3 Questions to Help You Engage with Scripture {+ Free Online Bible Study}

Christian woman studying scripture and taking notes

Article by: Taryn Nergaard

Bible reading wasn’t always enjoyable for me. At times, reading Scripture felt like a chore—a necessary struggle to become a “good Christian.”

I didn’t grow up reading the Bible, so when I accepted Jesus into my life at nineteen years old, I assumed I should read the Bible the same way I read any other book. 

From front to back in its entirety.

Then, only after uttering the words, “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with everyone. Amen” (Revelation 22:21 CSB) could I jump back to Genesis 1:1 and start the whole thing over again.

If you’re anything like me, arriving at Leviticus is like hitting a wall. You know there must be excellent stuff on the other side, but you’re staring at red bricks and wondering how you will get through it.

Eventually, I discovered helpful reading plans that opened my eyes to how many ways I can read Scripture

I started reading through it book-by-book until one day I had checked off all 66 of them.

But when I reached that goal, I lost interest once again. Although I maintained a regular habit of Bible reading, it wasn’t something I looked forward to.

Although I maintained a regular habit of Bible reading, it wasn’t something I looked forward to.

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Bible, notebook, coffee, and pens

A few years later, as I sat in a healing-discipleship class at my local church and listened to a pastor explain how to view Bible study as a two-way conversation with God.

This was the beginning of an exciting new adventure for me. 

I followed his steps by reading a small passage of Scripture, using a pen to mark words and phrases that stood out to me, and listening for God to speak to me about what I could learn from those words.

Day after day, God, through the Holy Spirit, would impress something upon me. It illuminated what I was reading, and it transformed my heart in the process.

Maybe, like me, you’ve felt that Bible reading is something to check off your Christian chore list. 

You hastily read a chapter and spout off a quick prayer to God about your day, but you don’t leave your “time with God” feeling like you connected with Him at all.

If viewing Bible study as a conversation with your loving Father sounds like something you want more of in your life, I have three simple questions you can ask God to help you engage with and apply the Bible in a fresh way.

Here are three simple questions you can ask God to help you engage with and apply the Bible in a fresh way.

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christian woman's hands placed on top of Scripture


1. God, what message do you have for me in this passage?

Try asking God specifically what He wants you to take from what you read. If you feel skeptical about whether you were hearing from God, consider if the message lines up with what you know of God’s character and the relevant circumstances in your life.

Sometimes it is helpful to read a commentary or study notes at the bottom of the Bible and make notes about the author, time-period, and context of the passage.

Close your eyes, be still, and listen. What comes to your mind or your heart? Write it down.

In my experience, what I hear during this time is often more comforting or more convicting than my own thoughts would be.

2. God, what next step can I take today?

God wants us to read Scripture to learn the truth and to apply it to our lives. Taking biblical truth and turning it into action is how we become disciples.

God wants us to read Scripture to learn the truth and to apply it to our lives. Taking biblical truth and turning it into action is how we become disciples.

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The Bible is a large book, and Christians tend to see all the things they should do and expect transformation immediately. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the endless “do’s and don’ts” of Scripture. And when people feel overwhelmed, they get stuck.

Instead of trying to do it all (and usually doing nothing), ask God for just one positive step to take today. We can all take one small step forward. Following God, one step at a time, takes us on our life’s journey of obedience and transformation.

3 Questions to Help You Engage with Scripture


3. God, what do I need to surrender to you?

This question is a recent addition to my own reflection time. I need to ask God this question daily because my default is to take control of my life.

Asking God for one next step helps us take action, but asking God to help us surrender allows us to let go of our burdens.

  • Maybe there’s a situation that’s causing you to hold on to worry.
  • Maybe there’s a family member who’s making unwise choices, and you’re trying to fix it all for them.
  • Maybe your entire life feels chaotic, and you think you need to hold it all together for you and your family.

The willful act of surrendering our worry, control, expectations, and decisions is challenging. It takes faith to believe that God is good and trust Him to take care of us.

But there is so much freedom on the other side of our surrender.

When we learn to engage meaningfully during our daily Scripture reading, our relationship with God deepens. We learn to be open to hearing his voice throughout the day, and it changes the way we live.

When we learn to engage meaningfully during our daily Bible reading, our relationship with God deepens.

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“…be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2 CSB)

Learning to discern God’s will fills our lives with peace and purpose.

When we ask questions during our Bible reading time and listen for God’s response, our Bible reading habit transforms into life-changing conversations with God.

-Taryn Nergaard

JoyFULL: A Free Philippians Study

If you want to take action upon what you’ve learned about Bible study today, we invite you to join us for JoyFULL: A free 3-Week Study of Philippians.

In the book of Philippians, the Apostle Paul shares the secret of unshakeable peace and unfathomable joy in every circumstance. Hardship and suffering did not steal Paul’s joy because he was not looking to his circumstances for comfort, peace, and fulfillment—he was looking to Christ!

Unlike many other “free” online Bible studies, you do not need to purchase a companion book or additional resources to participate. Everything you need will be delivered straight to your inbox at absolutely no cost to you. All you need to complete the free Philippians study is 15-minutes per day, an internet connection, and an open heart.

In order to help you strengthen your observation skills, the Living by Design Team has included detailed Observation Worksheets for each chapter of Philippians. 

This bonus resource will help you learn how to engage in a two-way conversation with God as you study the beautiful book of Philippians.

You will receive a welcome e-mail within fifteen minutes of registering and the first devotional will arrive in your inbox tomorrow morning.

This giveaway has ended!

To celebrate the release of the JoyFULL Bible study, we have partnered with several talented Christian creatives to offer an exclusive giveaway bundle worth more than $225. 

The Grand Prize is a Framed Original 8×10 Oil Painting by Pamela Hiatt {Paintings by PRHiatt} valued at $150. We will also be giving away a Choose Joy Cuff from Lisa McKenny {Love Squared Designs}, a Handmade Papercrafts Bundle from Elizabeth Nejedlo {Blue Jean Gypsie Collective}, and a Sassy Cranberry Candle from Michele Carlton {The Good Stuff Candles}

Taryn Nergaard is an author and life coach with a passion for helping people find freedom. She is the creator of the Reflective Bible Journals, which help kids, teens, and adults hear God’s voice and follow His lead. Taryn lives in British Columbia, Canada with her husband and four kids. You can find her online at tarynnergaard.com or on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

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