How to Study the Bible for Beginners – Staying Focused
“Focus,” I said to my five-year-old son. Outside the world was green and brown with the forest behind our house. He noticed a squirrel jump onto the ledge of the backyard deck. The window was right in my Kindergartener’s line of sight. “Let’s switch places,” I responded. After gaining his focus, I struggled to keep it.
I couldn’t get too mad at my son because I was so similar when it came to my Bible study. Even with a guided study and an experienced teacher, I had a hard time focusing. My mind would wonder, I would get distracted by things around me.
As a beginner, it took a lot of effort on my part to keep my mind settled on God’s word during the time I would carve out to spend with Him. The desire was there. The priority had been made, but why couldn’t I focus? Even today, after over fifteen years of Bible study, I still struggle with focus. Over the course of the first few years of studying I found some helpful things to keep me focused on God.
Prayer. I actually stumbled upon it by accident. In the year of 2016, after the hardest year of my entire life, I was desperate to have a break through. In my hardest days I clung to the verse in Philippians 4:6-7. Prayer was going to bring me peace. I needed it to. So as I began to pray more during my Bible study time, I found I could focus on God more clearly. Prayer is a great way to keep focused on God and His word.
Guided Bible studies. Last week I talked about having a plan. Really having a plan kept me focused on what to study each day. For many many years I used guided Bible studies. My absolute favorites are listed here. Even today, if my life feels heavy, it is nice to have a teacher tell me where to study in the Bible.
Music. Sometimes I play instrumental music while I study God’s word. Not anything that will distract me, but anything that will keep me from noticing the things going on around me. Usually it is praise and worship, but just the music. Sometimes God will even guide me to some classical music.
Lean into the Holy Spirit. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you focus. The New Testament, especially Jesus, is full of promises about the Holy Spirit. God has given us His Spirit to help guide us, teach us, and remind us. He is there to help keep our minds and hearts focused!
Staying focused is not about perfection but progress. You might not feel like you are doing a good job at first – but that’s ok. God is so patient with us, isn’t He? He is not limited to our human minds. He can help you just like He has helped me. Here is sample prayer I pray to help me focus before doing any kind of Bible study:
Dear Lord, today I pray for focus. I want to focus on your word and hear you speak to me today. I admit I get so easily distracted, but I know you will help keep me on track. I want to understand, hear, and see what you would have me understand, here, and see today. Please keep the distractions around me at a minimum. Let me resist the temptation to make a list or check my email. I pray you will stay close and help me focus. In Your Son’s Name, Sarah
You can download all of my prayers for Bible study here.
If focus is your biggest struggle, I encourage you to try these four things. Prayer. Guided Bible studies. Music. Lean into the Spirit. All three have transformed my Bible study time. I get more out of God’s Word and you can too! You can develop a Bible study habit, create a vibrant prayer life, and be more connected to God!
I know your desire is to learn more about God, and He wants that for you too! If you have helped find focus during Bible study, what have you tried? Leave me a comment! I’d love to know.
Sarah E. Frazer is a writer and Bible study mentor at sarahefrazer.com. She is the wife of Jason and mother of five who all serve as full-time missionaries in Honduras. Her passion is to encourage women to fall in love with the Bible. Sarah is the author of several Bible study resources for women. She shares tools for deep-rooted Bible study at sarahefrazer.com. Follow her on Instagram (http://www.instagram.com/sarah_e_frazer) and join her free prayer challenge at sarahefrazer.com/prayer