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How to Study the Bible

9 Tips to Get More Out of Your Study


Effective Bible Study Practices

Studying the Bible is an important part of the Christian life, but it’s a part that all too often gets swept under the rug and pushed off until a later date. Even if you take the time to read the Bible every day, how often do you really make an effort to study it?

Effective Bible study practices give people like you the opportunity to learn more about God, faith, where Christianity came from, and how the Bible applies to everyday life.

That being said, if you’re looking to learn how to study the Bible (or how to study the Bible better), this guide is for you.

We’ll cover nine essential best practices for studying the Bible effectively, conveniently categorized into three overarching sections.

How to Study the Bible for Beginners

Studying the Bible can be overwhelming at first, especially if you don’t know where to start. But whether you’re new to studying the Bible or you’ve been at it for years, there’s always room to improve. That being said, these first three tips can be useful to beginners and experts alike.
In fact, sometimes the best way to draw new insights from well-known passages is by going back to the basics with a fresh mind. Here are three best practices to begin (or refresh) your Bible-studying journey:

  • 1. Scan headings before reading text
    One of the simplest yet most powerful tips for better Bible study involves making it a practice to read the headings before each passage. These short phrases are often overlooked, but they actually hold a wealth of information!
    Whenever you come to a new Bible passage, always look at the headings in the text—those topical summaries that appear in many editions of the Bible. You might read a few headings leading up to your particular text for that day and maybe even a few headings following it.
    This way, you can easily get a better understanding of the context surrounding the single passage you’ve selected and can consider that knowledge when determining the true meaning of a text.
    These headings weren’t in the Bible in the original manuscripts, so they aren’t divinely inspired. Instead, skilled Bible interpreters chose the wording and frequency of headings. They’re a bit of an art form, not a science. Think of headings as breadcrumbs that can guide you toward a passage’s deeper meaning.
    The importance of headings
    Let’s look at the descriptive headings surrounding “The Rich Ruler” pericope in Luke 18:18–30. The ESV broke out the pericopes here perfectly—each paragraph being a self-contained unit.
    Now, glancing through the headings, do you see any that share something in common? Do two or more stories or sections address a similar subject matter? This strategy is particularly helpful if you are already familiar with the pericopes’ basic contents, but you can apply it nonetheless.
    Keeping with the example of Luke 18, you might point out repetitive subject matter concerning riches, wealth, and money. It may perhaps be present in “The Pharisee and the Tax Collector” (9–14). It certainly dominates “The Rich Ruler.” And when you read the verses under the headings, you even see it in “Jesus and Zacchaeus” (Luke 19:1–10) and in “The Parable of the Ten Minas” (Luke 19:11–27).
    Now, continue to ask yourself questions like these:
    Is riches/money a theme in Luke’s Gospel here or elsewhere?
    Did Luke put these pericopes in close proximity on purpose?
    Is there meaning to be found in the juxtaposition or order of these pericopes?
    There’s no definite answer here. This can work as a useful tool to dig deeper into analysis, but it’s not a set of inflexible rules for determining all aspects of a biblical author’s intent with ironclad certainty. However, without spending a little time examining the context, you’ll miss some valuable insights and meaning.
    Sometimes, numbered verses and chapter divisions can lead you to think, “Okay; now that’s done—on to something new!” But remember: Luke didn’t put that number there; Christian tradition did. Consider looking at text like this as a whole and see if you can locate links between these stories.
    Here’s what we can learn
    In “The Rich Ruler” pericope, Jesus tells a rich man to sell all his goods to inherit eternal life and enter the kingdom of God. He then compares the process of rich people getting through the gates of God’s kingdom to camels getting through the heads of needles.
    This is nothing short of astonishing, though people raised in Sunday School may need to briefly forget what they know about the Bible to register the appropriate shock—and raise the appropriate questions:
    1.
    Can rich people become followers of Jesus at all?
    2.
    Does everybody have to sell all their stuff to enter the kingdom?

    This is where (after crossing the artificial chapter break) the wee little man Zacchaeus comes in. He shows that the answers to our aforementioned questions are yes and no, respectively.
    Jesus doesn’t require Zacchaeus to sell all his stuff. Zacchaeus certainly volunteers to make a major outlay, but it doesn’t extend to all he owns.
    The point is that real repentance takes a bite out of your bottom line, whatever it is that you value. Not everyone’s bottom line is financial. The prodigal son had to give up his selfish immaturity (Luke 15); Paul had to give up his Pharisaic pedigree (Phil 3:4–8); David had to give up his righteousness façade (Ps 51).
    And when you do choose Christ over your earthly desires, you’re in. You’ve entered the kingdom. What was lost is now found. You’ve had to make a major outlay, giving up things you previously valued. But you’ve gained a treasure—in Christ.
    The bottom line
    Now, you might ask why there are two pericopes between “The Rich Ruler” and “Jesus and Zacchaeus.” No one really knows. They don’t follow the same themes of wealth or repentance. Their presence may, in fact, indicate that the contextual connection that has been drawn between “The Rich Ruler” and “Jesus and Zacchaeus” was not actually present in Luke's mind.
    However, if you make it a regular practice to scan the headings and look for contextual connections, you’ll find them. And that can help you study the Bible in new and illuminating ways.

  • 2. Try to understand the historical context
    The Bible we know and love today was originally pieced together from passages written in three distinct languages on three different continents spanning more than 1,300 years. And yet, it tells one cohesive story from beginning to end.
    However, understanding the Bible and its intended meaning can be quite difficult, especially when it comes to certain long-disputed passages. That’s where having a solid foundation of historical knowledge comes in handy.
    The importance of historical context
    You don’t have to be an ancient Greek scholar or an expert in the historical Roman culture to have picked up a few key ideas here and there. This is especially likely if you’ve grown up in church, hearing the same stories over and over throughout your life.
    And that’s a good thing because having the proper historical context surrounding a Bible passage can mean the difference between effectively applying a lesson to your own life and coming to a false conclusion. Or, you might just gloss over a passage that could be extremely relevant to your own life and studies if only you were aware of the historical background.
    Here’s what we can learn
    Let’s go back to the story of Jesus and Zacchaeus (originally told in Luke 19 and further discussed in the previous section).
    In this passage, Zacchaeus is referred to as a wealthy tax collector, and later by a disgruntled Jewish passerby, a sinner. And while all people are considered sinners (Rom 3:23), an inexperienced Bible reader might miss the connection between the two titles given to Zacchaeus (tax collector and sinner).
    That’s because today, we probably don’t consider every member of the IRS to be a terrible sinner by default. Sure, we might not like it when they come to collect our taxes each year, but we know they’re only doing their job.
    So why does everyone in the Old Testament consider Zacchaeus to be such a sinner that they’re shocked when Jesus invites him to dinner? That’s where the historical knowledge of tax collectors in Jericho comes in handy.
    In Bible times, tax collectors were widely known for the way they stole from the Jewish people and kept a significant portion of collected “taxes” for themselves. And because Zacchaeus was considered wealthy, it’s implied that he had done a good bit of thieving to collect his fortune.
    That being said, the Jewish people were appalled that Jesus would associate himself with “sinners” like Zacchaeus, even though Jesus goes on to explain that was the whole point of his coming!
    The bottom line
    The entire Bible is interconnected, whether you realize it or not. Although it might be tempting to skip over any questions you have rather than investing the time to do a deep dive into the topic, ignoring your questions can be dangerous. Without digging into a passage you’re studying, you can leap to misinterpretations that lead to misapplications of God’s Word.
    To avoid such a phenomenon, it’s a good idea to look deeper into a passage’s historical background to determine the context in which it was written.

  • 3. Incorporate prayer into your study time
    Healthy relationships are fueled by dialog—ongoing, honest, two-way conversations. Without open lines of communication, a relationship withers. Nowhere is this more true than in our relationship with God.
    He speaks to us through the Scriptures, the very words of God preserved for us over many centuries, and he invites us to speak to him through prayer. This is a remarkable invitation. The God of heaven and earth invites us to speak directly to him, and he promises to listen.
    Despite all this, most believers seldom pray honestly. We might pray regularly, at least bowing our heads while the pastor prays, but it becomes much more difficult to speak honestly with God when no one else is listening.
    The importance of prayer
    A. W. Tozer puts it like this: “We cannot seem to get our minds into good working order, and the first thing we have to fight is wandering thoughts. The great battle in private prayer is overcoming this problem of our idle and wandering thinking. We have to learn to discipline our minds and concentrate on willful, deliberate prayer.”
    Incorporating prayer into your Bible study is a great way to learn more from God’s Word and to build a strong relationship with him. It’s how you share what’s on your mind and ask God to enlighten you as to his future plans.
    Here’s what we can learn
    Getting into the habit of honest, consistent prayer is crucial, especially when you’re learning how to study the Bible because these things often go hand in hand. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you begin to adopt this essential skill:
    Avoid solely mimicking what you hear. If you grew up in church, you may be familiar with a particular style or cadence of prayer. There is nothing wrong with this kind of style, and it can be useful to help us learn to pray. But if you never pray in your own words, it misses the point. Prayer is one half of a conversation. It’s your chance to speak directly to God. Speak as yourself, not as someone else.
    Keep a list. A prayer list will help you stay organized. If you have an affinity for lists, chances are you’re already doing this. If you don’t self-identify as a “list person,” we recommend you keep just this one list. A written list, whether physical or digital, can keep you from making an “I’ll pray for you” promise that you forget to follow through on.
    The bottom line
    First Thessalonians tells us to pray without ceasing (1 Thess 5:16–18). When you understand your need for prayer, you humble yourself before God and grow in your earnest desire to know him and his Word. And luckily, Matthew shares with us this encouraging reminder: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matt 7:7).

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How to Study the Bible on Your Own

Perhaps you’ve spent some time learning how to study the Bible in groups or in church settings and now you’re ready to venture out on your own. Or maybe you don’t have much Bible-reading experience but have been inspired to begin your own journey!
Either way, knowing how to read the Bible on your own can be a valuable life skill that prepares you to take your personal walk with Christ into your own hands. These next three tips should be a major help as you begin to take that next step:

  • 4. Be willing to put in the work
    One of the most relevant scholarly quotations about the hard work of seriously engaging the biblical text—what we popularly call Bible study—is that of the renowned Greek lexicographer, Frederick W. Danker. Danker famously said, “Scholars’ tasks are not for sissies.”
    He was right, and yet many Christians don’t have this attitude when it comes to studying the Bible. Of course, we want to believe that the Bible is accessible to anyone and everyone—and it is, as long as you’re willing and able to put in the work.
    The importance of dedication
    The truth about serious Bible study is that it isn’t easy. It takes sustained time and effort—often measured in days, weeks, and months, rather than hours and minutes—to really grasp what a passage means and why. That being said, if Bible study doesn’t seem like work to you, you aren’t really doing it.
    Thinking of serious Bible study as work can take the pleasure out of it for some people. But you don’t have to choose between enjoying your study of Scripture and doing in-depth research to grow in understanding.
    People who are really good at or knowledgeable about anything enjoy their area of expertise because they put in the work. Whether it’s mastering an instrument, becoming a chef, or fielding countless ground balls in practice, people at the top of any given field only reached that station after thousands of hours of effort.
    People who make those sorts of sacrifices when it comes to the study of Scripture have counted the cost. They decided that the exertion wasn’t going to deter them. In other words, they weren’t sissies.
    Here’s what we can learn
    Do you really want to know Scripture better than the average person? Do you really want deep comprehension of this thing we call the Word of God? If you do, let’s start with the basics: the goal of Bible study isn’t to get a spiritual buzz.
    First, let’s get the obvious out of the way. We’re not suggesting that emotional responses are antithetical to serious engagement with the Bible.
    What we are suggesting, however, is that if you’re doing Bible study to feel a particular way or get some spiritual high, then your Bible study might be too self-focused.
    Nowhere are we taught in the Bible to “search the Scriptures to feel a certain way.” Ultimately, Scripture is about God—what he did, what he is doing, and what he will do—not about you. You’ll never appreciate God’s story if your story—and solving your problems—is all you focus on when you study Scripture. Comprehending God’s story can go a long way toward addressing your problems, but the reverse will never be true.
    The bottom line
    Many Christians have been told that the real point of Bible study is to learn about Jesus and to follow him. However, we believe that knowing how to study the Bible—and effectively doing so—is so much more than that.
    The answer to why women were considered unclean during menstruation (Lev 15:19–24) or what the Urim and Thummim were (Exod 28:30) or why some English translations of John 5 don’t include verse 4 have nothing directly to do with Jesus. Yet the fact that they’re in the Bible means they’re just as important and inspired as any passage that is overtly about the Lord.
    Bible study is about learning what it means when we say that this book is divinely inspired. Knowing what all its parts mean will give us a deeper appreciation for the salvation history of God’s people and the character of God.

  • 5. Look to the Spirit for guidance
    If you’ve watched a sporting event on American television at some point, you no doubt have seen players either ask God for success or thank him for it. Athletes today regularly do things like point to the heavens after crossing home plate or finding themselves in the end zone. Some will bow in a short prayer. It’s a nice sentiment and, for many, a testimony that transcends a token gesture.
    But let’s be honest. Unless that football player gets in shape and memorizes the playbook, all the pointing to heaven in the world isn’t going to lead to success. You can say a short prayer on the mound or in the batter’s box, but unless you can hit the curveball, you’re going to fail—perhaps spectacularly. The same goes for effective Bible study.
    The importance of the Spirit
    As Christians, we know we are reliant on God for everything—and that includes our spiritual growth. Every time we open the Bible, we need the Spirit of God to illuminate the Word of God so we can understand and live in light of the spiritual realities inside.
    According to John 14:26, “The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” John writes that the Spirit is a teacher—and there are a hundred more verses that say something along the same lines.
    Clearly, the Spirit is an important aspect of learning how to study the Bible. However, the Spirit’s guidance wasn’t intended to serve as a cheat sheet.
    Here's what we can learn
    All too often, people who sincerely want the feeling of knowing Scripture aren’t willing to put in the time and effort it takes to get there. Instead, they’ll take short cuts and then expect the Spirit to take up the slack.
    The assumption seems to be that the promise of the Spirit to guide us into truth means he’ll excuse a lack of effort and give us the answers we need. The third person of the Trinity isn’t the boy sitting next to you in high school that lets you cheat off his exam. Instead, it’s something like the teacher in that same high school class who wants you to learn, grow, and succeed—and is there to help you do so—but expects you to put in the effort on your own. (Now, don’t take this analogy too far—we will finish learning from the Spirit in the same way that we can make a good enough grade to graduate to the next class.)
    The bottom line
    Rather than substitute the Spirit for personal effort, ask the Spirit for insight to expose flawed thinking when you’re engaged in Bible study. Ask the Lord to remove distractions from your mind so that you can fully dedicate yourself to God’s Word.
    The more of God’s Word you’ve devoted attention to, the more the Spirit has to work with.

  • 6. Use available Bible resources
    Learning how to study the Bible can seem like a big undertaking. Luckily, there are thousands of resources available that can help you learn to study effectively and faithfully. Between various Bible translations, dictionaries, concordances, devotionals, and other useful Bible study tools, you likely have a plethora of items at your disposal that can help you expand your Bible knowledge.
    The importance of Bible study resources
    Often, you might come across a Bible passage and feel lost about what it’s trying to say or how it’s supposed to apply to your own life. That’s when Bible resources can come in to provide unique and valuable insights into your studies.
    Much like putting on a pair of glasses with the right lenses can help you see more clearly, even the most mundane sounding passages can carry great meaning when you use a different lens. Bible study resources can work like lenses to help you adjust your focus and get a better, more accurate look at the big picture.
    Here’s what we can learn
    Americans today have unprecedented access to the Bible, and yet the vast majority of us let that go to waste. Using high-quality and innovative Bible study tools can help you learn more about the Bible in new and exciting ways.
    Here’s a basic rundown on some of the most important types of Bible study resources you should invest in:
    Study Bible: A study Bible is great for providing additional context for each verse or Scripture passage, either alongside or beneath the text itself. For example, a study Bible might share a brief historical background that will help to illuminate the meaning of the passage.
    Concordance: A concordance is a fantastic Bible resource for making connections between similar passages throughout the Bible. For example, a concordance might look at all of the references to the Holy Spirit across the entire text.
    Commentary: A commentary is written by a well-regarded church leader or preacher to share their own interpretations of a passage. For example, a trusted pastor might write and publish their thoughts on the Gospel of Luke and explore the story of Jesus and Zacchaeus in greater depth.
    Bible dictionary: A Bible dictionary is great for learning more about various people, places, and ideas mentioned throughout the Bible. For example, you might use a Bible dictionary to research all the mentions of “Samaria” and draw connections between passages.
    Bible software: You can often find all the resources above—and many more—in powerful Bible software like Logos. It’s one easy-to-use, centralized place on your computer or mobile app where you can read the Bible and dig into deeper study anywhere, anytime. For example, Bible software can help you study particular words in Scripture, read your Bible and a commentary in a side-by-side scroll, or keep track of your sermon notes and journaling.
    The reality is, you only get good at something with lots of practice, and even if you have the right tools, they won’t do you any good if you don’t use them. But if you’re willing to put in the work, you’ll start seeing improvements in your time studying the Bible.
    The bottom line
    With Bible software like Logos, you can pull up a handful of different Bible translations, compare passages and themes across the entirety of the Bible, and find out what world-renowned experts have to say on a subject in just a few clicks. And if you’re not making use of these powerful tools, you’re more than likely missing out on the true power of God’s Word.

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How to Study the Bible with a Group

Studying the Bible in groups is a wonderful thing, but sometimes it requires an entirely different approach than an individual study might. That being said, learning how to study the Bible with a group is a valuable skill to learn. After all, almost the entire Bible was written to a group of people, rather than a single individual.
Whether you’re a Bible study leader looking to help your disciples grow in powerful ways or you’re a member of a group seeking knowledge and insight to get more out of your communal studies, these tips can help:

  • 7. Place an emphasis on fellowship
    Studying the Bible in groups can be a wonderful thing, but it can also be challenging to find a happy medium between time spent devoted to learning the Bible and time spent getting to know each other. You want to grow, and you know having a solid Bible study group is a part of that. But there are so many factors that determine whether or not a Bible study group is the right fit for you.
    Make no mistake—if you want to grow spiritually and get the most from your Bible study group, relationships matter. If your group lacks a fellowship component, you really might as well be studying on your own.
    The importance of fellowship
    Fellowship is a connection deeper than basic friendship. It’s founded not on worldly experiences but on shared spiritual values—like prayer, faith, love, and Christ.
    The word used for fellowship in Acts 2:42 denotes sharing something. It goes on to say that “the early church formed a tight community based on what they had in common spiritually and physically.”
    Consider this note from the Faithlife Study Bible on that same verse, Acts 2:42:
    “The early church’s fellowship is evidenced by their communal meals. The breaking of bread could allude to participation in the Lord’s Supper. In such a case, their unity focused on the person and work of Jesus.”
    Thus, fellowship has been crucial since the days of the early Church and is something that we still ought to emphasize in our churches and other group settings today. The stronger we grow in fellowship with each other, the more we can begin to look like Jesus and his original apostles.
    Here’s what we can learn
    Fellowship is often positioned as a formal Christian term for “friendship.” It’s a nice word you use to tell someone that you value your relationship with them.
    But true fellowship is so much more than that. Fellowship is born out of shared faith, and it helps you grow personally in prayer, wisdom, and love. Fellowship isn’t some elusive quality you hunt for and discover—it’s the interaction of a community of believers.
    Like friendship, the more experiences you share, the stronger your fellowship grows. The more you pray, eat, grow, and live together, the more your Bible study reflects the biblical relationships it’s modeled after.
    You can learn a lot about people when you take the time to relate with one another. Likewise, you can learn a lot about God when you invest in other people this way.
    The bottom line
    When your small group agenda looks like a checklist (confession, prayer, Bible, prayer), it can make people feel like check marks, too. Don’t let your small group get stuck in a routine. Instead, break the mold by having fun and building lifelong relationships together.
    In the group of people you choose to share life with, you should feel free to share about your life—not just where you are today but the events that made you who you are. The more honest you are with yourself and your peers, the more you discover just how much God loves you. Be open. Be honest. Share your lives with each other.
    Sometimes when people have the freedom to say whatever is on their mind, they say things we don’t agree with. Unless what someone has shared is damaging, don’t correct them. The way you respond to someone else’s thoughts can either inspire people to speak freely or cause them to shut up for fear of getting called out.
    If someone says something that you have to respond to, try gently redirecting the discussion or saving your thoughts for a private conversation after your meeting. But those instances should be rare. Most of the time, one of the greatest benefits of group Bible study is having the opportunity to learn from others who might see things differently than you do. Be sure to go into it with an open mind!

  • 8. Set meetings on a regular basis
    Sometimes a person’s best friends are the ones they can go years without seeing and still feel like nothing has changed when they’re reunited. Your lives can move miles apart, but your friendship transcends time, distance, and even silence.
    But that’s not how effective small groups and Bible studies work.
    The importance of consistency
    Sure, you can hop into any group that’s studying the Word and know that you’re going to learn something. You might even be comfortable talking about God and sharing your life in a setting like that, even if you don’t see everyone regularly or know anything about anyone beyond the name written on their sticky name tag.
    But if you go weeks or months without connecting with your small group, how can they hold you accountable or keep up with what’s going on in your life? How can you continue to learn and grow from (and with) a small group of like-minded individuals? It would definitely be difficult, if not impossible.
    Here’s what we can learn
    The more frequently you meet with your small group for Bible study, the more intimately involved you can be in each others’ lives. And going back to the importance of fellowship between believers, this is a key aspect of an effective Bible study.
    That’s because you can follow up on prayer requests or ask about an ongoing struggle or temptation someone has been dealing with. You can actively walk through life together instead of getting a summary a month later.
    Meeting each week—or even biweekly or monthly, whatever you decide—can encourage members to treat your group like a consistent part of their personal schedules. And that way, they’ll be more likely to attend regularly.
    Finally, when you do come up with a set schedule, try to keep to it as best as possible. That means only canceling or rescheduling when it's absolutely necessary!
    The bottom line
    Everyone is free to choose to come to your small group or not. It’s safe to assume that people choose to come when they feel the small group is beneficial. And when your group tends to meet on a more regular basis, individual members are more likely to carve out time to be there.

  • 9. Bring your Bible study online
    It’s amazing how quickly we learn to adjust as circumstances swiftly change around us, as demonstrated clearly with the rise of COVID-19. The things we thought would be a hurdle for later (i.e., moving your church, Bible studies, and small groups online) are now a must-do. Thankfully, readily available technology has helped us to continue supporting our communities, even if it looks different than it used to.
    The importance of online Bible studies
    If you’ve led or even been a part of a small group amid the COVID-19 outbreak, you surely understand the importance of online Bible study resources. However, these tools have been the key to successful communities even before the coronavirus outbreak and will continue to serve small groups in the future.
    Even post-pandemic, you’ll find advantages to virtual Bible study solutions. For example, online Bible studies allow members to join in even if they’re physically unable to make it to a meeting, whether that’s due to scheduling conflicts, illness, etc. Plus, powerful technology empowers you to build deeper relationships with members throughout the week, rather than relying on an hour a week to study the Bible and pray together. Nobody can meet every day to discuss your latest Bible passage, so having an online hub for your Bible study group allows brilliant conversations to take place regardless of your physical locations.
    That’s why expanding your studies to the online realm is such a good idea. Here are just a few ideas for engaging with your Bible study members online:
    Ask for prayer requests. One of the best ways to support one another during difficult times is by praying both during group meetings and throughout the week. Although that seems obvious, let’s not forget that prayer makes a difference in our hearts and our world. If you are worried about how COVID-19 impacts your small group, you might have that be the starting point for prayer. Your online small group can be a safe space for group members to share what’s on their hearts and minds.
    Upload or link your church’s sermons and notes. If your church posts its sermon online, you can link to it in your small group. Or better yet, if your church uses Faithlife to record and stream sermons, you can encourage your group to watch or listen to it right from your small group platform. Then, be sure to encourage members to discuss the sermon within your small group.
    Share Bible verses, quotes, or something you’re learning. The coronavirus might be at the forefront of our minds right now, but that doesn’t mean your group has to be consumed by it. What can you do together to focus on God? For one thing, you can continue with your small group study. Post Bible passages, discussion questions, and videos on social platforms with the group so people can follow along. What are you learning personally? Share that with the group. Are there verses that particularly comfort you right now? Share those too!
    Make it fun! Sure, your online small group isn’t the same as meeting in person, chatting, and catching up over snacks. However, you could still play a quick game at the beginning or ask a fun icebreaker question. You can even take a virtual walk—each person can share photos of their families or interesting things they see on their route.
    Here’s what we can learn
    If you’re looking to bring your small group to the virtual realm, we suggest leveraging Faithlife’s powerful online church software. Here’s a quick step-by-step breakdown of how to create a free online Bible study:
    Step 1: Get started right here. Click “Sign In,” then create your free Faithlife account on the page that shows next. It’s super simple: only requiring your name, email address, and password.
    Step 2: Create a small group. You’ll see the Groups dropdown and a plus sign on the left side of the screen. Click the plus sign to create a new group, then choose “Small Group” from the list. Follow the prompts for your group name and location.
    Step 3: Adjust your group’s privacy settings. Faithlife lets you control your group’s privacy settings. In your group, click the three dots at the top right, next to the invite button, then click “Settings.” From there, you can make your group “Public” (anyone can find and follow the group), “Private” (anyone can find and ask to join the group), or “Secret” (only people you invite can find the group).
    Step 4: Create your first post. You can write a short welcome and intro to the group, then pin it to the top. That way, when you invite your small group to join you on Faithlife, the first thing they’ll see is your pinned post.
    Step 5: Invite your group members. At the top right of your group, you’ll see a blue button that says Invite. Click it, then either add the email addresses of your Bible study or small group members or click “Add Contacts” to upload a .csv or .xls with your group members’ email addresses.
    Now that you have your online Bible study group set up, be sure to get your members on board and begin to make use of the ideas mentioned previously in this article. You’ll be able to encourage each other in ways you might have never thought possible!
    The bottom line
    Just because many of us can’t gather at our churches doesn’t mean we can’t still have good, meaningful conversations.
    You’ll want to model the kind of engagement you want to see. If you want people to post prayer requests, you should post prayer requests. If you want to share pictures or do a Bible reading plan together, you need to lead the way. When it comes to trying something new, being the leader means going first instead of waiting for others to share.

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Building a Strong Foundation

Knowing how to study the Bible—and then actually following through with it—can make a significant difference in the life of any believer. We believe these tips can help you to build a strong foundation of Bible-reading skills to set you up for spiritual growth, whether in community with other believers or on your own.
And don’t forget: having the right Bible study tools within reach can be a huge help as well.