As work-in-progress Christians, we have several tools at our disposal to help us grow closer to God and bear more fruit.
The one tool we often fail to use to its full potential is the Bible!
Some of you may be thinking that you use your Bibles daily or even weekly, so why would I say the Bible is under-utilized?
I say the Bible is under-utilized because I’ve experienced that in my own life as a young Christian.
At the age of fourteen, I moved with my family to a third-world country so that my parents could do missionary work. As you can imagine, it wasn’t an easy move for a teenager, especially considering that I lived away from my parents during the school year.
At that age, I often read the Bible because I knew I was supposed to, but I didn’t feel like I was getting much out of it.
Bible reading simply became an item to check off on my to-do list.
However, after the move overseas, though, I really struggled with being separated from my parents and adjusting to a new life in a foreign country. I felt alone and uncertain. In my teenage awkwardness, I lacked confidence in myself and in my faith.
I wrestled with some deep, unanswered questions – like why? Why was God allowing this hardship in my life?
I began to turn to my Bible for comfort and understanding rather than just as a daily chore. My mom would send me verses that spoke to my circumstances, and I would read them over and over again.
Instead of just reading the Word and then walking away from it, I began to actually study the Bible.
I began to read with questions, meditate on verses that stuck out to me, write notes and look up cross-references. The more time I spent studying, the more I realized the very real power of God’s Word to transform me, to comfort me, to give me wisdom for real life!
During that time of hardship, my faith became real to me because instead of simply believing what others had told me about God and His Word, I discovered those truths for myself.
My new appreciation for God’s Word led to a period of tremendous spiritual growth that formed the foundation of the faith I have today.
When I look back over my life, I see how the times I felt most connected to the Lord were also times when I really dug into His Word.
Likewise, the seasons when I struggled the most in my faith were often marked by a reluctance to study the Bible or perhaps even a busyness that kept me preoccupied with little time to really dig in.
Consider these verses from Psalm 119:9-11
How can a young man keep his way pure?
By keeping it according to Your word.
With all my heart I have sought You;
Do not let me wander from Your commandments.
Your word I have treasured in my heart,
That I may not sin against You. (NIV)
When you study the Bible, you don’t just gain knowledge about God’s characters or how to make wise choices. According to this Psalm, studying the Bible actually helps to keep us from sin!
I have to admit, taking time to study the Bible is still a work-in-progress in me – an area that can use constant improvement.
I wonder if you might be able to relate, friend?
Maybe you’re a work-in-progress woman who isn’t getting much from the Bible lately. Maybe you find it hard to understand or just wish that you knew the Bible better. I’ve been there, too!
Or maybe you’re really struggling in your faith right now, feeling distant from the Lord, and you’re not even trying to study the Bible? I’ve been there, too.
What I can tell you is that the more you invest your time and energy into studying the Word rather than just reading it out of a sense of duty, the more you’ll experience the abundant Christian life that God has planned for you.
Matthew 4:4 claims that the Word of God gives life itself – it sustains us!
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
That sounds like a good reason to study the Bible!
5 Tips for Learning to Study the Bible
So here’s my best advice on how to really study the Bible – treat it like you would any other text that you are going to be studying.
Get serious about it!
- Pray first and ask the Lord to teach you His truth through the Holy Spirit.
- Grab a notebook and highlighters. Don’t be afraid to write in your Bible, either. Underline, circle, and dissect Scripture in a way that helps you understand.
- Grab other tools or apps that can help you understand what you are reading – many can be accessed online (concordances, study guides, Bible dictionaries, blueletterbible.org, etc.).
- Don’t just read a verse and walk away! Ask questions about that verse (the 5 w’s are a good start – who, what, when, where, why). These questions help you understand the context.
- Find a Bible study method that really works for YOU! (Psst – for beginners, verse mapping is a great place to start, and for more experienced, I love a good Word study!) You can see my recommended resources for excellent Bible study here.
Number 5 is key!
My favorite thing to recommend to women who want MORE out of Bible study is to learn HOW to study the Bible for themselves! And one key to doing just that is finding a way that works for you.
*This post contains affiliate links.* Jen is a participant in affiliate programs for trusted products. Thank you for helping to support the ministry of this blog!
My friend, Arabah Joy, has created this spectacular course to help people around the world learn to study God’s Word for themselves – it’s called Bible Study Methods: 7 Ways in 7 Days. (Disclosure – this is my affiliate link. Should you choose to purchase through this link, I will receive a commission. Thanks for helping to support the ministry of Being Confident of This!)
This practical, self-paced course comes with a printable workbook and teaching videos to show you exactly how to use the various methods being taught so that those of us who are visual learners or who need a little hand-holding can actually see how the methods work!
- teach you 7 different Bible study methods
- give you tools for going deep into God’s word in as little as ten minutes a day (perfect for busy moms!)
- provide ready-made templates and printables you can choose from
- show you exactly how to do each method with the daily videos
- help you establish a Bible study habit!
I’m happy to recommend this course because I’ve used it myself, and I’ve taught it to other women, as well. In addition, I know Arabah Joy has spent years refining these methods as a missionary overseas and now a writer at arabahjoy.com. Since I’ve known her for several years, I also know her motives are genuine – to help children of God grow in their faith so that they can live out their God-given purpose in this world!
Friend, whether you decide to purchase this course or not, I pray you will seek to study the Word for yourself. I firmly believe that if more Christians better utilized the living Word of God, we would all have the confidence we need to live out the plans God has for us.
Bottom line: don’t just read your Bible, really dig into it.
Study the Bible for yourself!
All because of Christ,
Sharing with: Salt and Light