Studying the Bible doesn't have to be difficult, but it does require some system or progression. How so?
Well, let's say you are the Bible student who reads a passage through the lends of 'you first.' You start by looking for "you" in the text and then what plays out in the biblical text applies directly to you precisely as it did in the Scripture. Suddenly, you are David fighting your giant--a dead battery in your car. Your promotion at work is the promised land, and you are going to take it. Every problematic thing is 'your Jericho.'
Now, you might be asking, why is this a problem?
Let's take 2 Timothy 4:13 as an example. You come across this verse through the lens of 'you.' Out of context and void of a useful framework for Biblical study, you read, "When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and also the books, and above all the parchments." What does this mean? Are you supposed to start a coat ministry? Should you start a lending library for books at your church. Or maybe this is about sending writing paper to pastors in other countries?
But when you look through a system, you discover some timeless principles here. You see that you are reading a letter from Paul, to his friend, Timothy. Paul and Timothy were co-labors in the ministry. Timothy was coming, and Paul wanted him to bring some things. They help each other. We also see that Paul was serious about his writing ministry. There could be more, but after reading in the context of "what did it mean then" and extracting the timeless principles, we might understand that ministers of the gospel should be willing to help each other.
In the video below, I share a simple system. I'm not saying that you can't or shouldn't use other Bible study tools. You should! A Study Bible is a great start. I'm not trying to downgrade things like learning the biblical languages, reading commentaries, doing word-studies, or other academic-type tools. Those things all fit in the system, but you need a system.
Also, you may download the bookmark in a full-page form here. (Our was designed by Brett Ricley and adapted from material in Howard Hendrick's book, Living by the Book.) Use the bookmark as is, personalize it as your own bookmark, add more sub-questions, or use it how it will best help you study the Bible.
Finally, you can buy Living by the Book: The Art and Science of Reading the Bible by Howard Hendricks here.
Study on and study well!