It’s been said that the Bible is unlike any other book in the world because it has wisdom simple enough for a child to understand, yet enough depth that even the wisest of people can study the Bible for a lifetime yet not even scratch the surface of all there is to learn. If you want to dig deeply into one Bible verse, whether for Bible Journaling or your own personal study, here are 5 steps to dig deep into one Bible verse.
How to Dig Deep into one Bible Verse
Here are 5 steps for digging deep into Biblical text. Keep in mind this is just one way to study Scripture. Also remember that if you don’t do all the steps, but still do some, you will receive tremendous benefit.
Note that I put an estimated timeline at the end of each section, but theses are truly generalities. You might spend much more or less time and the steps will still be meaningful. However, if you plan to follow the method as written, plan to spend one full week learning about one Bible passage. That might sound a bit daunting, but I promise it’s actually fun and super-insightful.
The 5 steps to dig deep into one Bible verse are:
Choose (Day 1, 15-30 minutes)
Ask (Day 2: 20-30 minutes)
Ponder & Pray (Day 3-4, or more, 20 minutes per day)
Learn (Day 5-6, 15-30 minutes)
Journal (Day 6-7, 60 minutes)
If you are planning to Bible journal (creative artwork in your Bible or another notebook) about what you are learning, keep in mind that Bible journaling is actually the last step of the process. What I’m sharing below took place over the course of many days (about a week), not sitting down and completing all 5 steps in one session.
5 Steps to Dig Deep into One Bible Verse
With this method of digging deep into one Bible verse, I highly encourage you to take your time. The longer you sit with a passage, the more you develop understanding and the more it becomes incorporated into who you are.
Choosing just one verse can be the toughest part! There are so many wonderful sections of text in the Bible. Here is one list of possible Bible verses to choose.
I suggest starting with a whole section of Scripture, then after reading through it once or twice, choose just one verse. (I chose Ephesians 4: 17-32.) I happened upon this section during one of my morning devotion times and felt draw to study it further – there was no deeper meaning behind my choice at this point.
Read through the whole section, then choose one verse that stands out to you for one of these reasons:
- You feel drawn to that verse. (Trust the Holy Spirit’s guidance here – even if the verse seems obscure.)
- You have many questions about the passage
- You take comfort from the passage
- You don’t understand it at all
- You just randomly pick one (Honestly – it’s okay.)
Do your best to clear your mind of pre-conceived notions about a particular text, and don’t assume you know all there is to know. There is always more to learn, and God’s Word continues to reveal new hidden treasures especially when you study in-depth like this.
(Suggested – Day 1, 15-30 minutes)
This is my favorite part of in-depth Bible study, and here is where you will list all your questions about your verse. I like this because I tend to be one of those annoying people who asks 100 questions during a seminar or study. I’m not shy! I am also not afraid to not know.
If possible, write a list of all your questions in a notebook (see photo). You might get all your answers by the end of the study, but you will get many.
(Day 2: 20-30 minutes)
3. Ponder & Pray
Here is the time to allow God’s word to sink deep into your soul and understanding. I took a couple days for this, simply re-reading the verse and praying for God’s wisdom during my morning devotion time. I also kept the passage open on my dining room table, and when I walked passed, I would re-read the passage or say a quick prayer for understanding.
This is a good time to write the verse on a note card that you carry with you, as well.
I highly encourage you not to rush this step. You might feel like you aren’t doing much (and the perfectionist in me is really want to get my answers to those questions I wrote), but this time is valuable so don’t skimp.
(Day 3-4, or more, 20 minutes per day)
If you are the type of person who loves to learn, you are going to have fun with this! Now we are going to dig deep into getting those questions on your list answered.
I begin with reading different translations of the verse and noting differences I see. The Bible is written in Hebrew (Old Testament), Greek and Aramaic (New Testament) so what we read is different interpreters version. Each translation has pros and cons, but there is something to be learned from each. I typically use You Version app or Biblegateway.com for this, because you can quickly flip through as many translations as you like. Aim for reading at least 5 translations. If you are overwhelmed with the many Bible translations, I suggest reading: ESV, NIV, Message, ASV, and KJV to give you a variety of approaches.
Once you have read different translations and taken notes, I suggest reading some of the cross reference passages. Cross-references means other Bible passages that are similar or use similar words or concepts.
Scripture interprets Scripture, so the way to develop deep understanding about a verse is to read similar verses. Your Bible might have cross references in it (tiny verses in the middle column), or you can also find them online.
Finally, I suggest reading some commentaries about the passage. People or groups study the Bible extensively and write books with explanations of each Bible verse. Again, Bible Gateway is nice because you can read the commentary about the passage as you go, and they have a huge list of commentaries to choose from.
You can also purchase Bibles commentaries for your home use. Here are some I recommend.
New International Bible CommentaryEerdmans Commentary on the BibleCommentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
As you learn, take notes of what you are learning.
Word of caution: Commentaries get deep and some are hard to understand. Enjoy this step in the process and take as long as you like here, but don’t feel bogged down by it.
This might sound silly, but as part of my study I almost always plug the verse into Google and see what comes up. I’ve discovered interesting discussion, blog posts, and articles by doing this. Just keep in mind you might not know the source and if what you are reading is true, but it helps generate thought regardless.
(Day 5-6, 15-30 minutes)
Now comes the fun part! For those who Bible journal, now is your chance to let your creativity loose and discover ways to translated all you’ve learned into a visual reminder. If you journal in a notebook, that works, too.
One important goal of journaling and deep study of one Scripture passage is to apply all this helpful knowledge to your life today.
If you journal in a notebook, that works, too.
Consider these questions:
- What have I learned about God/Jesus/Holy Spirit from this text?
- What new insights have I discovered from this study?
- How will reading this passage change how I live my life?
- How can I serve God more deeply based on what I’ve learned?
(Day 6-7, 60 minutes)
By using these 5 steps to dig deep into one Bible verse, you will discover amazing wisdom and insight into God’s plan for your life.
I’m excited for you to get started! Try this method and let me know in the comments how it works for you, or come to our The Holy Mess Bible Journaling group and share your results.
Go deeper! Watch a video of this topic as part of The Flourish Bible Journaling Conference by clicking here.
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Are you curious about who wrote the Bible? Here is some interesting information that digs deeper into the topic.
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What an awesome way to study God’s Word! I love this process so much! Thanks for this great, detailed outline!
Most welcome – thanks for your comment.