On the surface, studying the Bible and reading the Bible may seem synonymous. I believe they differ. Let me explain.
How many people have you met that have said they have read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation? How many of these people that have read the scripture know how to explain doctrine? How many saints know the how of the Bible, but do not know the why? The Apostle Paul in writing to his spiritual son, Timothy, wrote:
II Timothy 2
15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenæus and Philetus;
18 who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.
19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
As Christians, we are expected to be a "master of our craft". We need to know why we believe what we do. We will not accomplish this by simply attending a midweek Bible study or Sunday school. We must study throughout the week. When in college, you cannot expect to learn everything from the professor. There must be study time and homework. The Word of God should be treated with the same effort.
Solomon writing in Proverbs 25 states:
2 It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.
There are many tools to study the Bible. Concordances, Study Bibles and Bible Dictionaries are a few tools that can be employed study the Word. You can also take notes of sermons and lessons taught at church. The list of Bible study tools is long, but the work is necessary.
In Acts 6, we can see the dedication of the Disciples to the studying of the Word:
1 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.
2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.
3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
The Bible must be studied. If someone were to ask you...
Why were you baptized in Jesus name?
Why do you speak in tongues?
Why do you dress modestly?
Why do you believe in One God?
...could you tell them? If you could not, you need to study the Word. Every Christian should know why and not just how. I encourage everyone to read the Bible. It is the life - changing Word of God. But if you want to become someone that see others lives change, you must be a student of the Word and study.