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The Struggle is Real
Every Sunday you learn more and more about the overwhelming love and redemption of God. And we want more, but life is busy! There’s your relationship, there’s work, in-laws and extended family, friends, a home to manage. There’s hardly any time for casual reading let alone studying your Bible on your own. We all know how important yet how hard it is to get good study time in outside the church. Then what happens? We feel guilty. What if I told you there was a study tactic that made reading your bible more engaging, efficient, and applicable? Well, tada!! 😉
First step? A Bible. I know….DUH Lauren! But there are SO many out there I wanted to touch on it.
Initially I started with an New Living Translation version which I highly recommend for any believer who is just starting on their journey as a follower. The NLT version is written on about a fifth grade reading level. It translates into everyday English that you’d actually use in a conversation. Both Shakespeare and the King James Version are written on a twelfth grade level. I now use an English Standard Version because that’s what our church uses on Sunday mornings but I still have my NLT and actually use both when I’m studying on my own.
My ESV is a Journaling Bible by Crossway that has wide, lined margins that I can write in. I absolutely LOVE it! My NLT is a life application study Bible and has a lot of study notes that are beneficial. It also has profiles for many people in the Bible and cross references scripture that deals similarly with the verse I’m studying.
I’ll usually read my ESV, then cross reference my highlighting, handwritten, and the study notes of my NLT. Then I jump back to my ESV.
Step 1 – Highlighting
I use the Good Morning Girls coloring chart. As you read through, you have their printable bookmark handy and choose what color to highlight based on the category that the verse, sentence, or group of words fits in. I love looking through their social media pages at all the different photos of highlighted Bibles. Surely that’s not just me, right? Check it out!
The highlighters I use are ACCU-Gel highlighters that are available at Mardel or on Amazon. I don’t have a red so I use pink for both the red and pink categories and use a pencil or gray crayon for that category.
This really helps me dissect the verse and think about what the scripture is referring to. A plus? I let the kids use them to highlight in their bibles as a special treat and they LOVE it!
Step 2 – Study w/ Notes
There’s something about reading and then writing what you just read that makes the information stick in your brain. After highlighting, I transfer any underlines or notes that I’ve made in my NLT to my ESV. Then I basically copy down the preprinted study notes from the NLT that really speak to my heart and apply to my life into the journaling part of my ESV.
If you don’t have a second bible or alternate version, simply look online or for an app. Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary is another good resource. I look up the cross reference scripture verses and jot those down as well.
I really like using FriXion pens that don’t bleed, are erasable, and come in different colors. If you really got ambitious you could color coordinate your notes to your highlights but I like to throw caution to the wind (insert sarcastic grin here 😉 ). Did we just say something about being too busy?! Really, though…side note – let the little things go – the highlighting and note colors are not that important. Don’t fret about getting it wrong.
Step 3 – SOAK it in
I don’t do this as much on my own anymore but when it’s a study with one of the kids or a friend or group, I usually end up loosely following the GMG SOAK method.
S – scripture – duh. 😉 basically identifying which specific scripture verse stands out to you among the portion that you read.
O – observe – ummm, I can’t really remember how they define observe but I paraphrase or reword the scripture into my own words. I think it’s something like observe what that scripture means.
A – apply – apply it to your current life. How can you use this God-breathed word in your life right now?
K – kneel in prayer – I don’t do this but rather talk about what we need to be praying for. Then it’s on our minds and we commit to praying about it throughout the week.
C.S. Lewis said
“Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”
Ultimately, the Bible is life changing. Absolutely, positively no doubt about it. Yet according to a study done in 2016 by LifeWay, over half of Americans have read little to none of it. This is absolutely heartbreaking news.
In scripture itself, Paul talks about growing past the infancy stage of basic milk (unskilled in the word of righteousness) to more mature things. Deuteronomy covers teaching scripture when sitting in the car, when walking along the road, when lying down, when getting up. Joshua teaches to meditate on it day and night. And they didn’t even have multicolor gel highlighters!
Studying our Bibles on our own makes His word permeate our minds, our bodies, and souls with the life changing, overwhelming God-breathed word of life! I encourage you to move past the basic principles and continue to grow in love and knowledge of the one who saved you. Stay disciplined and watch God miraculously use His word in your life!
If you need accountability or have any questions about when, how, or why I study my Bible in this way feel free to email me! Love you friends!
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- Proverbs 1 Bible study; A Quick Look at Verses 8-19
- An Explanation of Bible Translations – Which is Most Accurate?
- Resources for Christian Women to Grow in Faith