Many people "study" their Bible like they tour an art museum. Perhaps you've stood in front of an Expressionist masterpiece--paint splatters and unrecognizable forms--scratched your head and left without any idea what the painting means. You know there's a truth hidden beneath the color, shapes and textures, but you have neither the tools or the patience to discover it. The same applies to our approach to God's Word. God is the Master Artist who has left us with a marvelous work/Word filled with life-changing truth. What we need are the tools to make sense of the meaning.
The first step to appreciating God's Word is "Preparation." It's the work before the work. We prepare to study our Bible by inviting the Holy Spirit to lead us. In 1 Corinthians 2:10-16, we learn that the Spirit of God reveals the heart and mind of God. And, Jesus said that He would send His Holy Spirit as a counselor (aka "advisor" or "teacher") to lead us into truth. So, apart from the Spirit's influence, I cannot make sense of the meaning of the Scriptures. On the other hand, because of the indwelling Spirit, I may discern God's leading.
It makes sense, therefore, that I prepare my heart before I dive into my study. I want to read with the "mind of Christ" (1 Corinthians 2:16). So, I start my study praying: "Holy Spirit, open my eyes that I may see; open my mind that I may understand; open my heart that I may receive what You want to show me; and open my hands to do what I learn."
The first step to Bible Study is to get in step with the Spirit.