Wednesday, June 25, 2014

How I Study the Bible

It can be sooo difficult to make time for the Lord, can't it?

It’s that dreaded B word.


We’re all busy.

I'm a homeschooling, blogging, writing mom of six. I know I need Him to get through my day, my week, my month, my life, but the nose-wiping and the diaper-changing and the juice-pouring can seem so much more immediate.

It's not like God calls me on the phone or sends me a text to say he arranged for a babysitter and wants to take me out for lunch for some one-on-one time. It's up to me to push aside the cares of life and sit down with him over coffee.

Those times together are much better than the ones where he knocks me flat on my back to get my attention anyway. J

I shared this photo on Facebook last week, and a blog reader and Facebook friend asked me for some tips on how I keep quiet time a part of my day. This post is about what I do when I read my Bible, and next Wednesday, I’ll post about how I fit it into my day.

I used to think I needed a secret code or a special formula to have a quiet time. But it’s not rocket science. J

I start with prayer that the Lord would speak to me through His word and that my heart and mind would be open to whatever he has to say to me. It’s not long and elaborate. That’s about all there is to it.

Then I review the portions of Scripture I highlighted in my reading the day before. This jogs my memory of what I've already read.

Next, I read one chapter in the Old Testament and one chapter in the New Testament, highlighting any verses that speak to me. Typically, I begin at the beginning and read straight through. However, if I’m feeling the need for encouragement, I might skip directly to the Psalms. If I feel the need for wisdom, I’ll go straight to Proverbs. Often, I’ll read more than the two chapters, but that’s decided day-to-day.

I have a woman’s study Bible, and sometimes I’ll check the footnotes or read an article for clarity. {Just remember that the footnotes and articles are not Scripture.}

Finally, I write in my prayer journal. I pray throughout the day, but the concentrated writing helps to minimize the distractions. I just started the prayer journal last fall, and I am really seeing the results. 

If there’s time, I'll read in a devotional book or a chapter in a nonfiction book. Right now, I’m working my way through the Duggar girls’ book, Growing Up Duggar.

Yes, I am easily distracted, no matter how I read and pray (and I've tried different ways), but my focus is on time spent with my best friend. I know that He loves me more than anyone else and He always has my best interests in mind. So I want to seek Him and see what He has for me each day, to discover His will for me because I know it will be better than anything I can think up. J

What is your approach to Bible study/reading time? How do you glean as much as you can?

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  1. You are so spot on here. We are easily distracted when we are led when our desires (our hearts) go after other things rather than the Lord, and when we've lost that "first" love. Not much can come between newlyweds, know what I'm saying? :) The Word is a lamp, it's like honey from the honeycomb, it's Jesus. How can we not run to him when we remember his sacrifice for us? And that's part of the key to having that quiet time----remembrance----communion!

    These sentences jumped out at me in this blog, and my heart said a big, "Amen" when I read them: "I used to think I needed a secret code or a special formula to have a quiet time. But it’s not rocket science."

    The evil one would have us believe loving on our Lord is difficult. What a stinking dirty lie that is. It's not difficult. "Draw near to me and I will draw near to you." It's in the seeking that we find him. O taste and see that the Lord is indeed good --- very good indeed.

    1. There are so many different "methods" for studying the Bible, and they're probably fine. I don't know. But I know that trying to research all those different ways and understand them and apply them made my head spin. I was so busy trying to learn how to study the Bible that I wasn't actually reading much of it.

      Thanks, Debbie, for your forthright, wonderful comment! :-)

  2. I just recently started using a prayer journal. It really does help!

    1. Soon, you'll be able to read back through it and have a wonderful record of answered prayer! :-)

  3. Wonderful ideas! I read the scriptures every day, but love your idea of beginning scripture study with prayer and then writing in a prayer journal. What a lovely way to ponder the word of God. Thank you very much for this post! You have inspired me!

    1. Praying before reading was actually something I gleaned from a couple of years in Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) many years ago before I had children. I love how it helps me focus. Blessings to you, Deb! :-)

  4. How are you liking Growing Up Duggar? I believe Jana, Jill, Jessa, and Jinger are a great inspiration, and I'd love to read the book. However, my library, nor local Walmart or Target carry it. I'm debating whether or not to buy it online. Have you been pleased with it?
    God's Peace,

    1. I love the book! As soon as I'm done, my 14yo is going to read it, and I'd like for her to write a review for the blog. Can you request that your library acquire it? I've heard that some libraries take suggestions from patrons. I am glad to own it because I'm going to have all my children read it, and I think I'll want to re-read it from time to time. :-)

  5. Hi Meghan! I just found your blog from the Cornerstone Confessions linkup. Enjoyed your post. I was thinking, something funny that helps me with my journaling... I know this might sound silly... but it's having a pretty journal with beautiful pages. I have a whole shelf full of journals that I've filled up that were each beautiful, and it didn't take long to fill them up because they inspired me to spend time with the Lord! Then one day, when I needed a new journal, I was trying to be frugal and bought a plain, marbled composition book from Publix, on sale, $0.50. And the funniest thing happened... I almost totally stopped journaling and didn't feel any inspiration to do so! The journal just wasn't inspiring. So I just recently gave up and went and bought a pretty one again. And it's over 1/4 full already, in just a month. Sometimes it's the little things... :)


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