Looking for a place to write your Bible study notes, plus a way to keep them organized? Do you ever find you start to study a verse or chapter, but lose focus or motivation to see it through? Do want the option to keep your notes digital or print them out?
If yes, I've got a handy two-page Guided Bible Study Note PDF for you in the free Download Library! There is a printable PDF for those who like to write out by hand, and a fillable PDF if you prefer to keep your notes digital.
(While you're grabbing those, make sure you pick up some of my most popular printables, these beautiful and unique Bible Reading Trackers!)
This PDF utilizes my favorite way of studying the Bible. You can do these steps in one sitting or over several days. I learned some of these steps by studying with the online classes offered by Coffee With Paul. I find that studying this way helps me study responsibly, engaging me in conversation with the authors of the Bible rather than me insisting I already know what they're trying to say.
You can grab your study notes PDF and run (subscribe for the Download Library access code, or contact me if you've lost yours), but if you'd like some tips on how to use these Guided Bible Study Notes, read on!
These Bible study notes will help you really hear what the text is saying
First, make sure you fill out the top section. Fill in the topic if this is part of a series study or a study of a specific theme. Being detailed here will help you group your notes for future reference.
After you've written down the basic information of your study, it's time to get started!
There are three steps for you to check off your list:
Pray. Studying can be challenging, and we need God's help to understand and apply the text.
Read the text in multiple versions. This can help you read a familiar passage with fresh eyes. Sometimes the differences or similarities between Bible translations can give us a new perspective!
Paraphrase the text in your own words. This is a tool to help you not only remember what you read, but zero in on what you missed, and bring smaller details to your attention.
Use these Bible study notes to help you focus on the text, and keep it in context
Sometimes, when you study, you might read a text that immediately makes you think of another one, and then start hopping all over the Bible. This approach can be fun, but if you really want to know what a verse is saying, you need to slow down and listen carefully to what the text, in its context, is trying to say.
Included in the notes is a space to focus on the background of your chosen text.
Note whatever context you can find.
Who wrote this?
Who was their audience?
What is the setting historically, contextually, physically?
Once you've done this step, you get to check it off your list. (I am a checklist lover, it keeps me motivated!)
Keeping careful Bible study notes will help you track your questions
You may have a LOT of questions when you read the Bible, most people do. Sometimes, you will find what you're looking for. Other times, you may have to let the question sit and hope to find the answer later. It is deeply satisfying to come back to old notes, see your questions, and realize that you have since learned the answer to that puzzling question!
Write down all your questions, worrying about answering them later. Keep your questions to the text itself if possible, as if you are having a conversation with the author. Asking what something means, why it was included, does this apply to me, etc, can help you engage with the text in a deeper way.
Once you've asked your questions, check it off your list and move on to the next step!
Seek answers with your Bible study notes in a responsible way
When you have a tricky question, your first instinct can be to rush to a search engine. But to get the most spiritual growth from your study, look for answers within your chosen text, and around your chosen text FIRST. Just like reading a modern book, sometimes the answers you seek lie just around the corner. You miss out on the thrill of discovery by jumping to an outside resource straight away. You also run the risk of misinformation if you're not doing your own homework.
As you're digging around in the text, surrounding text, and writings by the same author (within the same book is preferable) write down your answers and insights. Now go ahead and check off that little box!
(If you want to learn more about why I feel it is important to look for answers within the same book, read my post What Jane Austen Taught Me About Scripture.)
Next, go ahead and use another resource. You might try searching another book in the Bible, online (make sure it's a reputable site), use a Bible commentary, or talk over your questions with a friend. Record what you learn. Once you feel you have all the answers you're going to find (you might have to let some stay unanswered for a time) you can check off that next box.
The next step of these Bible study notes will take the lessons from the Bible off the page and into your life.
Note the key lessons, or points, from this text. Then apply the relevant lessons to your life.
Sometimes the lessons don't feel very relevant, and there are some passages that might not apply to you. Even if the exact lesson doesn't fit you or your situation, what is the heart behind it? Why did the Bible record this commandment, psalm, story, or prophecy, and can the heart of the text apply to you, even if the details don't?
Make sure you write this application down. If there are actionable steps, write them out. Come back to these notes later to check in on how you're doing.
Use the additional checkboxes to keep your Bible study notes organized for future reference
You might come across a question, and remember you studied this previously. Going back to your own notes is a rewarding way to enhance your study time. Insights you recorded years ago might speak to you and bless you. Or you might have gone as far as you can with a study for now, but want to remember to come back to it later. I included a spot to check off organizational boxes, for quick reference later.
Check off the organizational boxes if you have:
An interest to learn more about this topic
Questions you recorded that went unanswered
You want to engage with someone else about this study
This study relates closely to another study
I've also left two blank checkboxes where you can add your own categories.
And that's it!
I hope that you find these guided Bible study notes both attractive and useful. Please drop me a line if you have comments or suggestions for their improvement.
If you're ready to grab yours now, head on over to the subscribers only Download Library. While you're not obligated to stay subscribed after you grab your freebies, I hope you do! Subscribers stay up to date on my upcoming books, sales, blog posts, and free resources like this one.
Subscribe now for access! (Make sure you check your junk folder if you don't see the welcome email.)