Studying the Bible can seem daunting, intimidating, and a bit overwhelming. You may feel you need a theological degree in order to be able to understand the Bible. Although that might be a big help, it's not necessary. God desires to speak to everyone through his Word. So, how can you study and understand the Bible? The following information is designed to help you begin to discover and develop your time with God.
Are you looking for a Bible for your mobile device? YouVersion is a great app that offers a lot of different translations, devotional guides, and an online community. Are you struggling to understand a verse, a specific word, or just want to do some additional study on a passage? Bible Hub is a great online tool.
If you are new to reading the Bible, or struggle to make it a daily habit then take the 1 Minute Challenge. Commit to read 1 verse a day and pray for 1 minute a day for the next year. That may not seem like much, but by the end of one year you will have read 365 verses and prayed over 6 hours! You can use the God Time Study Guide to get started.
There are lots of things we know that are good for us. Eating right. Exercising. Living on a budget. When it comes to our spiritual walk, spending time in the Bible is something all Christians agree is a foundational principal. However, like eating right and exercise, just because we know we should do it doesn’t make it easy. This guide will give you a few practical tools to help you get in the Word of God.
There are two critical truths about why we need to read the Bible:
1. God reveals himself to us through the Bible. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1 ESV
When we study the Bible, we understand who God is. We learn about his character, his likes and dislikes, and his expectations. Without spending time in the Bible, the opinion we form of God is simply that: our opinion. The Bible leads us into full knowledge of a loving and merciful God who is at the same time holy and just.
2. God leads and guides us through the Bible. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105 ESV
God also uses the Bible to lead and guide us. The Bible gives us direction on how to live a life that is pleasing to God. Not only does it instruct us in our conduct, the Bible can also speak to our circumstances. The Bible is alive and when we spend time in it, God uses it to give us direction and discernment for the choices we face in life.
So, how do you get in the Bible? We have a simple process:
READ – The God Time Study Guide has scriptures picked out to correspond to Sunday’s message. Set aside time each day to read through the scriptures in your reading plan.
REFLECT – Reading alone is not enough. We have to take it a step further and reflect on what the scripture is saying.1. What does this tell me about God?2. What does this tell me about myself?
RESPOND – The power of the Bible comes from applying its truth to our lives. We read the Bible not for information but for transformation. 1. What do I need to do?2. What do I need to change?
Making the commitment to study the Bible is one of the most important things you can do as a Christ follower. We recommend you keep a journal and write down the things you encounter through your reading.
Many people over the centuries have found journaling to be a very helpful spiritual discipline. Here are four reasons why keeping a journal is a good practice:
1. A journal keeps you focused.It's easy to get distracted when you do your God Time in the morning. You can be in the middle of prayer and suddenly find yourself distracted or thinking about something other than prayer. Writing keeps you focused.
2. A journal is a safe place to vent.You can fill your journal with highs/lows, triumphs/failures, faith/doubt, hope/despair. A journal offers you the opportunity to express yourself to God; the one who hears your prayers and answers.
3. A journal is not just for you.Journal knowing your kids, grandkids, and their kids will one day read them. What would you pay to sit down with your grandparent or great-grandparent and hear the raw truth of their journey? Journal with the hope that one day the pages will encourage and build the faith of the generations yet to come long after you are gone.
4. A journal is a journey.You can go back and reread entries from the past years. A journal captures moments from different seasons in your life. As you reread the struggles and victories you will be reminded of how far God has brought you and how faithful he has been.
If you struggle writing, try these tips and see if they work for you:
1. Journal one page a day. One page is enough space to record your prayers and thoughts, yet it keeps you from becoming overwhelmed.
2. Journal five days a week. You want your journaling to be consistent. So, try to journal five out of seven days.
3. Journal first thing in the morning. I know, you’re not a morning person. But, if you wait until later in the day to journal you most likely will not do it.
4. Journal big moments. When you experience a great victory or a devastating defeat write it down. Write down your thoughts, emotions, prayers, and praise.
5. Journal in various ways. Write out your prayers or meaningful scriptures. Record your thoughts or your dreams or draw a picture that expresses how you feel.
One of the best ways to study the Bible is in a Core Group. These small groups meet weekly across the metro area to study the Bible together. A Core Group is a great place to ask questions and learn together with people just like yourself. To join a group click here.