Continuing in our series on spiritual growth, today’s focus is about studying God’s word.
I know that this might not seem like the most exciting series but it is vital for our spiritual life, that we make sure we grow. Being a Christian is a lifelong journey that is meant to change us. It’s critical to your journey that you are growing and spiritual growth doesn’t happen by accident. We’re all works in progress.
I have a confession: I am the nerd who loves books and can relate to Hermione’s need to study and race to the library for answers.
I enjoy studying but sometimes I find studying the Bible to be overwhelming. According to a study by Lifeway Research, only 19% of people polled read the Bible everyday.” Are you one of the 19% or do you fall in the 81% category? Which category do you want to belong to?
Personally, my goal was to read His word every day. Most days, I was successful in making this part of my daily routine. It became a habit. Studying His word should be a daily habit. When I committed my life to Christ I was overwhelmed by the Bible. Where do I begin? What does it mean? Why do they have to have such weird names? Why does this matter? These are just a handful of questions that plagued me. I wanted to study His word but my method of reading from the beginning didn’t make sense.
Recognizing my own shortcomings, I researched and visited my local Christian bookstore. There, I uncovered the wonderful world of bible studies. It was a very large section and I was able to select an excellent bible study. My first year of studying the word relied heavily on bible studies by Kelly Minter, Priscilla Shirer, Beth Moore, and many more. They helped me develop my daily study habit and guided me through my readings until I was able to study on my own. I like studying different authors and listening to different preachers, because I believe it’s important to get different perspectives and I still use them to supplement and enhance my personal study time. Recently, I’ve discovered She Reads Truth and A Godly Lady study resources, which are a bit more independent. I also use plans from YouVersion, which are free!
Jesus studied the word and it was His knowledge of scripture that allowed Him to overcome the devil’s temptations (Matthew 4:1-17). The Word is a basis for battling the enemy’s lies. In fact we’re commanded to arm ourselves with scripture.
“In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” – Ephesians 6:16-17
Studying on my own was a bit of a learning curve. I began with The Gospel of Matthew and studied a chapter a night. I read it 3 times: 1. Comprehension, 2. Themes or things that stood out to me, 3. Foot notes from my study bible. Then I went through and paraphrased the chapter in a journal with my thoughts on them. I let the Holy Spirit reveal things to me and I gained a huge appreciation for His Word. I alternate between New and Old Testament to make sure I am focusing on all areas of His Word. In addition, I found it helped to purchase a One a Year Bible, which helps keep me accountable and on track.
I love that I can read scripture and find something new every time. The Holy Spirit has revealed so much to me when I am intentional in my studies. Let’s me real, there are days that I don’t read the Word and as long as it’s a one off thing and not a habit, I am okay with it. One of my goals for 2017 is to be more intentional in studying the Word. How can I spend 4+ hours on a Netflix binge and then be “too tired” to read the Bible or only spend 20 minutes with God? That seems a bit backwards to me. This year my goal is to spend more time with God than binge watching my favorite shows. I can’t wait to see how that impacts me and I want the same for you. I pray that you feel passionate and fired up to study the Bible.
If anyone is interested in joining me on this journey of intentionality or want some more information, please use the “Contact Us” tab or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will invite you to join a Facebook Group to keep us accountable and discuss our reading. Hope to have you there with us. ❤