Read Multiple Versions
I am not a Greek or Hebrew scholar so reading the Scripture in the original language is not an option for me. I do know that these languages have more descriptive words than the English language, therefore sometimes a word could be translated with several different English words and still be correct. Reading different versions helps me get a fuller picture of what the Original really meant.
Something to keep in mind though is that not every translation/version is the best (they are translations after all). Try to pick accurate versions that stay close to the original text.
The KJV, NKJV, NASB, ESV, HCSB are all literal translations and those who do know how to read the original language tell me they are very solid, accurate choices.
Some other versions aren’t necessarily wrong but some are paraphrases or general thoughts instead of detailed translations. These can be good for getting a broad brush stroke but I wouldn’t say they are the best for deep study.
Read the Same Book Multiple Times
Reading the same book or same passage over and over again has been SO helpful to me! Sometimes I miss things on the first go around and I learn more after reading the book five or six times. This also helps me internalize the Truth better and I find myself meditating on the book and remembering to apply it to everyday life more easily.
Often times I will read the same book or passage in each of the versions I mentioned above. Never think there is a big rush to read through the Bible. Take your time and dig down deep.
Read Multiple Commentaries
Again, I’m not a scholar so I like to hear what other wise people have said about the Text, people who have studied the time period and culture as well as the original language. Different commentaries have different perspectives or word things in unique ways. You can really learn a lot by comparing commentaries. You can find many free commentaries online. I highly recommend John MacArthur’s commentary and study Bible.
Just be careful that the commentaries you are choosing have a solid Biblical foundation. There are many false teachers out there. Also, keep in mind that even the best theologian is not perfect. Make sure to lay everything against the Word of God to see if it is true.
Talk About What You Learned Multiple Times
After reading a book or passage multiple times I naturally begin to see how it applies to my life and the lives of others. When I see these principles I try to share what I’m learning with others. Sometimes this is in a conversation with a friend, in a letter of encouragement or in a blog post. When I verbalize or write out what I’m learning I find it sticks with me better and I continue to meditate on it for a longer period of time.
There are so many good Bible study tips and I didn’t even begin to mention them all but I hope these were helpful to you. I know they have been very beneficial to me.
What is your favorite Bible study tip?