Choose Something That Relates Directly to You
~Has the Lord convicted you about an area in your life on which you need to work? (ex. anger, bitterness, forgiveness, pride, humility, giving, love, self-control, etc.)
~Is there a specific portion of Scripture that the Lord has brought to your attention?
~Has a specific word stood out to you recently? (ex. trust, forgiveness, self-control, etc.)
~Do you have questions about a certain subject? (ex. God's grace, security of salvation, modesty, literature, etc.)
Keep a List
As you read through those questions, the Lord may have prompted your heart about a few topics. Write them down. Now. Keep your list handy (in the front sleeve of your Bible, on your night-stand, anywhere you frequent) so that any time a topic or question comes to your mind, you can jot it down to remember for later. This list is very useful when you have completed one topic and are wondering what to study next.
There are several tools that are very helpful to have when you study God's Word: Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, Webster's 1828 dictionary (assuming you are studying with the King James), and a notebook. If you are using your computer, I highly recommend e-Sword (www.e-sword.net), a free Bible software program on which you can download all of these resources.
Prepare Your Heart
~to extract from Scripture what it actually says (exegesis)
~to read into it what you want it to say (eisegesis)
~to learn what God's Word really says about an issue
~to fuel your argument and prove your point to someone else
~to go to God's Word with your mind already made up what you want to see
Psalm 119:18 says, "Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law." Our motive for studying God's Word should never be to prove our points, but to open our hearts to what God wants to teach us. Before we study, we should always set aside time to prayerfully prepare our hearts and ask God to give us a teachable spirit so that He can do His work in us.