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As I’ve participated in the National Bible Bee over the past few years, I’ve become more aware of the various study approaches people have found helpful. We all have different ways in which we learn, and there are a variety of unique habits and strategies that can be developed in order to better understand scripture for ourselves. 

Since God has given us more than one method to dive into His Word, we can choose to discover which ones best work for us. An approach that I’ve found particularly helpful is by creating what I like to call “study pages.” I’ll first print out a copy of the passage or chapter that I’m studying from the computer. Usually I provide lots of space between the verses so I have room to insert my personal notes and highlights along the way. 

Then, I’ll take a sheet of blank paper and fill it with everything I can learn regarding the topic, passage, or chapter I am studying. I also like to memorize the portion of scripture that I’m studying at that time.

Some things I look to compile onto my study page include cross-references, historical facts, Greek and Hebrew words, definitions, and even my personal notes and observations from what I’m reading. Writing this down helps paint the bigger picture of the passage. I find these “study pages” helpful, especially for future reference. If a friend happens to bring up the topic of the “Kingdom of God ” and wants to know my thoughts on it, I can show them my study pages where everything I’ve studied is in one place. 

Taking the extra time to personalize my study notes has enabled me to slow down and meditate on God’s Word. For example, handwriting cross-references is something I particularly enjoy, but it can often be time-consuming. However, in taking the time to patiently go through God’s Word, the verses that I write down repeatedly go through my mind until they sink in. I’m allowing myself to truly think on scripture, instead of just reading over it quickly.

To personalize and organize things, I’ll often color-code while I study. For example, blue represents my favorite verses or ones I have memorized, while pink is for cross-references or key words. Feel free to check out a 2020 National Bible Bee Alumna, Annalysa Cagasan’s post on color-coding, here! Fun handwriting and simple calligraphy are also things I’ll incorporate into my studying to make the pages come to life even more.

By the time I’m done with my study pages, I have several once-blank papers filled with verses, colors, truths, and observations. Developing one of my personal favorite study habits alone has caused me to learn more than words can explain. I can say from experience that it’s not easy to forget the verses you take time to type or write, study, personalize, understand, memorize, and apply. As you’re studying the Bible this summer, don’t hesitate to jump in with both feet and try out different approaches to see what works best for you. If you love music, consider putting your passages to song. If you’re a writer or an avid reader, use those interests to launch you into your discovery. If you’re known to be creative, use that creativity to bring your studying to life. Using creative methods to study God’s Word can cement into your mind the truths you’ve learned for years to come. What are some of your favorite ways to study God’s Word? How can you personalize your studying this summer?

Written by NBB Alumna: Hannah Kohner