My way of studying the Bible is to take a specific book and read it all the way through first. This gives me an understanding of the general scope of the material and what the author’s intentions were. It also tells me who his target audience is.
After this, I simply take one section at a time and break it down in to verses. Each verse is a thought and I meditate on it and see what inspiration I get from it. I write down what comes to me and that is pretty much it.
I do not rely on commentaries unless it is a sentence or a verse that I cannot understand at all.
The Bible is a personal book. What it says or means to me is not what it says or means to you. At the same time it is good to compare notes. If two people get the same thoughts from a particular verse, section, or chapter, they have now formed a bond based on scripture. If they are somewhat different in the way they understand the message of the author, then the two thoughts can combine. One can learn from the other because one may see something that the other did not see.
This is how God works. Each is given inspiration according to what they need at that time. This is why when you go back and read the same book, chapter or verse at a different time, you will see something different based on your past experiences which you can now apply and grow even more.
That being said, I will begin my first study in the next post on the book of James.