Monday, August 22, 2011

How To Study Your Bible Or How Not To Be Force Fed

I love my Lord Jesus and when I post here on topics that I share with you I don't want to force feed the Word of God to you, I want to open your eyes to it and make it come alive for you. I can't be with you always, so perhaps this short tutorial will help you and then it may not.

The one thing I know is that reading or studying the Bible is a very personal thing and each of us while we can learn from one another, we each learn differently for a variety of reasons. Just like learning a new job or skill, it is why we are learning it that makes it interesting and personal.

Are we learning it because we were told we had to, or is it something we really are excited about? I have read the Bible several times from cover to cover, because as a Christian we are told we should all do it... read the Bible in a year.

Honestly? I find I get nothing out of it that way, because I feel it is expected of me as a Christian to say...I have read the Bible from cover to cover. Not to mention, when it comes to the begatting section, I check out or skip that section altogether.

I feel that reading it this way, I have entered a church sponsored speed reading class to see who wins the prize for finishing first. Not a good attitude, but an honest one. I love reading so this shows you if I feel forced to read, I can do it, but I won't walk away with much!

We should be reading the Bible because we want to learn more about Our Lord and what He has to say and each one of us will walk away with different things at different times. Read 1 Corinthians 13 and see if you don't see something differently each time you read it or when you read it. I sure do!

When do you study? Morning, Afternoon, Evening? We all have different internal clocks when we are more alert and can absorb more information. For me, my brain and mind is wide open right after I work out or take a walk. So while I awaken each morning and pray and do my devotional reading, it isn't a good time for me to study.

Lunch time is good for me because I can study and eat at the same time and it is usually quiet. Mid-afternoon is also good for me, but evening time I struggle, because I am tired and find myself waking up with Bible in hand. You know your body better than anyone else, so let it tell you when is study time!

Okay, I have my bible and I am ready to study, but how do I study you may be asking? Here is the way I have learned to do it and this is only a guideline:

1. Choose a small book from the New Testament and read it once through for reading purposes, then read it again slowly to being to see what it is about and then read it a few more times and start picking out the topic the writer is speaking on.

2. Have a journal or note pad handy and take notes on the things you feel God is talking to you about, a word that you don't understand, a passage that opened your eyes, what is the message of this book? Take your time, study it word by word, sentence by sentence. Don't rush, don't get in a huge hurry, enjoy it like a good meal after all, you are being fed by the King!

3. Utilize on line and hardcopy tools: Bible Concordance, Dictionary, Study guide, Bible highlighters (any others will bleed through the pages), a study Bible and one that makes sense to you. I currently use the Ladies Spirit Filled Bible New King James Version. But my all time favorite is the New American Standard Open Bible. It is really your preference, not anyone elses. If you own a Nook, Kindle, IPad, Tablet, whatever choice you make, it is your choice!

4. Don't want to read it this way? You can read it topically. The Bible is full of topics we can study. Ever wonder what the Bible says about the tongue? Oh my, if you struggle with this one as I do, you can spend more time on this one topic alone? Love, it is in there? Divorce, it is there as well. There are even books just on women such as Esther & Ruth. Deborah was a judge (yes, way back when, women were judges, land owners and so much more!). If you are into crime and punishment, there is plenty to be found in the Old Testament!

5. Lastly, I would say, get an audio Bible for your car or purchase a downloadable one for your IPOD, MP3 Player and when you are walking, exercising, waiting for your child during practice, turn it on, take notes.

There is no magical way to learn the Bible and while many of us have learned over the years certain scriptures that mean something to each of us, the only way you are going to truly learn what is inside, to be able to bring it to yourself and make it come alive, is to O P E N it up and read it. Only when you open it up and read it will you find it enjoyable!

So, if you need to find your Bible and dust it off, do so, but each and everyday, set aside time for you and Jesus to spend time together and read what He has to say to you. I promise when you do, you will feel stronger, you will be happier and you can climb over those hurdles the devil tosses in your way because you will be equipped to overcome and help others to overcome.

Lastly, find yourself a Bible study group, you will be surprised how much you will learn and how supportive the members are. I know I sure did! Share with me how you study, I am always open to learning something new!


Liz said...

Enjoyed reading your thoughts. When I read my Bible I do it first thing in the morning. Other wise I find time gets away. Also It helps get through the day. When I read I start at the bginning because I believe it was meant to be like that.Not saying you would do this but I have found people will only read what they want to,and we are told to seek the whole Counsel of God hope you find this an encouracement,and a Blssing

Rita said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on studying the Bible. Our Ladies Bible Study just had this discussion last week. Would you mind if I copied this and shared it with them?

Quiltingranny said...

Thanks Liz and Rita. That is what is so great, we all have our own times and readings. I do my praying and devotionals in the morning. Honestly, we can start with any book in the Bible, I always tell people to start with a small one NT or OT. Love your comments!