What Do I Really NEED for Bible Study?

Almost every week I talk with or hear from someone who says something like this, “I just really want to learn more about how to study my Bible but I don’t even know how to start!”

Y’all, for real. This is one of my favorite topics and I LOVE LOVE LOVE being able to encourage others about taking the first or next step in their spiritual growth. And, for so many people, that means learning how to study their Bible for themselves.

While there are countless tools and resources available, today, I thought I would share my answer to this question:

What do I really NEED for Bible study?

What do I REALLY need for Bible study? The answer might surprise you. The one thing you MUST have and a few other tools and resources that can help.

I have a super simple answer to this question — your Bible.

That’s it. All you really NEED for Bible study is your Bible. I know, I know! It sounds too easy, right? Here’s the thing, as a believer you already have a built-in teacher — the Holy Spirit.

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.

John 14:26 CSB

That’s right, the Holy Spirit, as we pray and read, will reveal God’s truth to us. So, the truth is, all you NEED to study and understand your Bible is the Bible itself and a teachable heart, open to the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

I tell the women in my Bible study that Scripture is the best way to understand Scripture. Using cross references and recognizing the overarching themes in the whole of the Bible are the very best place to start as you begin studying your Bible.

Four Supplementary Tools for Bible Study

There are a few other tools and resources I have found valuable in my own personal Bible study. None of these require seminary education or the ability to read Hebrew or Greek. And none of these are absolutely NEEDED for Bible study. But they can be helpful as you dig deeper into passages of Scripture.

Apps on your phone or tablet.

Technology is totally your friend when it comes to Bible study. You have access to multiple translations, commentaries, Bible dictionaries, and explanations of original context and language. The app I use every single day is the ESV app. I have the lowest cost subscription which gives me access to several study Bibles including the ESV study Bible, the Gospel Transformation Bible, the Literary Study Bible, the Systematic Theology Bible, and more.

I also love the Blue Letter app which gives cross references, original language, and more. And I use Bible Gateway a lot, especially when I want to compare two translations side-by-side.

Study Bibles

The ESV Study Bible is my favorite. But a very close second is the CSB Study Bible. I teach from the CSB and love the optimal equivalency translation method. The CSB is easier to read than the ESV. I use the ESV Study Bible on my app and keep my copy of the CSB Study Bible nearby.

Outside of those two, the one study Bible I would definitely recommend is the NLT Illustrated Study Bible. The graphics and photographs in this Bible are amazing. I use this as a reference almost every day. {Ashetirah Ciuciu did a beautiful video review of this Bible. If you want to see the inside be sure to check that out.}

What do I REALLY need for Bible study? The answer might surprise you.  The one thing you MUST have and a few other tools and resources that can help.

Journal and/or Planner

Writing down what you’re reading and what you’re learning is such a great way to process and retain. I use a plain old five-subject notebook for my daily quiet time, nothing fancy at all. I also use a simple planner to chronicle what I’ve read and summarize each day’s passage. Let me emphasize here that it doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated. Simply writing down what you’ve read and making a note about what stood out to you or a paraphrase the passage can be an excellent tool for long-term retention of your studies.

Highlighters or colored pens/pencils

Until the past couple of years, I was not systematic with my use of color in my Bible. But after following Amy Hale on Instagram for so long, I began using various colors to mark specific things. I use highlighter and mark these things:

  • Purple — references to the Lord and His character or attributes
  • Pink — promises or blessings applicable to me
  • Blue — commands or instructions applicable to me
  • Yellow — prayers or verses I could pray for people or situations
  • Green — Transition words like next, then, so that, because, etc.
  • Orange — verses that speak my relationship with others

You can also use colored pens to mark specific words or ideas or to identify people or places, etc.

What do I REALLY need for Bible study? The answer might surprise you.  The one thing you MUST have and a few other tools and resources that can help.

Bible study shouldn’t be so scary you are afraid to get started. It’s a gift for us to get to know the Lord better through His Word. Remember, the Bible is primarily about God so when we study, we are looking for Him, His character, His nature, and His will.

I’d love for you to join me for the simplest Bible study I teach — Exploring the Psalms. We’re kicking off July 10. Get all the information here and join us!

What is your favorite tool for Bible study?


Teri Lynne


ESV app || Blue Letter Bible app || Bible Gateway

Check out my Amazon shop for more recommended resources and tools for simple Bible study!

Read the Psalms this summer with Scripture Dig!


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