I was asked a question today that really made me stop and think. How do I study the Bible and do I have any helpful tools?
My short answer was to take notes from church and reread them, however, something in me said Nicole, you can do better than that. So, here I am doing better.
Honestly, I had to pause and really ponder the question. Studying the bible seems much easier now than it once did. As a new Christian I'd play what I'd like to call bible roulette; opening my Bible and contemplating on the first scripture that jumped out at me. While this was effective in the short term, I knew that it was no way to sustain an efficient level of study and moved on to the next phase in my Bible study journey, the what now phase. Most of us in the what now phase often find ourselves transitioning into the "it's a book phase." What exactly is the "it's a book phase?" Simply put, it's the I'll read the Bible from cover to cover. Which is a great idea... in theory, that is until you get to the lineage portion in the book of Numbers. So Nicki how do I do this? You ask. I just feel so lost! You exclaim throwing your hands in the air in frustration. JUST DO IT! If you have to start out with Bible roulette than so be it. If you have to revisit stories you enjoyed as a child then do it. The only thing I do not suggest is reading the Bible cover to cover just starting out.
Scenario: You show up to church Sunday morning ready to go. You've got your pen, your paper, your notes app on your phone, or whatever it is you use to take notes: you've got it. You're engaged during service and writing down every Biblical nugget of wisdom you can pen fast enough, and when service is over you feel rejuvenated and spiritually filled. What happens to the notes? The get lost in the shuffle and rarely if ever read or visited again. I implore you to not allow that to happen. The notes themselves, the scriptures, the passages are the beginning stages of a better study life, and we should not let them go to waste.
So, re-reading the sermon notes and scripture seems to get you nowhere. It all made sense when it was being taught but now it's just a bunch of words and random scripture.
The above scripture is very well known it's quoted and shared on very often, we even say it to ourselves as a personal mantra. However, I want you to look at this scripture differently. I want you to re-read it, this time putting it together with the scripture before. Go ahead turn you Bible or Bible app to Philippians 4:12-13. I won't even link to the scripture so that you may personally look it up if you don't already know it. Did you see how that scripture now went from an internal chant to an outward testimony? By reading the scripture before you gained a better understanding of the context of the original scripture. If reading the scripture before or after doesn't give you an understanding of the context then read the entire chapter. In doing this you'll find yourself going back and reading not only the entire chapter for understanding but you may decide to start at the beginning of the book. Then guess what?! You're studying the word of God! A fire has been lit within you to know and understand more. You're asking questions looking up answers praying for insight. You have done what you set out to do. All you have to do now is continue to JUST DO IT!