As a new Christian, I knew nothing about the Bible. I had not been raised in the Church and my knowledge was limited to knowing there were four Gospels written about Jesus. That was it. However, God blessed me in the early days with an insatiable appetite for His Word and I read several chapters each day.
My approach to studying God’s Word has changed over the years. I now read each day for encouragement and inspiration. But I also take time throughout the week for deeper study. You do not need to be a pastor or have a Bible degree to study God’s Word. A personal study will help you in your daily walk. And it will help you break some of the strongholds in your life.
Here are some tips for your personal growth and spiritual development.
Choose a Book or Topic
Choose a book of the Bible or a topic that you would like to know more about for yourself. It could be something you are struggling with or simply something of interest. One year I spent several months reading nothing but Christ’s words in red. It was challenging to focus solely on His words. Other times I have challenged myself with the prophets, kings, and New Testament letters.
If you choose a topic, a concordance will help you to find passages that focus on a specific word. For example, if you would like to know more about prayer, a concordance will give you a reference for each time the word “prayer” is used in scripture. You can also reference some great online websites like Study Light or Bible Gateway. These websites offer study helps such as concordances, commentaries, and topical Bibles.
I have a journal dedicated to my study notes. It doesn’t have to be fancy. A journal, notebook, or composition book will do. Some of us prefer fancy and others prefer practical. I also keep several highlighters and pens so I can mark words and phrases that seem to speak to me as I read.
Time and Space
My personal study is more structured than my personal prayer and reading time. I regulate my time and space for this activity. I prefer a quiet area where I can spread out my materials. I also prefer to study in the afternoon or evening since I am not really a morning person.
You choose the time and place that best suits you. If you have young children, then you may have to work around their schedules. But God will help you find a time and place that works for you.
Who, What, Where
So what do I write in my study journal? I prefer taking it verse by verse, chapter by chapter. I read the passage and mark the words or phrases that seem to speak to my heart. I may not understand why they are prominent, but I write them in my journal. After a few readings, I begin to ask myself questions about these words and phrases.
How do they fit into the larger scope of the passage? Who is speaking to whom and why? What are they trying to say here? How is this relevant to my life right now? What feelings are evoked in my spirit when I read this passage? What do I believe God is trying to say to me through this Word? Is there something I need to do in response?
As I begin to answer some of these questions, it naturally flows into a time of prayer.
Bible study journaling is a powerful way to deepen your walk with Christ. Today is a good day to step out on faith and dig a little deeper. Take the challenge and commit to 30 days of study. Then see what God will do in your heart and life.
I hope you will try it and let me know what He does in you!