Understanding depends on the meanings of each word and the connection between them as well as the context. If we don't understand the individual words we have difficulty making sense of the whole. Some words are more difficult than others and some writings are more difficult. A child's reader and a scientific journal are hardly on the same level and the Bible contains within its covers sections on a variety of different levels. The Bible itself refers to "milk" and "meat" of the word(1 Corinthians 3:2). There must be a progression in learning and understanding of the Bible just as in any other area of life. As we continue to study we continue to learn.
There are several different ways to study(by topic, by book, chronologically, by word, etc.), and different people have their own techniques (you have to find what works best for you), but allow me to offer some suggestions that may be helpful in any study.
1) Get ready: Supplies - Bible, notebook and pen/pencil, a concordance, a good dictionary(preferably a Bible dictionary); get rid of outside distractions - find a quiet private place, turn off the phone, don't answer the door, turn off the TV/radio/Computer(unless you are using it in your study, but even then shut down any programs that are not used in your study); prepare mentally - choose what you will study and for how long(it is usually not very profitable to spend less than 30 minutes), pray and focus(meditate) on God's Word shutting out other thoughts; and prepare physically - be well-rested, get a drink of water, go to the bathroom, find a good place where you can be comfortable(but not too comfortable) with a surface for your materials. If you study regularly it would be good to keep your materials together near your study spot so they don't have to be gathered each time.
2) Don't be overly ambitious: If you only have 30 minutes you will not be able to study the whole Gospel of John or all of Paul's missionary journeys or the love of God. You may have to start on a larger topic or you may be able to finish a small study of one verse or one word that is only used a couple of times.
3) Read the verses that you are considering several times. Include the complete sentence(often a verse is only a phrase) and possibly even all the verses in a particular section. With the exception of some of the Proverbs, which are short phrases complete in themselves, it is rare to find a "stand alone" verse.
We will look at some more details in another article.