a through-the-Bible plan. There are so many free plans available online—reading through the Bible in a year, going through the New Testament in six months, chronological reading, and other variations.

Find out how to set up a reading plan for any Bible (or any book) in the Logos Bible Study app.

If this is your first time approaching Bible study, you may prefer to start with one book of the Bible, aiming to read one chapter each day. You could start in the Gospels—the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—and read all about the life and works of Jesus while he lived on earth. Or perhaps you’d prefer to begin in Proverbs because it’s intensely practical and easy to apply to your life.

Wherever you choose to begin, it is vitally important that you approach your couple’s Bible study in two ways.

1. Approach with dependent prayer

The Bible is God’s holy Word. Though he used humans to write the words, it is described as “God-breathed” and a book that is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb 4:12). There is no other book that can claim this status. As such, we cannot approach the Bible as we would any other book.

After the writer of Hebrews describes the properties of God’s Word, he tells us that we can come boldly to God’s throne to ask him for help (Heb 4:13). Before we approach the Bible, we must come to God in prayer and ask him to help us understand and learn from his Word. We don’t want to simply be hearers (or studiers) of the Word, but obedient doers (Jas 1:22). Beginning your Bible study with prayer is critical because you’re not only asking God for help, you’re reminding yourself that you need his help.

2. Approach the Bible with humble curiosity

Some people treat the Bible as an object of superstitious power. In this view, if one simply drags their eyes across the words, a magical effect will transform their life. In truth, the Bible can transform your entire life. But there’s no superstition involved. The supernatural power comes from God’s Holy Spirit, who works in your heart as you apply your mind to the study of his Word.

How do you apply your mind in Bible study? Be curious. Ask questions. Don’t assume you know it all.

How much can you teach someone who’s convinced they know everything? Absolutely nothing. With Bible study, if we approach the text assuming we already know everything it is going to say, we’ll learn nothing. If you’ve grown up in a church that teaches the Bible, you are most susceptible to this danger. The quickest way to stunt your growth is to presume you have all the answers. So come to the text with questions and don’t give up until you have resolutions. (For a list of three questions to ask during Bible study, check out this podcast episode I did with my husband—specifically this section.)

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How a Bible study can grow your marriage

Often, a marriage relationship can begin well, but somewhere down the road both partners begin focusing on trivial matters. Arguments arise over small inconveniences and before you can say, “I do,” you’re wondering why you ever tied the knot in the first place.

Engaging in Bible study as a couple will bring several benefits.

1. It will remind you of what is truly important

Couples Bible study will remind you what is truly important. There’s a whole world outside your life and marriage—a world that needs to know the love of Christ as displayed in your relationship with your spouse. Every couple has disagreements, but as you focus together on the truth of Scripture, God uses his Word to bring all of life into its right perspective. It’s possible to be so taken with the daily minutiae that you can’t see clearly to a resolution. Studying the Bible as a couple will remind you of the big picture: who God is, how he is working to change you—even through the disagreements that can be so unpleasant! I’ve often found that when my spouse and I take time to focus on God’s Word for our marriage, the trivial things that had seemed to be earth-shattering don’t seem that way anymore.

2. It will change you from the inside out

Though you shouldn’t approach Scripture merely looking for “3 Ways to Improve Your Marriage Overnight,” good Bible study will undoubtedly change you over time to become a better spouse. When you approach Scripture prayerfully and with humble curiosity, the Spirit of God works through his word to transform your entire life. He doesn’t merely change what you do: he changes who you are. Perhaps you once felt like you had to grasp for any scrap of significance and security you found. But when you believe in Christ, you discover that there is no greater significance or security than being a literal child of God.

What more can this world provide than what you already have in Christ? Knowing this and living by it changes everything about you.

Once you lived like you were your own. Now you belong to God, and because of his never-changing love for you, you want everything you do to please him—not just the things people see you doing, but the hidden motives and desires of your heart that are only visible to him. Good Bible study will change absolutely everything about you, making you a spouse who resembles the humility and love of Christ more and more each day. When you have first-hand experience of the servant-hearted love of Christ, you are more willing to serve your spouse because your fulfillment is not coming from a spouse who sometimes “serves you back,” but from Christ whom you can never out-serve. Who wouldn’t want to be married to someone like that?

How to lead a Bible study for couples

If you are tasked with an opportunity to lead a Bible study for couples, here is some final, practical advice.

1. Remember the goal

First, remember the goals for Bible study that we talked about in the beginning of this article. A good Bible study will lead you to a better knowledge of God, or his Word, and of how to live according to it. Keeping these goals in mind will enable you as you pick a study that will serve your participants (whether it’s just you and your spouse or a larger group).

2. Be a fellow learner

Nobody wants to sit under a Bible study leader who acts like they’re perfect. Indeed, the message of the Gospel is that you’re so far from perfect that you couldn’t even save yourself. A good Bible study leader approaches Scripture with dependent prayer and the same humble curiosity the participants are supposed to have. You’re the leader, yes; but you’re also a fellow learner. So think of your role not as a leader who has arrived to a higher spiritual plane, but as a fellow learner who needs input from those around you just as much as they need yours.

3. Bible study for couples is not just for those who have time

By this point, I hope you’re convinced that Bible study for couples is not a nice extracurricular to do if you’re newly married without kids or retired and looking for a way to fill time, but a vital habit for every Christian couple. If it’s beneficial for one person to engage in Bible study, how much more profitable is it for a couple to study the Bible together! “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” (Eccl 4:9–10). By engaging in Bible study as a couple, you will equip yourself to lift your spouse up when they are down, and so serve to make your marriage stronger than ever for the glory of God.

Resources to get you started

Faithlife Study Bible

Faithlife Study Bible

Regular price: $0.00

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Proverbs

Proverbs

Regular price: $9.99

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ESV Study Bible (Bible and Notes)

ESV Study Bible (Bible and Notes)

Regular price: $44.99

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Mobile Ed: PD151 Do This Not That to Transform Your Marriage (4 hour course)

Mobile Ed: PD151 Do This Not That to Transform Your Marriage (4 hour course)

Regular price: $149.99

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Cherish Video Study

Cherish Video Study

Regular price: $38.99

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A Couple's Guide to a Growing Marriage: A Bible Study

A Couple’s Guide to a Growing Marriage: A Bible Study

Regular price: $7.79

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Devotions for Dating Couples: Building a Foundation for Spiritual Intimacy

Devotions for Dating Couples: Building a Foundation for Spiritual Intimacy

Regular price: $12.99

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Uncommon Marriage Bible Study

Uncommon Marriage Bible Study

Regular price: $7.14

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Couples of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study to Draw You Closer to God and Each Other

Couples of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study to Draw You Closer to God and Each Other

Regular price: $12.99

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Selections from the Psalms: A Life of Worship (Not Your Average Bible Study)

Selections from the Psalms: A Life of Worship (Not Your Average Bible Study)

Regular price: $4.99

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Sermon on the Mount: Living for God’s Kingdom (Not Your Average Bible Study)

Sermon on the Mount: Living for God’s Kingdom (Not Your Average Bible Study)

Regular price: $4.99

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Written by
Christa Threlfall

Christa Threlfall is a pastor’s wife, mother of four, and the author of Come to Jesus. She enjoys reading, filling her home with plants, and exploring New Hampshire. You can follow her on Instagram and sign up for her monthly letter.

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Written by Christa Threlfall