Sean McDowell | February 26, 2016

What is the Best Way to Study the Bible in Our Busy Times?

SEAN: Dad, you’re pretty busy, how do you find time to study and learn the Bible?

JOSH: I take a verse and I try to live it out and think about it the entire day. I think about it and meditate upon it throughout the day. And when I approach the Scriptures I like to ask, “What is the truth presented here? In the context, what is the truth?” Second, “How does it apply to my life?” Third, “How can I live it out?”

Sometimes I find a conflict between the Scriptures and my will, which makes it tougher to live out since I have a choice about being obedient. They key is to internalize the truth constantly. I approach prayer in the same way. I don’t take long times in prayer, but I pray all the time, without ceasing. And as a result I am consciously aware of my walk with Christ.

SEAN: What are the most common mistakes you see people making in terms of studying the Bible?

JOSH: The primary mistake I see people making is in terms of what they select to believe and follow. This involves selecting interpretations that fit into your view, not what fits into the biblical worldview, selecting that which is convenient rather than what is difficult, hard to live out, and selecting that which brings peace, not that which might bring conflict. We’re always told as Christians you should always bring peace, but not at the expense of right from wrong. Christ brought conflict everywhere He went, but He made peace between individuals.

SEAN: Do you have any specific advice or tips for people to how to study the Bible better?

JOSH: First, just read it! And find a version you like. For me I like the New Living Translation and the New American Standard Bible. But the NET Bible, New English Translation, others, are also excellent.

Also, read a passage three, four, even five times. Always ask yourself, “What is it really saying?” The key issue is what is really means, not what I want it to say. Then I ask myself what it meant to the people whom Paul, Jesus, or another biblical writer was addressing. And then, does it mean the same thing today? Truth doesn’t change, but application does. And then finally, I usually like to share that truth with two or three people that day, because when I share it with somebody else I learn it better myself.

Sean McDowell, Ph.D. is a professor of Christian Apologetics at Biola University, a best-selling author, popular speaker, and part-time high school teacher. Follow him on Twitter: @sean_mcdowell, TikTok, Instagram, and his blog: