Over the years, I have gone through dozens of bible studies all filled with their own flavor and approach to study the bible. Some were very straight forward and some were like a recipe for relationship with Jesus that took several ingredients and steps to create something to feast on. I have learned and gleaned from all of them and after over a decade of pouring into God’s Word, I have found some unique ways to study the word that I believe will liven up your daily quiet time.
- Understanding : Over the years, I have learned that simply reading the Word, no frills, is deeply needed for our development and understanding of who we are and what we were created to do. Without understanding the Word of God, we are missing out on reading the manual of our identity. It’s like skipping the instructions for putting together a 200-piece furniture set. Somewhere, you’re going to get it wrong. Of course, while God is very straight forward, some translations are easier to read than others: The Message and The Passion Translation* (my favorite).
- Recommendation 1: Select a book of the Bible, read 1 chapter per day in 2 different translations Recommendation 2: Select a chapter of Scripture, read in both translations, write what you believe is the message to be learned.
- Breaking It Up & Piecing Together: THIS IS NOT FOR EVERYONE, but as a puzzle lover and a girl who LOVES a good treasure hunt, this is my favorite way to get lost in the digging of true treasure. This is time-consuming, but so much fun and so rewarding.
- Recommendation: Use blueletterbible.org and select 1 verse, word, or chapter to study. You can easily get lost down the rabbit hole, so start simple by playing around on the site and finding out the true meaning of the Greek and Hebrew translations by drawing connections across verses, books, commentaries, cross references, etc. For more information on studying like this, please read, “Mercy Like Morning” by Jane Johnson. AMAZING!!!!!
- Psalms & Proverbs: These two books of Scripture are pivotal in not only our understanding of WHO God is, but WHAT He has done. If you are going to seek to understand ANY book, I would start in one of these books.
- Recommendation: Read each chapter aloud as you would if you were talking to God. For vocabulary that feels more natural, try The Message or The Passion Translation. These are also great starting places to develop a prayer life. Using Scripture can not only develop our understanding, but also build our faith as we recognize all that God has done before.
- Truth or Trash: This one is personal and so valuable. How many times have we said something so ugly to ourselves? How many times have we torn ourselves down in an effort to make us feel better? I speak first-handed when I say this. “You just suck at everything. I don’t know why you thought you would be good at this. You are worthless. No one cares about you. Life sucks right now because there’s nothing good at me. Everyone else has great lives and mine is just filled with hardship after hardship.” I know. It sounds awful, but are we even being real with ourselves if we can’ admit the harmful words that leave our mouth?
- Recommendation: Get real with yourself. Write down every negative thing you believe about yourself, your life, your career, your family, etc. Then, be a truthfinder and find a truth in scripture that negates every negative thought you have. We do this not only because it helps us see the light in the darkness, but because when it comes down to a tough spot, we can cling to the truth.
- Pick an Author: While the Word of God is truly the breath of God Himself, there were around 40 people, inspired by God to write the Living Word of God. Each of their writing styles is different and studying the geography, history, and writing style really opens up a lot of our understanding of not only WHO God is, but WHO the people He called are. This is not only valuable for our comprehension of His Word, but for relating to the men He used; broken, sinful, and in need of a Savior. Sound familiar?
- Recommendation: Choose an author. Choose a book to start. Study the geography, history, and any commentary of the author of that book. You can also use blueletterbible.org for this activity as well.
I hope and pray that this flavors your spiritual feast with richness. Sometimes, in the digging, we find exactly what we are looking for. And sometimes, we may find something we weren’t even looking for. Sometimes, the things we study aren’t to provide answers, but to provide humility, obedience, understanding or forgiveness. These things aren’t always what we come to the Father for, but it’s in these tasks that we not only grow in spiritual maturity, but we grow in our likeness of Jesus. So, get to studying. Get to reading. Get to praying. Get to anything that creates a wildfire in your soul; the treasure you’ll find is priceless.
Bonus: it can’t ever be taken away.