One of the things that I try to do as a Bible student is become a walking center column reference. What I mean by that is when I study a passage, I look for common words, themes, ideas, or references that are found in other passages that I have previously studied. For example, in Revelation chapter 21:2 the Bible begins to describe a city called New Jerusalem. The Bible also speaks of this New Jerusalem or “Jerusalem above” in Galatians 4 and Hebrews 11-13. Once you find a connection like that, then you evaluate the context of each of these passages to find similar Old Testament references. You may also find similar themes or discussions. For example, in Galatians 4 and Hebrews 11-13, the context is the transition between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. Is Revelation 21 talking about the same thing? Is the New Jerusalem of Revelation 21 the same city as the one which was to come in Hebrews 13? Is it the same city as the one at which they arrived in Hebrews 12? If so, does that mean that the context of Revelation 21 is also the transition between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant?
So, being a walking center column reference comes about through extreme Bible study. You must take extensive notes, put notations in the margin when you can, and consult concordances and references when available. That way, whenever you read any passage of scripture, you can immediately connect it with other passages in similar context. Again, this is not just a word association game even though you do associate words. We want to have quality word and thematic association. Just because certain words are used does not mean that the subject matter is the same, but it does need to be examined. Some people are afraid of doing this because they don’t want to connect passages that should not be connected, but I think it is more dangerous to not try to see if there’s a connection then to avoid doing it altogether.
This will bring you to a more comprehensive view of scripture and a better understanding of the Bible as a whole. Plus, it adds a new level of excitement to studying the Bible! It is fun to see connections that you did not before. If you don’t believe me, then watch one of my videos or lectures when I have an epiphany mid-sentence! My face lights up, the adrenaline starts to flow, and usually a good idea comes to surface that may have not been seen by the audience before.